Traditional Home Winemaking Growing Your Own Home Wine Plants
I was just appreciating a glass full of homemade wine, with a very satisfying meal made by my friend François, and his wife Dominique, when he just happen to say – “homemade wine is all right when you know how to drink it!”
This is so true, because in a number of countries all over the World, it is permitted for you to make all the wine you want free of license and tax but it has to be consumed on the premises where it is made. It must not be sold. It cannot be given away. You cannot even give as much as a bottle for raffling at a charity bazaar.
So this book is going to tell you how you are going to grow your own wine plants, because I already wrote a book on winemaking some months ago. This book is being written under the assumption that you know a little bit of wine making and fruit growing, but if you want to refresh your knowledge, here is how you can make your own wine at home.
Factors Affecting the End Product
Good quality fruit is of course the first requirement for making a good wine.
So now that we have finished an introduction to wine, and you have been given some tips on absolutely no distillation, here is another point which I would like to clear up. I asked François how two people using the same recipes did not turn out identical end products. I am not going to give you his answer in his Swiss French accent. But here is the gist of it in proper understandable English – the ingredients and the water that you use is going to have a lot of effect on the final product.
Vegetables and fruits of different varieties, water of different districts – many French vineyards and Spanish vineyards are well-known for their wines, because of the quality of the water added to the fruit, the softness and the hardness and also perhaps the minerals – and also whether the summer is wet or dry.
This last factor is going to affect the sugar content of the fruit. The organic matter and the richness of the soil is also going to affect the quality of the fruit. Commercial producers, especially when they are making wine from grapes of not such perfect quality offset such differences by blending a number of wines, in a skilled and careful manner so that each brand of wine is going to have all the characteristics that has made it popular.
This is homemade wine, so I presume that it is going to have a definite flavor. But if it was a commercial wine, it would be made up of a number of wines in different proportions to get one particular uniform boring, bland taste. For which you spent so many Euros, pounds, or dollars just to drink some brand-name.
For millenniums, naturally, traditional winemakers did not bother much about clean feet, when they danced upon the grapes, but that did not stop the appreciators of wine from drinking wine of every flavor, hue and tint, in large quantities, down the ages.
And I, being in a rather persistent mood, high on that one small glass of really delicious wine insisted on knowing whether he had done the treading of the fruit in the traditional manner to get the stock/juice, in his village, he said in a very patient and exasperated manner, “If you are so bothered about my bare feet and their cleanliness, I went into the wooden cask with my vineyard boots on, coated with ordure, muck and dirt, you have already finished that glass, have not you, now what are you going to do about it!” That shut me up really effectively, while Dominique giggled away.
He was joking of course, so whatever someone may say on the traditional making of wine, do not let that stop you from appreciating one of mankind’s greatest arts, that of winemaking.
I am going to be writing another book, where you are going to get lots of details on how to begin making wine at home, because this book is about how to grow your own wine plants. So it does not matter whether you have just a tiny plot of land or a really large orchard. It is very easy for you to grow your own wine plants with a little bit of effort and planning and a bit of dedication.
Hurray for a bountiful harvest. A portion of this can be preserved and the rest made into wine.
This book has given you some information on how you can grow soft fruit for making wine. You are going to think why I did not give you information on other fruit and trees, but do not worry, they are in the pipeline. This book is more of a tip and technique book getting you interested in natural ways in which you can grow your own fruit in your garden while getting you interested in natural homemade wine making.Remember, half of the fun of doing a thing yourself is experimenting, and then feeling proud of the end product.
A couple of years ago my father who makes orange wine every year for home consumption, put a bottle of orange wine into the fridge, last January and we forgot about it because he had some health problems and our priority was to get him all right than to bother about some wine in the fridge.
It took eight months for him to get cured of his stroke and its aftereffects, and by the time he came back home, that wine had matured, turned into something miraculous, delicious, and oh wow. Especially chilled.
Throughout his absence, I who do not drink wine too often, except on rare occasions – no alcohol ever –used to drink just about two sips of this nectar, every evening in the cold cold winter, accompanied with hot homemade chicken soup. The combination was Ambrosia.
By the time he was ready to come back home, this March, this bottle was just 1/8 full. My brother, who had brought him back home after treatment and in now complete restored good health, took one sip of it and “said where did you buy this really expensive stuff, I have never tasted anything like it before.”
All of them, naturally, were much more experienced in gourmet food and drink than I ever would be, being 100% French, but I was the one who could do the most comical hamming and could make the stupidest of statements, with a totally poker face.
For example, here am I ready to sample a Bordeaux wine…
So first of all, the chilled bottle would be opened, a little bit poured into a wine goblet, swirled around, the melodramatic sniffing over the wine done with burlesque-ian exaggerated fashion, imitating the professionals- the bouquet appreciated through a blocked nose – that always brought the house down – and then one tiny sip taken and the lips smacked noisily in a really rude fashion.
And then the result declared. “Hmmm, nice vinegar. Excellent for cooking purposes. What is this, Sherry, Port, Burgundy, or what? It can be added to a casserole. Coq au Vin, hmmm?”
All to the accompaniment of derisive laughter, and hoots from my friends and colleagues and the declaration of our host – “You well be keeled one day, if you keep saying theengs like zat, Dueep. And I weel be doing ze keeling.”
Happy days, especially when I got to polish off 104 varieties of cheese and managed to drink sipfuls of a number of really delicious wines, including Beaujolais, Bordeaux, Pinot Noir, and lots and lots of other well-known French wines! But no champagne. All straight from France for this annual special occasion in our city – totally free for us guests.
So remember, life is for living, enjoying every moment, experimenting with the gifts of nature, and storing up happy memories! Live Long and Prosper!