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Wine Review: Home winemaking a worthwhile hobby

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Wine will occur without the intervention of humans.

Mother Nature has endowed our world with yeast, an entity that consumes sugar and excretes alcohol. The proof is right before your eyes: The white “dust” that you see on fruit is yeast. Prove it for yourself. Crush some fruit on which you can see the yeast dust, put it in a loosely covered glass container and let it sit at room temperature for about a week, remembering that a second product of fermentation is carbon dioxide, so leave a way for the glass to escape. In a few days you should notice a bubbling and the smell of alcohol. Congratulations, you are now a winemaker. I doubt that the wine would be pleasant to drink but it proves that fermentation is a natural result of combining sugar and yeast.

Home winemaking has been a hobby for many years and reached its apex during the alcohol restrictive Prohibition period. Today, with the price of wine becoming almost unaffordable, I believe the hobby of home winemaking will again be on the rise. Not to play down the efforts of professional winemakers, but making wine is a rather simple process: Crush some fruit, add some yeast and in about a week you will have wine. That roughly made wine may not be the best, but it will be wine nonetheless.

The hobby of home winemaking has grown by leaps and bounds. To start your own home winery, it will cost you about $50 for all the equipment that you will need to make the average home batch of approximately 30 bottles of wine. There are now on the market kits to make almost every style of wine that you can imagine, from the Bordeaux and Burgundy reds to the chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and even the sweet Sauternes. They’ll cost about $35 to make approximately 30 bottles of wine, or roughly $1 per bottle. That may at first seem like a lot of wine, but I can assure the reader that the wine will remain drinkable for many years, makes great gifts and you will have a lot of new friends.

There is, in almost every locality, a home wine and beer making store nearby where they will help you get started, get you what you need and walk you through the entire process. So, use your phone directory or Google to find one near you. There they will tell you that today, the wines you make at home will be as good and, in some cases, even better than those you currently buy.

I suspect that I have garnered your interest in home winemaking . As with anything, there is a caveat. If you are interested in home winemaking or just thinking about it, save all of your used wine bottles. You are going to need them and purchasing bottles can get expensive. Another feature about home winemaking is if you or a neighbor have a fruit tree, you have a ready source of material to make wine.

A trip to your local wine and beer making supply shop and a chat with the personnel there can open a new, very enjoyable and money-saving hobby.

Wine columnist Bennet Bodenstein can be reached at


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