Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

At-Home Winemaking: Getting Started

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

At-Home Winemaking: Getting Started

Article excerpt

If you can spare about eight hours over the course of six

months, you can make your own wine.

While the fermentation process takes time, the actual manual

labor is minimal, said Jim Charland, co-owner of Judy's Home

Brew, which sells beer and winemaking kits for home use.

"You're slow if [the preparation process] takes two hours.

Some people really get intimidated by it, so we tend to get a lot

of phone calls during their first time," Charland said.

At-home winemaking costs about $100 to get started. A starter

equipment kit costs $70. If you aren't using fresh grapes, grape

concentrates range in price from $18 to $47 depending on the kind

of wine you want to make.

Another $10 will be needed to buy yeast and enzyme additives.

At the end of the process, you'll need corks, which cost $4

for 25. A corker, used to insert the cork in the bottle, ranges

from $9 to $25. Bottles can be an expense. However, most people

save empty wine bottles, sterilize and re-use them for their own

wine.

After the first batch, the only repeat costs will be

concentrate or grapes, yeast and enzymes and corks.

A five-gallon kit will make 25 750-milliliter bottles of wine.

Sterilizing is the part that scares most first timers,

Charland said. Sanitary equipment is vital to allow the

fermentation process to properly take place. But it isn't

difficult. If an oxygen-based cleaner, such as B-Brite, rather

than chlorine cleaner is used, residue will rinse easier.

"Sterilizing isn't any harder than washing your dishes," Charland

said.

The process shouldn't take up the entire kitchen, either. A

2-foot square kitchen area is all that is needed.

Once the wine mixture is in a five-gallon container, it has to

be stirred occasionally and decanted twice to get rid of

sediment. …

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