Introduction to Wine making

So you’re interested in making wine but don’t know where to start? Then the best thing to do would be to buy one of the many books available and give it a good read (I’ve listed a few of the ones I own on the Further Reading page). I’ll try to cover the basics to get you up and running, but there is far greater knowledge out there and one or two books are essential.

I’ve been making wine on and off for over 20 years, but have only recently started to learn anything about the craft in the last 5. Even now, as friends and family will no doubt testify, a gifted bottle can still re-ferment and decorate a kitchen while the recipient sleeps in their bed; a batch of wine can spoil despite what I thought was the meticulous sterilisation of equipment; a wine that has sat for 2 years maturing can suddenly decide to start producing a sediment.

Rather than worry about what can go wrong however, focus on what can go right: the pop of the cork and subsequent fizz on a bottle of Gooseberry Champagne that not only you created the recipe for, you actually remember when the Gooseberries were but a twig in the recesses of your mind; Banana Sherry created from those 10p a bunch Banana’s they were going to bin at the supermarket; a taste of Rhubarb Wine in the depths of Winter that tastes of sunshine & warmth.

And Damson’s. Once you taste Damson Wine, Sherry or ‘Port’, you’ll start to plan to make some free time around September/October to make sure you can gather some.

The beauty of wine making as a hobby is not just in the process of making the drink itself, it is getting in tune with the seasons, getting outside to forage for ingredients, dropping on a tray of fruit in the supermarket that has been reduced to next to nothing and knowing, sometime smugly, you’ll be sipping something very tasty and rather unique in a few months/years time.

A quick word about ingredients: “There’s one ingredient missing from every recipe and that is patience” *. If you are the kind of person who was that child in the back seat of the car saying ‘are we there yet?’ every 20 seconds, then wine making isn’t for you. It’s a slow burning, occasional hobby that can (and should) take at least a year from starting to actually drinking the wine. By all means check your wine regularly, say once a month. Just don’t expect major changes on a monthly basis, and don’t sip too much when you do check it or you’ll end up with half a demijohn full and be very annoyed at yourself (says he knowingly).

So I’ll leave it there. If you want to ask any questions, please use the comments on the recipe pages.

We can learn together.


© My Dad