In March, 2016, I tried home-brew wine for the first time and I liked it. It was my neighbours wine and he wanted me to sample it because he doesn’t like wine and makes it to give away to friends.
I decided that I would give it a go myself because I like to do things with a definitive before and after and as I like a drink, I thought this would be a great idea. I went online to find recipes and found several websites. I got a recipe from http://www.wine-making-guides.com for a potato wine with the mind-set of – how could it go wrong, it looks so easy? well, it did go wrong and after months of waiting and racking, it still looked like water / sludge from the river Tees.
I had already started a different recipe (onion) from the same website and found that this one was clearing quite nicely. When I started, I didn’t write anything down apart from dates on the demijohns so have no official records of times, amount of racks so a lot of this comes from a somewhat hazy memory. Anyway, after months of waiting and racking at least twice I counted my losses and the potato wine got poured down the sink but I didn’t give up.
The onion wine was coming along nicely and even though everyone that heard what I was making, pulled THAT FACE, the end result was quite remarkable. It was stronger than any wine that I’ve ever drank in both ABV and in flavour. The astonishing thing about the flavour was that it doesn’t taste of onions at all. I found it to have quite a flowery taste and this amazed me. A new hobby was born.
I made several last year before I started making notes on recipes and dates and even photos, which are the newest edition. I made; Potato (down the plug hole), onion, mint, rice and raisin, chai tea, beetroot, elderflower, parsnip, ginger, watermelon and rhubarb.
I have enjoyed all the wines that I have made so far and am still making mistakes as I am relatively new to this and very impatient to try the end result. I currently have 17 demijohns’ on the go with different wines and have made my own scrumpy and ginger beer. I am also experimenting with flavoured vodka and gin so my wife really must have the patience of a saint.
The transformation of the bottles became semi-professional over this first year and evolved naturally as I got became more involved and started giving the wines to family to share. They started off in second-hand screw-lid bottles with the labels soaked off and white hand written labels stuck on to having my own labels on the bottle and eventually having corked bottles to having the shrink-wrap over the lid too. This became really apparent when I took half a dozen bottles to a family members birthday party / house-warming and they were all lined up.
So far, I have been quite greedy and have drunk most of the evidence and have only kept one bottle of some of the wines to see how they age but now I am going to keep a diary of what I am doing, when it’s done, any photos and even what they taste like. Watch this space….