Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I recently made my own wine and wrote a review for artful winemaking. It is an enjoyable experience to produce and enjoy your own creation... and unlike veggies from the garden wine gets you buckled. don't drink and drive lovelies.
As a budding young wine enthusiast, I jumped on the opportunity to make my own wine. I say ‘enthusiast’ because I am a rookie in the wine connoisseur game, but my curiosity and love of all things wine had me diving head first with excitement into this project.
The ‘Artful Winemaker’ personal winemaking system, promises to discover the winemaker in you. I was very apprehensive considering my lack of success following cooking recipes and them not having a positive result in the past. What the Artful Winemaker provides unlike cooking recipes and baking instructions, is a simple three-step system with a step-by-step instructional DVD and log to keep track of your progress. It is like having a personal winemaker coach that you can pause and rewind.
Day one - stage one was assembly, cleaning and sanitizing. I emptied the contents of the huge box I received on to my kitchen counter. I was excited and nervous to embark on my winemaking endeavor. In the box comes the system itself, which conveniently fit on my counter and looked quite regal if you ask me. The box also included all the components of the wine (minus the tap water to be added) including the sanitizing materials and twelve bottles with corks and labels. Stage one was a little overwhelming in that I was extremely nervous about confusing the directions.  It ended up being really simple and the majority of the steps were in the sanitizing of the equipment.
Stage two, mixing and fermenting, the instructions were as easy as pouring a few pouches of powder into the winemaker and stirring the solution. Before I knew it my DVD chapter ended and I was done day one.
Two weeks later was stage three, stabilizing and cleaning. In this stage there are a couple of other additions and the cone is positioned accordingly
For the next three days I had to monitor the solution level and turn the system a couple times to release the sediment.
The next few weeks, my beautiful winemaking system sat perched on my counter. Any visitors in my kitchen were constantly inquiring about the vat of purple substance and extremely interested and fervent when they learned of my project.  I continued to check on the winemaker’s levels and watch carefully over my brew.
Stage four, the final step, bottling. This was by far my most enjoyable part of the process. It was so fulfilling to finally press the labels on my bottles (all twelve) and let the wine drizzle in to reach the perfect level in the bottle’s neck. There they were all sitting there, beautifully aligned, I didn’t want to spoil them by opening one.
Finally, the taste test… In the past thirty days I had been reading Secrets of Wine by Giles Kime (which was also kindly included in my Artful Winemaker ensemble), I now had the knowledge of what to look for in my wine and how to properly taste wine. I was nervous beyond belief that my wine would taste more like salad vinaigrette than a beverage. I took the tasting steps outlined in Secrets of Wine and could only conclude that my wine was a great success. The first sip I was not quite sure what my taste buds were feeling, but by the second and third swish it was definitely a “vinous nirvana” as the book puts it. Of course I was biased in my creation so an official ‘wine tasting’ was in order. I had a few friends over, some more experienced wine drinkers, others their first time drinking wine. I offered three variations of red wine in unmarked vases- my personal wine, a bottle of Fusion (retailed at about $7.45) and a bottle of Wolf Blass (retailed at about $15.00 this being an expensive wine for our student budgets). The response was unanimous. While some preferred the Fuzion to my wine, others disliked the Wolf Blass, everyone agreed it was impossible to spot the ‘homemade wine’. Everyone was sure they had each pinned it and then shocked to find out different. More importantly everyone had an enjoyable night continuing to drink my wine.
The Artful Winemaker has been such a wonderful experience that has stemmed my winemaking interest to a serious level. I have moved from a ‘wine rookie’ to a self-proclaimed ‘wine novice’ in the process of making my own wine and reading Secrets of Wine. I now know the difference between a Zinfandel and a Malbec, what proper Champagne should taste like and even that wine has legs! The process was simple and user friendly and I would recommend it to anyone apprehensive about taking on a project like this. I am officially an Artful Winemaker, in that I will be getting my refill materials as soon as possible!

1 comment:

  1. Might have to switch from brewing beer to wine now! Good post.