I'd like to share my current home winemaking experience. Hopefully, if you've ever been curious or interested, this will encourage you to go for it! Last year I made a wine with 4 other students in my Enology course. My involvement was a great learning experience, not to mention that we won the "most interesting red blend" category in the Alameda County Fair Amateur Wine Competition 2012. Using Graciano, Grenache, Syrah, and a very small amount of Zinfandel, I understand their judgement. The process was rushed and options limited, including when to harvest and when we had to present the final product. The outcome was a very light, spritzy, and fruity blend. Actually, despite the obstacles I personally think we did a great job. This year, I decided I wanted to make my own wine and just went for it. I went out peddling like a vacuum salesman and finally ended up exchanging harvest labor for fruit and was able to weasal :-) about 62 lbs of Petite Sirah, 50 lbs of Barbera, and 4 lbs of Zinfandel, all for no charge. Little did they know that I would've gladly joined their picking crew just because I love the vineyard. I am proud to say that I alone hand harvested my Petite Sirah and was on the picking crew for the Barbera. I will keep this blog going until I have detailed every step, up to placing in the aging vessel, which I have yet to determine. I would love input along the way! Happy Harvest!