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Joe’s Wine Making Adventure – Here We Go!

I have always wanted to make wine, but just have never taken the plunge.   Well the next best thing just arrived, in the form of a friend who is taking the leap and starting his wine making adventure.  My friend’s name is Joe, and he has graciously agreed to let us follow him on the perilous path of avoiding a barrel full of vinegar.  So this is the first in what will be a continuing series that culminates in a Grand Tasting of the finished product.  I can’t wait, and I don’t really have to do anything.

All of these posts will be in the Wine Making category on the site, and there will be link backs in each to the previous post so you can follow along at any point.  If you are curious about the process or maybe even thinking about jumping in yourself, this might prove interesting.  We’re all going to learn a bit, Joe more so than anyone.  So here we go with…..

Joe’s Wine Making Adventure!

I’ve known Joe for many years now, and this doesn’t really surprise me.  I just think it’s great.  He’s an engineer with a strong chemistry background, so that makes sense.  His family has a history of wine making, so that makes sense.  And he might be a little bit crazy to start this with everything else he’s got to deal with, so it all makes sense.  I admire his sense of adventure (even more sense).  Why make your own wine?  According to Joe:

“I can remember a fun filled birthday for my dad a few years back with lots of homemade wine flowing from my godfather.  I learned two things that birthday celebration, first homemade wine can be higher in alcohol content, and second that it is possible to make good homemade wine.

The Equipment

The Equipment

I hope he’s right, and I’m sure he is, but the question really is can he make good homemade wine.  He’s done the research and is prepared.  Here are some of his overarching thoughts  you might want to consider:

“I am starting to understand why so many of the experienced home wine makers I talked with at Silver Lake Beer and Wine Making Supply told me they now start with juice.” (Joe of course ignored that and started with grapes)…”  Interesting to note that this is what Steve, the owner of Blackstone Valley Brewing Supply also told me.

The wine of choice this vintage will be Cabernet Sauvignon, chosen for its full body and availability of quality grapes.  In researching home wine making, one common theme

Grapes and Crusher

Grapes and Crusher

beyond insuring all equipment that comes in contact with the “wine” is sanitized was to use the best grapes one can afford. ”
(Since Joe is not rich, these Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are not from the Napa To Kalon vineyards, but they’ll have to do)

“It has been a fun learning experience, involving reading several books ( “The Way to Make Wine” and “Techniques in Home Winemaking”) and countless articles on the web.  Additionally, Tony at Silver Lake Beer and Wine Making Supply has provided me with a wealth of practical information.  The process of enology seems relatively simple, crush and de-stem the grapes followed by alcoholic fermentation, allow the young wine to rest in larger 5 gallon carboys before bottling for its final aging process.  Ok, there are a few more steps in between these larger ones; we will explore them as the process unfolds.

Joe and Son

Joe and Son

The general equipment needed has not been difficult to find, nor significantly expensive.  For a nominal investment of $200, I have gathered up all that is needed except for a few more cases of bottles, grape crusher, wine press, and testing equipment.  Some of these supplies including a Portuguese style floor corker for the bottling phase were purchased through Craigslist.

The next few weeks should prove to be busy with many opportunities to post my progress, followed by a period of more random posts while the wine undergoes Malolactic fermentation to help mellow it and during the clarification and ageing phase.”

So Joe does all the work, we get to see it progress, and Cheri and I get to drink some of the wine.  This is awesome.  Let’s see if he gets that full bodied Cabernet he referred to.  As you can see in the pictures, he’s got the equipment, he’s got the grapes and he’s got some help, so this should be easy!

Follow along over the next 8 months or so.  There might be a surprise or two along the way.

Also – this is not a paid promotion for either Silver Lake Beer and Wine Making Supply or Blackstone Valley Brewing Supply, but I am open to the concept!

I would like to thank Joe for agreeing to let us share his adventure.  Cheri and I will have to provide a celebration dinner when we pop the first bottle.

Next Installment – The Crush!

A votre santé (especially Joe’s!)

3 comments to Joe’s Wine Making Adventure – Here We Go!

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