Wine Making

Wine Making

posted in: Homestead | 6

For whatever reason I seem to have a penchant for trying new things, I guess I like knowing how things work.   So for the latest bizarre project at the Dworak Household I decided to give wine making a try.  I took the easy way out and bought a kit for this first attempt, actually I bought two. I talked our friends Heidi and Ryan into joint venturing, so to speak, so we’d have a little more variety. The kits are $75 each and make a 5-gallon batch, or 30 bottles. So if it turns out half way decent, I’m at about $2.25 per bottle, not bad.  We decided on a Chardonnay and a Shiraz.

Funny thing is I’m really not even a wine drinker but I guess I liked the idea of my own wine cellar virtually over night.

The kits really aren’t very complicated, in fact I felt like I was making a big kids Kool-aid. Mix the extract (grape juice) with 6 gal of water and a small package of bentonite (clay) and throw in some yeast, all in a food grade 6-gal bucket.

For those that have never fermented anything.  Once the yeast is added to the wort (beer) or must (wine) you’ve really created a living thing.  The yeast gives off carbon dioxide as it turns the sugars into alcohol.  A device called an airlock is placed on the fermentor that allows the carbon dioxide to escape without allowing any contaminates into the container.  (Sorry about the sideways viewing)

This is the airlock in action.

Let sit for about 10 days and transfer to a glass carboy (secondary fermentation) and let sit another 10 days before bottling.

I’ve been collecting bottles over the past couple years and by far the hardest part of the process was removing the old labels.

Getting ready to go
Getting ready to go
Transfering from the carboy to the bottle
Transfering from the carboy to the bottle
Finished product
Finished product

Next time I’ll go for the real deal and use real grapes not the extract. After telling a few other people about the project we’ve already got a friend offering to donate grapes from her fathers vineyard.  Can anyone guess what they might be getting for Christmas, ha!

6 Responses

  1. Beth Klepper
    | Reply

    You still haven’t mentioned if it was any good???

  2. dworakma
    | Reply

    There are a few reasons why I didn’t comment on the taste:

    1. Technically it’s supposed to age in the bottle for 1-month minimum, preferably 3 months.
    2. Probably the biggest reason, I’m not a big wine guy. To me it tastes like wine so in my book that’s a success. I couldn’t tell the difference between a $6 box vs. a $20 bottle.
    3. And lastly I’m slightly biased.

    That being said I did think it was good.

  3. Beth Klepper
    | Reply

    I consider myself somewhat of a cheap wine connoisseur. Why don’t you give me a bottle and I will be HAPPY to decipher if its any good.

  4. Heidi
    | Reply

    Beth, we’ve busted into two of the bottles of white and it’s quite good. Pretty full bodied and for some reason it tastes carbonated to me (can’t figure that one out).

    Waiting the full 4 weeks to open a red.

    Also, I can’t believe Matt didn’t share the names of our wines!
    The Mayor’s Reserve Shiraz
    &
    Dworak’s Dirty Shard-o-nee

    🙂 Or some version of that… we were going round and round over the name of the white and I think that’s what we settled on!

    We thought about labeling them, but at $2 a label (to order online) that turns a cheap bottle of wine into a more expensive bottle of cheap wine, so we opted to go for naked bottles. They look pretty cool.

    And Ryan says ditto on the hardest part being taking the labels off. That part sort of sucks.

    Thank you to Matt for doing the transfers by himself!

  5. Heidi
    | Reply

    PS The most fun was bottling the wine! That was a party. 🙂

  6. Aunt Rose
    | Reply

    I’m just getting around to posting on your wine making. I don’t know what’s taking me so long, maybe it’s the fact that I’ve been drinking your wine. Great job, make more Aunt Rose

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