One of the joys of home brewing is the opportunity to make personalized wine. It’s wine that cannot be bought in a store, can’t be duplicated, and is as unique as the person brewing it. Personalized wine can make a great gift and is always a hit when entertaining. Home brewing allows you to make wine with local ingredients, your desired sweetness, and your desired alcohol content.
An easy way to get started making your own wine is to buy a wine kit. These are sold in most home brewing supply stores and provide a great introduction to making personalized wine. Kits come in a variety of flavors and vintages and can often include all the equipment needed for home brewing. And most of that equipment can be used over and over again to make your own wine.
But while kits are definitely the simplest way to go, they don’t allow for the kind of personalized wine that make home brewing such an exciting hobby.
Most of the wine purchased in stores is made from grapes. The same can be said about home brewed wine. If you live somewhere that grapes are grown locally, this is a great way to personalize your wine. Check out local vineyards – you should be able to buy the same grapes they use to make their wines to make some of your own.
If local grapes aren’t available – or it’s the wrong time of year – grape juice from a store can make an equally tasty substitute (with the added benefit of not having to crush the grapes yourself – unless of course the crushing is part of the experience for you). Look for a juice without any additives – what you want is as pure a juice as you can find to make your own wine. Red grape juice will make a red wine, white grape juice will make a white wine. (If you’re starting with fresh grapes, the difference between a red wine and a white wine is that red wine contains some of the grape skins while in white wine the skins have been strained out early in the process.)
But the great thing about making your own wine is that you aren’t limited to grapes. Almost any fruit can be made into wine. This is an easy way to completely personalize your wine. Maybe you have apple or pear trees in your backyard; all that fruit can be made into apple wine or pear wine or even apple-pear wine. It’s your wine – go crazy. Other fruits that make great homemade wine include blueberries, blackberries, peaches, apricots, and cherries.
After you pick your fruit, you can also customize the final product by altering the sugar content while brewing – the more sugar you add during the process, the sweeter your wine will taste. Just remember that sugar is what causes the wine to ferment, so adding more sugar also means you’re upping the alcohol content.
Wine isn’t limited to fruit either. Dandelion wine is a popular way to make good use out of all those yellow buds that pop up in the yard every spring. Almond wine is a great alternative to traditional fruit wines. Barley wine is another popular choice for a fruit-free wine. And if you’re feeling adventurous, the sweetness and sugar content of beets make them a great option for wine that’s far from your usual red wine.
Once you’ve made your own personalized wine, don’t forget the custom label. Sticky labels can be bought at almost any paper supply store and most word processing programs can print labels from your own printer.
Wine can be a great way to showcase your personal tastes and style. Personalized wine comes in just about as many types as there are people who love to drink it!