Anybody else here making wine?

Last year my husband and I decided to make wine. He was a home wine making enthusiast 25 years ago when he lived in NY but then he moved to FL which is a bit warm for wine making. Now that we’re back in NY he decided to revisit his old hobby.

Last year we made 6 wines, Sauvignon blanc, Viognier, Raspberry, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon.

So far only 4 of those are in the bottle and we’ve only really drank 3 of them. The Raspberry needs about a year from bottling before drinking. The sav blanc is drinkable and tasty, the pinot noir is also tasty but will get better in the next few months. The viognier we’re not all that happy with, it’s flat and one dimensional but we’re hopeful that it’ll improve a little with age. We have yet to bottle the Zinfandel or the Cabernet as they both need more time in bulk aging before going to bottle.

This year we’ve decided to do a blend. We’re making mourvedre, grenache and syrah which will be a Rhone style blend.

All of our grapes come from California in the form of frozen grape must which is frozen crushed grapes and their juice.

Anyone else out there making wine? I’d love to hear what you do and how you do it. I remember reading a comment from someone about bottling 10 gallons of home made wine but I can’t remember who that was.

Talk to me fellow home winemakers.

Hmmm, I guess if no one else is making wine I should start an “ask the woman who’s making wine” kind of threads. I wonder if anyone would care.

Well, you didn’t ask but here’s where we are this year. The grenache has completed primary fermentation the grapes have been pressed and the wine is in the secondary, malo-lactic, fermentation.

The mourvedre is still in the primary fermentation and if it’s finished by tomorrow we’ll press it tomorrow, if not we’ll press later this week.

Once the grenache and mourevedre are both in secondary fermentation we’ll order the Syrah and get that one started. We have to stagger them because we don’t have the space or equipment to ferment more than two at once.

We’re thinking about also making chardonnay and another red. We just found out that the company we order our frozen grape must from also has grapes from Italy and Spain so it might be nice to try that out.

Mostly my husband does all of the research and most of the work. I’m there for calculations (I am the one with math skills) moral support and help when there needs to be two hands like pressing the grapes.

My grandfather was off the boat from Italy, and he always made wine. He’d make 50 gallons at a shot, in wooden barrels. He usually made zinfandel (red) and muscatel (white).

My dad took over the “family hobby,” and brought all the equipment to our basement: three or four horizontal barrels for “aging” and tapping; two vertical barrels for fermenting, a hand-cranked crushing device (we didn’t use the “purple feet” method!), and a large cast-iron press. He usually made one 50-gallon barrel each year, alternating between Zin and Muscatel. He bought boxes of grapes right off the train from California somewhere in downtown Chicago. It was lots of fun helping in this process growing up.

When my dad sold his suburban house and moved into a retirement village, he gave it all up. Unfortunately, neither I nor my siblings had any interest (or a basement!) to continue the tradition. Somehow, he found someone willing to take over all the old-school equipment. But dear old dad still makes the occasional 5-gallon carboy of wine when he feels like it.

Wish I could help you. When I was in my early 20s, I helped my father pick grapes, and he did the whole carboys and waiting, etc. Smart guy, B.S. in Biology, M.S. in something else, I’m sure he did it right.

The thing I remember (I was out of town for most of the process) was when he built a still and tried to make … brandy? grappa? … whatever. Sometimes I housesit when he and big momma are away, and am tempted, but not that tempted to drink methanol if he screwed up.

If you don’t get more answers, I can find some for you PDQ, because I appropriated all his vintner books (with his approval) and can look some stuff up if need be.

Holy cats, that’s dedication. We just buy the kits (mainly because we’re still beginners). We’ve done, what, three wines? Maybe four? And none recently - the last was a Riesling we did, oh, over a year ago now. But it turned out really well; maybe we should try another kit again.

It’s a fun hobby.

I used to brew beer. I have been thinking about trying my hand at wine. Especially since my wife inherited her grandfather’s press and crusher. Could anyone recommend a good site for beginners?

Sorry, I’m not making it, but we enjoy the fruits of a friends labor. My wife is very enamored with his faux champagne, made by carbonating a white zinfandel. We aren’t picky about our wines, and neither is my friend, he just enjoys the process. I believe he does everything with concentrates purchased on line.

We do kit wines, averaging four six gallon carboys a year. Even drinking a bottle with most dinners we do OK. Last year I bought a restaurant grade stainless steel wine rack that I hope to totally fill this winter.

Besides the kits, I have made a few batches of banana wine. (imagine the stares you get filling a grocery cart full of bananas) I’ve also made a few different versions of cranberry wine.

