What Was your First Winemaking Experience?

Now that we are nearing the end of 2013, it is a time for reflection. One of the things that I have been pondering is the first wine that my wife, Kathy, and I made. In late 2007 we decided that if we were going to write about wine, we should make wine. Kathy gave me a winemaking kit for Christmas 2007. It sat unopened until the middle of 2008. To best describe the wine we made, I would use the word “plonk.” After the fact, winemakers made suggestions. The one that worked the best was to pour about two inches of port into a decanter than fill with the Cabernet Sauvignon that we made. However, I should point out that other winemakers argued, “Why ruin the port?”

Making our first wine from a kit did teach us some lessons. The first was regarding kits in general. You get what you pay for. A kit that cost $70 for the juice is not going to provide the same quality as a kit priced over $200. The second lesson is that we did learn something about winemaking. Our second wine we made in 2008 was a mead. We made it from scratch.

We did go on to make two other kit wines. In 2009 we made a Riesling Icewine-style wine. We learned that sugar is a winemakers secret weapon. It can also cover up some faults. Then in 2011 we made a Sauvignon Blanc from a kit that sourced the juice from the Marlborough wine region in New Zealand. This was an expensive kit and we were quite pleased with the results.

What was your experience making your first wine?


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