Thursday, May 26, 2011

Wine Making

After yesterday's strawberry wine post I had 2 people ask me how I make my wine so I thought I'd tell everyone.  First I talked to some old-timers around here who made wine (and other spirits) for years.  They were around 80 years old. 

"Let's see - get your fruit, sugar and water and put it in a bucket."

"How much fruit?"  I asked.

"Oh, enough to fill a pot, ah reckon".

"How much sugar?"

"I expect right much".

"How long do I let it sit?"

"Mmmmm, well, can't really say.  What do you think mama?" he looks to his wife.  She smiles and shrugs.

You get the picture.  I didn't learn how to make wine from them but they had some really great stories to tell.

What I did do is order a beginner's wine making kit from Midwest Supplies   along with the add-on kit.  I don't think it cost more than $140.00.  That includes the glass carboy, 5 gallon bucket, corker, corks, additives, cleaners, bottle brush, air lock, mesh bag for fruit, hydrometer, syphon, bottle filler and a nifty recipe handbook, which is where I get all my recipes from.  There are recipes in there you'd never dream of.  All but the additives and corks will last you a lifetime.  I don't use any of their wine concentrate kits, just our own fruit.  They also sell beer making supplies which might be kind of fun to try too. 

Since then I've bought more carboys and buckets so I can make more at one time.  If I gave you the recipe it wouldn't mean much until you tried it yourself.  Making your own wine is dirt cheap too.  Save your bottles or ask friends to save them for you.  If you order your kit now you can have it all ready to go before the blackberries are ripe.  It might be a little late for your strawberries though unless you buy them from somewhere that has an extended season.  Ours are just finishing up. 

Here are a few recipes from the handbook that you may never have had:
Green tomato wine
Rose Hip
Raisin "sherry"
Banana Spice
Firethorn (Pyracantha)
Prickly Pear

They also have recipes for meads
Apple cider
Rum Pot

 Let me know if you try making wine and what unusual ones you try.  Also, if you know an old-timer that can tell you measurements and directions please share them with me. 


  1. "How long do I let it sit?" "Until it tastes right."

  2. Lol. I love it. Thanks! I'm gonna talk to my guy, and we may need to start buying supplies for blackberry season. Already have several carboys from beer making a few years ago. The green tomato and pumpkin definitely sound interesting!

  3. I may have to try the pumpkin too. We let lots of green tomatoes go to waste but I'm not sure that sounds as good as pumpkin wine.

  4. There's a store that sells wine and beer making supplies in Roanoke on Williamson Rd - they're really a store for hydroponics, I believe it is - Rick & I need to take a trip there soon - we find carboys at yard sales and flea markets - I bargained for one, with a wooden carrying rack and got it for $7.50 - woo hoo -
    I have friends who make mead and we used some of my herbs last year to make an herbal mead and it's still 'cooking' in my friends closet -
    Mead and wine are really very easy to make, aren't they - once you get your supplies - and I have made what we call 'second run' wine - that's where you use the grapes a second time (haven't tried that with other fruit-yet) and I liked it better than the first run - it was more like a rose' wine -
    It's great to find you Karen - take care - Dee (from the goat jamboree)you're the gal at Susan's on Friday, aren't you?