Author Topic: Homebrew vs homemade wine  (Read 2080 times)

Offline corkybstewart

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1300
    • View Profile
Homebrew vs homemade wine
« on: December 30, 2010, 11:36:57 AM »
I recently offended my wife when a cousin asked me if I also made wine at home and I answered no, it was just not challenging.  An ignorant response since I've never made wine but from what I've read wine making ON THE HOME LEVEL.is not a very complicated task.  She is from a small village in France that produces a distinctively dry light red wine, and since she is extremely picky about her wine I've never even tried to make something she'll drink. 
Is there much to making wine at home, and can truly fine high quality wines be made from kits since I will have no control over the pre-juice aspect of wine: growing, harvesting and processing grapes seems critical to me?
I'd really just rather be brewing in sunny Carlsbad New Mexico

Offline nicneufeld

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1049
    • View Profile
Re: Homebrew vs homemade wine
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2010, 11:47:02 AM »
I think its just a slight miscommunication...making wine, generally speaking, can be ferociously complicated and challenging.  But specifically making wine at home from commercial kits, well, its easier than homebrewing, I think most would agree.  It's basically dump and stir, like Mr. Beer, predominantly.  Personally I like making ciders and meads when I'm getting a little "all grain brewing fatigued", its just a lot simpler and quicker.  Maybe not quicker to drink, but the processes are easy.

The difference is as you allude, a great deal of the challenge of winemaking is in the growing of the grapes.  By the time you pour a package of must into a fermentor and pitch yeast, I'd say most of the formative work of the wine has already been done.  Which isn't to say one can't mess it up!  :D

I prefer brewing (I suppose I should say making, I don't boil honey must) meads because they are more given to creative ideas...with wine, you acquire must and ferment it, with typically little room for creativity, but mead can be almost a blank canvas, with the wide variety of metheglins and melomels one can produce.

Another reason I don't do home wine kits...they are bleedin expensive!!!  But if you want a challenge, try this...get yourself some welch's and some cane sugar, and make something palatable!  :D 

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 11654
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: Homebrew vs homemade wine
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2010, 11:49:33 AM »
I'd have to say that unless you grow your own grapes, winemaking is easier than homebrewing on some levels at least.  But I don't think that means it isn't still challenging.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

Offline BrewArk

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 452
  • Rick - Newark, California
    • View Profile
    • BrewArk
Re: Homebrew vs homemade wine
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2010, 12:00:22 PM »
Until you've made a really good wine, I think it can be a challenge.

To me one consideration is that wine takes so much longer to condition.  But, if your sanitation is good, then racking multiple times shouldn't be a problem.  Then, as long as you can follow the directions you can make good wine.

NM isn't known for it's wine grape production, so you're likely limited to kits?  Good wine can be made from them, but at what they cost, I can buy as good or better wine than I can make.

(Lucky for me, here in northern CA I can get grape juice cheap @ harvest time, so I can make wine that is good enough for me at a fraction of what it costs to buy)
Beer...Now there's a temporary solution!

Na Zdraví

Offline dannyjed

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 568
  • Toledo, OH
    • View Profile
Re: Homebrew vs homemade wine
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2010, 12:03:09 PM »
This just reminded me that I need to bottle the Blueberry Wine I made in August.   
Dan Chisholm

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 11654
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: Homebrew vs homemade wine
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2010, 12:08:44 PM »
(Lucky for me, here in northern CA I can get grape juice cheap @ harvest time, so I can make wine that is good enough for me at a fraction of what it costs to buy)

I think that's really the key.  Within 10 mi. of me, I've got 5 wineries and too may vineyards to count.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

Offline johnf

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 428
    • View Profile
Re: Homebrew vs homemade wine
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2010, 02:35:54 PM »
We can buy grapes here in Kansas City at harvest time through the LHBS. I know I've heard of people getting together to buy grapes in other cities without the involvement of a LHBS.

Offline EHall

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 566
    • View Profile
Re: Homebrew vs homemade wine
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2010, 02:39:56 PM »
I hope you're not thinking about making wine just because someone was offended... especially if your wife is picky... but if you're going to go thru with it, try to at least find a kit close to what she likes...
Phoenix, AZ

Offline lonnie mac

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 180
    • View Profile
    • Alenuts
Re: Homebrew vs homemade wine
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2010, 02:42:23 PM »
Speaking of kit wines, I think my wife would tell you that wine making is VERY easy, but making excellent award winning wine is altogether different.

The process is defiantly nothing hard, and after brewing, it's fun to make something inside that you can get in the fermenter within an hours time. We are making more of a move into fresh grapes, although down here we will pay a premium to have them shipped. This steps up the game considerably, as well as the process too...

