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Old 11-29-2006, 04:22 PM   #1
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Default The $64,000 question

I have been brewing beer for awhile now, but have never tried wine. On Thanksgiving I tried a sip of some homemade wine that a friend of the family had made. Wasn't too bad.

Here is my question: when I started brewing beer everyone said it would be really good-- even the very first batch. I didn't believe them. I was pretty skeptical that I could take all that primitive looking stuff into my kitchen and end up with something good. Man, was I amazed. By my second batch I was making beer that was better than any commercial brew I ever tasted. Will this be true with wine? "Real" commercial winemakers have spent 100's of years perfecting their craft. How can I ever expect to do even nearly as good as they do?

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Old 11-29-2006, 04:39 PM   #2
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Homemade grape wine is 99% ingredients, 1% process.

You can't make good wine from crap juice, but you can make crap wine from good juice- it's the 1% following of process that makes the difference.

If you're into good quality red wines, you'll be hard pressed to buy acceptable juice for less than you can buy the equivalent finished commercial wine. It's pretty hard to justify spending $5 per bottle on juice when Yellow Tail is on sale at $4.50 a bottle.

Don't fool yourself into thinking that you can make the equivalent of a $30. a bottle Napa Valley wine from a kit.

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Old 11-29-2006, 04:40 PM   #3
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Some wines are from tank to tap in weeks. There's a lot of crap out there!

Give it a go and see.

I've just done a cheap fruit kit. Ready in 21 days. I let it sit 90 days and its as good as a mid range commercial at a 10th of the price.

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Old 11-29-2006, 04:40 PM   #4
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Well, just like with beer, the answer is "It depends". It depends on many factors: quality ingredients, good sanitation, patience, technique, etc.

I've never made homemade wine with grapes (although I'm going to try it eventually), but I've made dandelion, rhubarb, blackberry, Welch's grape juice wine, tomato, etc. The dandelion and blackberry are fantastic, the rhubarb is very good, and the welch's is drinkable. The jury is still out on the tomato wine. The first wine I ever made was rhubarb, and it encouraged me to continue. Patience is the biggest virtue in country wines- you might be looking at 6 months to a year of racking and waiting before bottling. You'll tie up a carboy for a long time. It's so worth it though! I actually use mostly 3 gallon carboys with wine- that's a good amount. Bottling wine is more tedious than bottling beer. Corking can be a PITA if you don't have a floor corker (and I don't). Making one gallon is ok if you just want to try a recipe, but it's only about 5 bottles! There are lots of websites for winemaking (try jackkeller.net) and Jack's website has hundreds of recipes. You can make wine with everything from leaves to flowers to fruit.

It's worth a try, especially if you have the ability to make beer since you have knowledge of sanitation and fermentation. I think you'd be very happy with the results.

Lorena

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Old 11-29-2006, 05:34 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikey
Don't fool yourself into thinking that you can make the equivalent of a $30. a bottle Napa Valley wine from a kit.
Even if I buy a kit that contains the same juice blend (from the same winery) used for a $30 bottle of Napa Valley Merlot?

This is what I have bottled and aging right now.

-walker
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Old 11-29-2006, 07:41 PM   #6
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Default Hmmm....

doesn't sound all that promising to me, although I will keep an open mind.

With beer, I don't know if I actually save any money on it once you factor in all the equipment, supplies, etc. (I usually spend about $30 on each 5 gallon batch for ingredients, but then there's sanitzer, corn sugar bottle caps, ice, Kettle Clean.... I could go on). But, the point is, I like the taste of homebrewed beer better than almost any commercial bottled or tap beer out there. And, homebrew certainly doesn't cost any more than commercial beer. I suppose that's a big difference between wine and beer. With beer, grain is cheap. Juice from good grapes, though? Well, that's certainly a different story.

Patience seems to be a big thing here, too. (As I've found it is also with beer. Although most books and recipes say beer is ready 2 weeks after it's bottled, I have on more than one occasion been totally p*ssed to find that a batch I brewed 4 months ago had now turned into nectar of the gods-- but of course I only had about a 6-pack of it left! ).

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Old 11-29-2006, 08:42 PM   #7
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Only answer to that is drink slower.......



Oooops I mean brew faster.

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Old 11-29-2006, 09:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walker-san
Even if I buy a kit that contains the same juice blend (from the same winery) used for a $30 bottle of Napa Valley Merlot?

This is what I have bottled and aging right now.

-walker
In my experience yes, I've made the same kit as you. Try a bottle a year from now and decide.
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Old 12-25-2006, 10:56 PM   #9
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I think it is important to remember that you will brew what you like whether it be beer or wine. What some people like will not make others happy. I think if you want to try wine try a wine that you think you would like. Make a gallon or buy a small kit and see if it makes YOU happy. I am a new winemaker and I am really surprized by how much my hubby and I are liking this. The wine that I thought he would never touch (grapefruit) is his favorite. He just loves it and it hasnt even aged yet. I will be making a bigger batch soon.
Anne

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Old 12-26-2006, 01:52 PM   #10
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Wine makers (unlike brewers) are working with a very simple process: squeeze grapes, add yeast. So, the quality of the grapes and careful handling are the only variables. Take a look at Wyeast's commercial wine yeast offerings, NINE total.

If you have quality juice and take good care, you have good wine.

Personally, good wine is so cheap I can't see making a standard type. I have a HUGE rhubarb path, so I might be making some next year.

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