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Why I Love Making Wine

Racking a batch of grape blueberry wine
Racking and Tasting a Grape / Blueberry Wine

While I've always enjoyed a nice glass of wine, I never even knew what possibilities existed for home winemaking until I travelled to Latvia and tasted my brother-in-law's red currant wine. Wow ... it was so delicious, and he kept bringing out bottle after bottle from his cellar. Then, I realized that it wasn't just Igor that knew how to make wine. It seemed that everyone there had some type of family recipe for fruit wines of one type or another. Whether it was apple, currant, or whatever they were fermenting it all tasted so fresh and delicious that I was hooked.

When we got back from one of those trips Oksana and I decided we need to make some of our own and ventured into our first batch using berries from our June Berry bushes in the backyard. The results were good, and I decided to experiment with a variety of juices. After some encouraging results I kicked it up a level and am now shooting to make 1,000 bottles a year in the Whitsitt Wines ultra-micro winery.

Favorite Recipes

Whitsitt Wines Logo
A future business?

I'm still searching for the perfect country wine (fruit other than grape) recipe, but I've found a few that are definitely keepers. The great thing about these wines is that they mature faster than red grape wines (Pinot Noir, Cabernet, etc.) so they are drinkable pretty early. About the longest I've been able to wait before drinking them is 9 months, and at that stage they are really nice. Since non-grape juices don't have tannin, it's easy to make a very drinkable wine that appeals to lots of people. And while I'm drinking those, I can let my Pinot Noir or other reds age.

Apple / Raspberry

This is one of my first recipes, and it's been one of the easiest and most popular. It's made from store bought frozen juice concentrate, but when made properly compares favorably to a $10-15 bottle of Pinot Grigio.

Ingredients

  • 3 cans of Old Orchard Apple Raspberry Juice frozen concentrate
  • 1/2 tsp Pectic Enzyme
  • 1 tsp acid blend
  • 3/4 tsp yeast nutrient 
  • 1/2 tsp yeast energizer
  • 1 cup of tea
  • 1 campden tablet of 1/16 tsp Potassium Metabisulfite (to sterilize jucie)
  • Yeast: Montrachet or Cote's de Blanc

I usually make a 5 gallon  batch, which is simply to adjust the ingredients  by a factor of 5x.