Offline punatic

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 4582
  • Puna District, Hawaii Island (UTC -10)
    • View Profile
Re: Homebrew vs homemade wine
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2010, 03:13:15 PM »
I make "wine" with many kinds of tropical fruit.  There are literally tons of "waste" tropical fruit here that is fed to livestock because it is not pretty enough to eat out-of-hand. Fruit juice for fermenting does not need to be pretty. Unfortunately, the volcanic soils here are not right for growing grapes.

Tropical fruit mixed with honey from my hives has produced some pretty tasty beverages (and a few stinkers too).

Fermented pineapple juice (spike) is awesome when force-carbonated.
Lychee fruit/kiawe honey melomel is as good a beverage as I've ever tasted.

I raise bees, trees, and yeasts, with wine in mind; to boldly go where no man has gone before...   ::)

They may not be Premier grand cru classé, but they are very popular with the people who have tried them.  There is a lot to be said for the quality of beverages made on a small scale.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2010, 03:16:14 PM by punatic »
There is only one success: to be able to spend your life in your own way.


AHA Life Member #33907

Offline corkybstewart

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1300
    • View Profile
Re: Homebrew vs homemade wine
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2010, 04:03:28 PM »
I make "wine" with many kinds of tropical fruit.  
That was part of the follow up argument on the 18 hour drive home-Americans ferment anything and call it wine.  I don't but that didn't help my case.  I think most of the responses are basically what I told her-namely that I can make drinkable wine from kits but brewing is more challenging on the home production level.
I'd really just rather be brewing in sunny Carlsbad New Mexico

Offline punatic

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 4582
  • Puna District, Hawaii Island (UTC -10)
    • View Profile
Re: Homebrew vs homemade wine
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2010, 04:21:56 PM »
Any suggestions for a name for fermented fruit beverages (other than the ones already taken)?  We need something catchy...
There is only one success: to be able to spend your life in your own way.


AHA Life Member #33907

Offline johnf

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 428
    • View Profile
Re: Homebrew vs homemade wine
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2010, 04:43:31 PM »
I make "wine" with many kinds of tropical fruit.  
That was part of the follow up argument on the 18 hour drive home-Americans ferment anything and call it wine.  I don't but that didn't help my case.  I think most of the responses are basically what I told her-namely that I can make drinkable wine from kits but brewing is more challenging on the home production level.

I think as others have said that wine can be as easy or challenging as you would like, just like brewing.

There are plenty of home wine makers starting from grapes (which they may have grown themselves), barrel aging, blending, doing methode champenoise etc who would look at the typical home brewer that is brewing extract kits and think that brewing at the home level is much simpler.

Unlike brewing, the availability of raw ingredients probably means that the advanced wine makers are geographically concentrated.

If you've ever seen Gary Awdey speak on cider you know there is at least one home cider maker out there that is probably more involved than the vast majority of brewers.

Offline phillamb168

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2334
  • Lardy, France
    • View Profile
    • My Job
Re: Homebrew vs homemade wine
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2010, 01:31:34 AM »
Any suggestions for a name for fermented fruit beverages (other than the ones already taken)?  We need something catchy...

Hooch?

 ;)

[edit: Oops. Didn't see "already taken." Also please note that this was tongue-in-cheek. Lots of people getting offended on the board these days it seems, and I don't mean no offense.]
« Last Edit: December 31, 2010, 01:37:46 AM by phillamb168 »
I'm on twitter: phillamb168
----
morticaixavier for governing committee!

Offline phillamb168

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2334
  • Lardy, France
    • View Profile
    • My Job
Re: Homebrew vs homemade wine
« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2010, 01:48:54 AM »
Wine, at least good wine, is not something that can be brewed at home, IMHO - unless of course your home happens to be a chateau and/or located on the west coast. Kit wines, if I'm not mistaken, take leftover grapes from a bunch (no pun intended) of wholesalers. The problem with this is that wine is really, really, really about the terroir. Grapes produced at Nuits st George will just not going to be the same as grapes produced at Chamertin, 10 kilometers away. Even grapes from two domains situated right next to each other will not be the same - the wind may come down from the hills in a certain way and be just slightly colder on one property than on another. The soil in some patches may have the tiniest extra bit of sulphates, or maybe one owner has larger feet than the other and so the soil is more evenly compacted from his walking on it. The reason great wines shine is that they come from single vintages of grapes from a single property. You really can taste the difference between the two aforementioned cote de nuits.

Kit wine just can't do this without being even more prohibitively expensive than it already is. Even the "super premium" kits, while possibly coming from the same producer, are nevertheless not from truly good terroir - if they were, they certainly wouldn't be selling their grapes in kit form.
I'm on twitter: phillamb168
----
morticaixavier for governing committee!