I love a good glass of wine –there is nothing better than coming home from work and relaxing with a glass over dinner. I was planning to celebrate National Drink Wine Day with a good glass of homemade wine.
Mark and also enjoy exploring new wineries and wine regions. We have some great local wineries and we’ve been fortunate to have spent time in some of the best wine regions in our country and have found some hidden gems in unexpected places as well.
It’s always a fun experience – everyone in the tasting room is happy (who wouldn’t be?!) and we almost always walk out with at least one bottle of really good wine. More often than not we leave talking about how much fun it would be to own our own winery. This usually leads to me pointing out that it would be helpful if we knew how to make wine before we go jumping into that…but it’s fun to imagine!
Last Christmas Mark bought me the “The Complete Guide to Making Wine at Home”. I had made wine before in a microbiology class in college. It was an awful, sweet cranberry wine, but still, I had gone through the process so I knew it was possible.
I purchased a 1-gallon (better to start small) Merlot kit and after looking at it for way too long, I finally got the nerve up to give it a try. I started it at the end of December and two weeks ago we finally bottled it.
The directions were easy to follow. I fully admit I missed a few things (like putting water in the airlock for the first few days – whoops) and getting the specific gravity reading was a challenge. There were a few steps that I didn’t follow the suggested timing as closely as recommended. I really didn’t have high hopes for this experiment, but watching the mixture for the first few days, the yeast definitely activated and it seemed to be progressing along.
After about a month and a half of mixing, switching containers, testing, adding in ingredients and mixing some more, we had “wine”. It kind of smelled right. It had a “winey, alcohol” aroma and we thought it looked clear. So we went ahead and bottled it. We ended up with about 4 -1/2 bottles (we lost a bit when the syphon slipped). We corked them and waited.
Last week I opened a bottle for us to try with dinner. Well, let’s just say we didn’t finish it, or even finish a glass. Mark described it as “thick” and it definitely was not clear like I thought. To me it had an odd/off flavor, but at least it didn’t taste like vinegar. We got something right but I don’t think we’ll be opening our own winery any time soon!
I may never be a professional wine maker but I will try again! I’ll let you know how the next batch turns out. I’m just hoping for something quaffable! And maybe next year I’ll have a good glass of homemade wine to celebrate National Drink Wine Day!
Tonight, just a good glass of Cabernet while we think about a recent trip to the Finger Lakes wine region! Happy National Drink Wine Day!