So far, my absolute best wine from kit was a Merlot. I held back a dozen bottles for aging and boy were they awesome. I had friends who are wine connoisseurs who refused to believe it was a kit wine.

We aren’t making wine this year, but we have for the past, hmmm 5 years, I think.

We have too many fermentation hobbies, and just this year decided to let go of the winemaking one. We did get some close friends into it a couple of years ago though, and they bought our crusher and our press, so we can rent it back from them if we ever get the urge.

We’ve made zinfandel, merlot, and cab sauv. What we bottled was really delicious, what we didn’t bottle usually ended up getting cooked in our garage, the only place we can store it, which was our main reason for letting go of the hobby altogether.

Our wines were made from local grapes, which we also harvested ourselves. Right now we’ve got one barrel, 4 demi-johns, and I think 6 or 7- 5 or 6 gallon carboys filled with wine to work through, and one case left of what we bottled a couple of years ago.

My girlfriend and I started a mead a couple of weekends ago, our second one, the last was delicious, and that is still fermenting away.

We made some hard cider with the same friends that we got into wine last year after Thanksgiving, and we are planning on doing that again this year.

And teach a friends to homebrew day is coming up, so we’ll be brewing up something and hopefully giving the booze bug to some more friends. :slight_smile:

This is a great website for beginner home winemakers -

I’ve been making wine at home for about 5 years now, from a big old grape vine in our yard, not a winery by any stretch, just a monstrous plant that nobody bothered to cut back for 50 years. I average about 75 bottles a season.

It’s a muscat, and I’ve been making dry since that’s my taste preference. My grapes are very high acid content usually, though last year was perfect straight from the vine.

This year sucks and I think I may just trash all of the grapes since they aren’t ripening. I’ll probably try making mead instead this year as a winter project.

I’ve got a bit of a question velvetjones. It’s about how your hubby didn’t make an wine while he lived in FL. I live in coastal TX and I’ve been thinking about making some of my own wine. I’m just this close to buying some grapes. But everything I’ve read about winemaking only mentions climate in terms of the growing of the grapes, not the fermentation. Is it that big of a deal? I mean, I know temperature-wise it has to be within a certain range, but do you or your wine-making hubby think if I stick a carboy in the back of my closet that it’ll come out a crummy wine?

To answer your question Barking Dog I think the reason not to do it in Florida was because the only place with room to store the carboys would have been in the garage and while the wine is in the carboys, either in secondary fermentation or bulk storage, the garage is just too damn hot like psycat90 said it “cooks” the wine.

I always thought that if you had room to keep it in the house where presumably the A/C is on and the temperature is in the 70s then it would probably be OK. I had a neighbor growing up who made wine and kept the collapsible plastic containers in his hall closet which was appropriately cool and dark. Wine doesn’t like light either.

Stuff happens when it’s exposed to extremes of heat and light and not good stuff.

An update on our current wine projects. The Grenache and Mourvedre have been pressed. The Grenache has been racked and is in secondary (malo-lactic) fermentation. The Mourvedre will be racked today.

We’re having trouble sourcing our Syrah for the blend we intended to make this year. The two companies that we buy frozen grape must from don’t have any right now and don’t know if they’ll get any. We’ve considered buying grapes but then we’d have to buy a crusher/de-stemmer and I’m reluctant to purchase more gear. This is getting to be an expensive hobby.

Though I have to say that we opened a bottle of the zinfandel (I think I mistakenly said up thread that it wasn’t bottled yet, I was wrong, I must’ve forgotten we bottled it) and it’s delicious! We’re very excited that our reds are coming out so well. Now if the whites would just shape up we’d all be happy.

My sister is an artist so she made a lovely painting of the woodshed in the back yard that we used as our “winery” and that is on the label so it looks good too. We’re using removable labels so we can re-use the bottles.

Too cold isn’t good either, especially for primary fermentation. We use heat belts on our fermentors to warm them when needed.

kayaker We learned that the hard way. Last year at one point had all of our wine wrapped in electric blankets, taking its temperature many times a day to make sure it didn’t get too cold. Finally we decided it was ridiculous so we moved the whole operation down to the basement. So much easier to deal with than the blankets.

Modern electric blankets (at least the ones we bought) had an auto shut off after 10 hours so we’d be trudging out to the shed at night before bed to reset them so they’d stay on through the night. :smack:

This year, primary fermentation is in the shed but once it’s pressed the carboys go directly to the basement.

Never made wine… I do brew beer and cider. I’d like to do a mead but it is hard to come across 15 pounds of good honey at a good price.

I’ve used these with great results.