I (Scott) have made beer in the past and my wife and I really enjoy wine. So one day she says, "people say your beer is good why don’t you make me some wine since I don’t like beer". Living in Florida does not offer you the means to make wine as we have palm trees and beaches, not vineyards! It’s not like where I grew up in NY a stone’s throw from the finger lakes I started to research wine kits but was not too fond of them after much patience (not my strong suit) I found a local resource that was purchasing fresh grapes out of California. So I got on the bandwagon and placed my order and got my ducks in order for trying my hand at home winemaking.
How hard could it be, my relatives did it and it was decent wine. Back to the books and more research, getting on a home winemaking forum and asking questions. Purchased the bear essentials to make my wine when the grapes arrived. Wow what a wake-up call that was with the first batch of wine, destemming the grapes by hand, luckily in my preparation I did purchase a hand-cranked grape crusher. Grapes destemmed, crushed, and put into the fermenter. On the forums, I learned a lot about grape science, took the appropriate reading made some adjustments, and pitched the yeast, and let thing s start to ferment! Fast forward to the first bottling (by hand of course) the initial tasting was positive and the first harvest lol was under my belt.
I learned a lot that first time, so I prepared much better for the following year. I made some big investments in home winemaking equipment because the fruits of our labor from the first harvest were very good. I purchased a small mechanical crusher/destemmer, a stainless-steel variable capacity tank and my wife got me a small vacuum pump bottler. The order is placed, and we wait in anticipation of the grapes. The lugs of Sangiovese and Cabernet grapes come in looking good. This harvest went much smoother and quicker. I really enjoyed using the new equipment and being able to work with a larger quantity of grapes.
After bottling and aging and preparing again for the next harvest (driving to pick up my grapes) my wife noted that this is really really good wine so I decided to enter it into the Florida International wine competition and I took a Silver medal. Not bad for home winemaking.
Fast forward again to my wife’s suggestion of we ought to take this to the next level!
Let the games begin!