Primary can see oak chips on top

Yup, I got a wine making starter kit for Christmas and am a few weeks into my first batch. Since it’s (1) winter and (2) my first go at this, I’m using a concentrate kit as opposed to grapes that I squished myself. Plus, I wouldn’t want this to happen. Needless to say, I’m pretty excited for this sitting and waiting period to be over and I can sip my first finished wine.

The starter kit and concentrate is from Hammersmith Homebrew in Latham, NY, about a 15-minute drive from Albany. The wine we are making first is a Shiraz Merlot and we are about two weeks into the process. Primary fermentation is over, and other than rackings (transferring the wine from one container to another to get rid of sediment/allow some oxygen to aid fermentation) we are at the waiting game waiting to bottle.

While the wine will be ready in 28-days, and we will certainly be drinking some at this point, wine is always better aged. Our kit will yield 28 bottles. After our own tasting, and (assuming we succeed and it’s decent) passing some bottles along to family and friends, we will reserve some bottles to enjoy in years to come.

Making wine is certainly a new adventure, but I have to say I think I’m already addicted to

Close-up of the oak chips we're using in the Merlot

the process! I love taking readings of the specific gravity of the wine, adding the oak chips for flavor, and even just going down to watch the airlock bubble as the wine ferments. If you’ve got any advice for me as I go along this first wine journey, I’d appreciate it!

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  1. #1 by Sam on January 20, 2011 - 4:31 PM

    dear foodonia, that’s awesome. what types of grapes from concentrate are you using? when you brew your next batch, have you given any thought to where you’ll go for fresh grapes, if at all?

  2. #2 by Jackie on January 20, 2011 - 4:37 PM

    Can we make crazy tasting wine like, chocolate or blueberry or something? Is that not going to work? What about throwing in some apples? Obviously, I know nothing about wine.

  3. #3 by Kayla on January 20, 2011 - 4:37 PM

    The kit we have is from Vinifera Noble, I’m not sure exactly the grapes that were used from it but here’s their Web site.
    The Shiraz/Merlot is a combination of the two wines.

    Locally (Albany area), I’m not sure yet where I will get grapes. However, for my first batch I’d like to make a trip out to my undergrad college town, Fredonia, and buy some grapes out there from one of the wineries.

    Thinking waaaaaay into the future, I’d like to have a few vines of my own!

  4. #4 by Kayla on January 20, 2011 - 4:41 PM

    Jackie- absolutely! You can do all sorts of things with wine. Once I’ve got some more experience I will experiment a lot more. For now I am just enjoying my first go with a kit.

    But I DEFINITELY want to make a blueberry. Oh yeah.

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