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Winemaking at it's Wine-est!!

The Guide to Winemaking for the Inexperienced Winemaker Guided by the Experience of the Inexperienced: Chapter 1, Will Work For Grapes. :-)

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! 

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Rich Buckley October 29, 2012 at 03:05 AM
There are two videos that would be well worth making I feel. (a) One, is how to plant grapes, stake, drip-irrigate, and prune grapes and care for a micro-vineyard in your yard and, (b) watch and listen to a chemist or winemaker adjust the pH, and start fermentation, store, temperature control and make the wine. That or maybe just wine first place in France... Either way. :-)
Californicated1 October 29, 2012 at 04:31 PM
And we can always leave it to the posters like me here on Livermore Patch to engage in "whine-making" at its finest.
Kimmie Spears October 29, 2012 at 04:47 PM
I would love a win'e' :-) anywhere, but I'll set my focus to crafting a drinkable wine for now. Thanks for your comment Rich and the video is an excellent idea!! I'm set to start fermentation (innoculate) a new batch of Cabernet Sauvignon today, depending on how the juice is tasting and looking. I think I will take a quick video on the process. Thanks again for the input, if you have any advice let me know! I'm always open for other views and directions. Happy Harvest!
Kimmie Spears October 29, 2012 at 05:20 PM
I've had a lot of "whine-ing" this season, that's for sure! After speaking to other vying, green vintners as well as "seasoned" professionals yesterday, I discovered I am either the lone cowboy stumbling blind in the dark (despite training, resources, and knowledge) or a bratty belly-acher, which in the latter case, I do apologize!!
Rich Buckley October 30, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Yes Kimmie, I really enjoyed helping my late-friend and neighborhood wine maker harvest his grapes and prune his little vineyard. The vineyard was small and only took half a day to harvest. Stepping up to start the harvest in a row of vines bearing 35 pounds (some as high as 50 lbs) of grapes per vine on a calm, sunny September California morning seemed magically otherworldly. I'm really glad I was his neighbor; that one moment of moving from busy bill paying head of household to a consciousness surrounded in green reflected sunlight, among huge bunches of mist-covered ripe grapes, seemed transcendent.
Kimmie Spears October 31, 2012 at 08:09 PM
Rich, you said it all. The entire process is labor intensive and sometimes, when I'm covered in wine, bruises, and scrapes, my aching muscles screaming for a break, I wonder what the heck I'm doing, but I remember that all of my hard work pays off. I feel productive because I am contributing to the creation of tangible passion. I am doing something I love and feel gratification at the end of the day. I would have a hard time going back to a job to push something that I don't believe in.
Vince draper February 12, 2013 at 03:53 PM
I have zero experience but as a family project we would like to take a stab at making wine. We could use all the guidance we can get any helpful getting started comments woukd be great

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