Wine Making 101

IMG_1338 copyI have been to a few wine tastings in my lifetime, and let me start off by saying, I am no expert.  I have examined, smelled, tasted, and analyzed a glass or two with mostly one thing in mind, does it taste good?  Because this really is the true test of judging wine for me, is it any good?  My unsophisticated side is really showing, isn’t it?  (Wine connoisseurs, you won’t be getting any expert advice from me today.)  This whole art of wine tasting is something I will probably get better at as time goes by, but for now, I just want to know how the wine tastes, and I guess it would be nice if it smelled alright too.

We bottled our first batch of homemade wine almost two months ago, and when we were waiting on it to be ready, my main concern was how it would look; I wasn’t yet thinking how it would taste.  The working batch of wine was very cloudy and I kept reading that if it was cloudy when you bottled it, it wouldn’t clear in the bottle, so that was my initial concern.  Bottling day came, and I was very happy to see it was pretty clear.  Okay, so how does it taste?  The sample at bottling tasted good, like wine, and so it seemed we had a successful, drinkable first batch that was ready to age.

We waited the recommended one month before opening up our first bottle – okay two days shy of one month, but close enough.  I examined, smelled, and tasted – in that order – and was kind of impressed.  Not too bad for a bottle of homemade wine, but what would I know, right?  I don’t know how to describe it, but there was a slight zing to it, and not in a bad way.  After drinking a glass, I also noticed it was a little stronger than most other commercial wines that we have bought.  When we bottled, I didn’t notice a lot of legs in the small sample we took, but after the month had passed, there seemed to be a noticeable amount more in the glass when swirled.  However, I may not have given the glass a proper examination when swirled the first time, and it could be that really the legs were the same, because I have read once bottled, wine doesn’t get any stronger.  Also, the lighting could have had something to do with it.  I will be more critical about this the next time around.

My only complaint was with the small amount of sediment that didn’t get filtered out.  This didn’t bother me in taste, or in appearance personally, but I feel as though I need to disclose this detail when handing out bottles to friends and family.  The wine is actually very clear, but it is not an abnormal thing, I have read, for some sediment to be at the bottom of the bottle; sometimes it is even desired.  In fact, unfiltered wine has more taste, character, and maintains more of an organic status.  I just may have to put an all natural stamp of approval on future bottles!  It was only the last few bottles that had the most sediment in them, and those will be used for personal consumption.  (I already opened up one to cook with this week.)

I have mentioned before, but this batch was made from a kit.  Everything we needed and the instructions for when, with what, and how to add was all included.  The real challenge might be when we make it all ourselves.  Although, after talking with my neighbor, I don’t think it is gonna be as hard as I might think.  He has been making wine for years without the aid of the internet, and what he knows has mostly been by trial and error.  Perhaps google will help prevent some of the errors that may come up for me.

I thought that blogging about wine making would be something I would like to do as well, so I got a domain set up for my future wine-making endeavors.  I don’t have anything on the site just yet, but there will be some to come in the not too distant future.  It might be fun to document a vineyard in the making.  The main domain will also be my practice at self-hosting, but in the mean time there is a wordpress site (also with nothing on it as of this moment):

www.caviacreek.wordpress.com.  It’s on my to do list.

So, does anyone have any experience with homemade wine?  Have you tried it?  Do you like it?  

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8 thoughts on “Wine Making 101

  1. This is so impressive! Your bottles look really professional, and the fact that your wine is drinkable seems like a major win (or at least that would be for me… I’m not even sure how real ‘tasting’ is supposed to go, let alone winemaking!). Congrats on the first batch! :)

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