Making wine

When we were in Italy last summer we stayed at a little resort at the south end of Cinque Terre. At the top of the hill was a little bar that specialized in anchovies. But they had lots of other seafood and drinks. Above our table was this trellis with grape vines hanging from it.  They also had a private white wine that we drank that was really good. We couldn’t buy it to send home but we enjoyed it while we were there.

 

This inspired me to plant a grape vine that would climb our deck. And then I thought why not plant a few more? So I bought some posts and planted 6 more between the two retaining walls on the SW side of our lot. As I got thinking about it, it would take 3 or 4 years before I had any grapes. And when I did, I didn’t want to practice wine making with my first harvest. So I started researching wine making.

Not to labor you with details, but I found that 1 gallon batches were probably a good place to start considering the size of our kitchen. I also found that you could make wine from 100% Welchs Grape juice. So I bought some jugs and accessories and started making wine.

It’s been about 8 months now and I’ve made quite a bit of wine. I tried a number of batches of Welchs using about every flavor I could find. The concord tastes like table grapes, the red and white can make a pretty good tasting wine, especially if you let them go 90 days. The cherry and peach are okay but you can tell that the juice is grape based which detracts from it. This is often called inmate wine. I tend to agree that it can taste pretty cheap.

I have also tried using frozen fruit. And while I don’t have a completed batch yet, the ones that I have in progress seem to be coming around real well. From what I understand they work well because they are picked and packed when the fruit is pretty ripe and then frozen so you get pretty good results.

I have also tried two fresh produce wines. Rhubarb is coming along but I’m not sure about the taste yet.

I also tried plums from the store but they were just not good. They weren’t as ripe as they should have been. I don’t know if I let them set on the counter to ripen some more if that would have helped or not. I generally think that I just need to wait for local in season fruit if I’m going to try fresh. I ended up dumping the plum wine. It just smelled skanky.

So my summary is I think the white and red Welchs can make an okay wine. And I’m pretty pleased with the frozen fruit. Otherwise, I’m just going to wait for summer and try to get some in season fresh fruit to work with.

I’ve learned lots and am glad that I didn’t wait to try it out for the first time with my own grapes in 3 years.

sj