World of food and wine looks at a fascinating variety of customs and traditions in different countries across the globe, describing how the world cooks, eats, and drinks.
Home wine making uncorked
What’s a great meal without a bottle of wine? Wine consumption has been increasing by about 4.5% a year, with a 30% increase in the US over the last decade. Winemaking is big business, but it’s also a hugely satisfying hobby for wine lovers to pursue at home.
We’ve got used to buying wine and so winemaking is surrounded by some mystique. It’s not as difficult as you might think. The science of winemaking isn’t much more complicated than cooking a good meal.
You’ll need to invest in some basic equipment but it doesn’t have to cost you much. We’ve been enjoying wine for about six thousand years. You can make your own wine without spending a fortune on hi-tech stuff. You can buy a complete kit or compile your own for very little capital outlay. It’s not much more than bottles and corks, buckets and jars, tubing and a couple of economically priced gadgets, like a hydrometer. You can buy also buy ready-made ingredient kits for different kinds of wine online.
You’ve got your equipment. Now -what kind of wine do you want? Grape wines are the global favourite, but you don’t have to own a vineyard to make wine. If you have your own produce you can probably make wine from it. You can also make country wines, wild wines and liqueurs from a huge range of fruits, herbs and even vegetables!
Growing your own grapes can be rewarding and can be done even in smaller gardens. You need to choose the right cultivar for your local climate and for the type of wine you want to produce: red or white, dry or sweet. Winemaker, wine critic and viticulturist Jeff Cox’s book ‘From Vines to Wines’ will take you through the entire process from A-Z.
Are you in a hurry to get started? The internet will help you. You can download a book of wine recipes in minutes. If you’re not too sure of yourself, there are online home winemaking courses you can sign up to for expert instruction, advice and discussion.
Home winemakers will tell you that there are umpteen reasons to make your own wines. Once you’ve mastered the art of home winemaking, you can produce wines for any occasion at a fraction of the cost of a store-bought bottle. With a bit of practice, you can produce sparkling wines and fortified wines. You can invent your own recipes and even win awards!
Every batch of wine you make will be a new adventure. You can never predict the outcome with 100% accuracy, but once you’ve mastered the technique, you can confidently create wines that are every bit as good as the well-known estate wines that cost many times the price.
Home winemaking is like being an artist. The difference is that you can’t drink a painting or a sculpture. The reward of making your own wine lies partly in the journey of creation. When you’re finished, you have something special to enjoy with friends to celebrate your success.