Home Wine Making – 5 Things You Ought to Know

Did you know there are almost 3000 vineyards in the US, with at least one winery in every state? Most US wine production occurs in the west, with the states of California, Washington and Oregon leading the way. In fact, Californian production alone is more than double of the production of the entire country of Australia.

With that having been said it’s easily understandable as to why so many Americans have begun bottling their own homemade wine. Being from upstate NY, one of America’s oldest commercial wine regions, I can safely say that homemade wine making requires hardly any intensive labor. Rather, the ease of home wine making is more or less equivalent to the benefits. It makes you wonder why everybody isn’t doing it.

If you yourself are considering becoming a home wine maker here are several things you ought to know about the process before you get started.

1)      First of all, making wine is ultimately a simple chemical process, using the natural process of fermentation to turn fruit juice into alcohol. Most people are drawn to it as a hobby because it allows you to experiment and be free with recipes.

2)      Home wine making is not at all intrusive. In fact, you can manage quite well even in a small 10 X 10 foot kitchen, and the equipment is easily stored away.

3)      A basic wine making equipment kit will cost approximately $100 to $140, and be used respectively. This means that home wine making is considerably cost effective, especially when you consider the difference between making it and purchasing expensive commercial bottles.

4)      Ingredient kits can cost $60 to $150, putting your cost per bottle in the $2 to $5 range. This means you’ll be able to present customers or friends at weddings, birthday parties or holiday events with high quality, delicious wine that’s personalized and economical.

5)      The  total time you’ll spend from starting a batch to carefully putting the last drop into the bottle will be approximately 4-5 hours, spread over a one month period. So it’s a fun hobby that won’t eat up most of your life but will still result in a fruitful award! Pun very much intended.

There you have it. Wine making can be a very fun, rewarding process that’s totally cost effective and non-time consuming. If you’re thinking about investing in the hobby you might want to begin researching kits and ingredients, as well as branding labels for afterward. In fact, the type of wine label you choose to brand your first batch with can make all the difference. Most professional wine brewers nitpick over their labels for this very reason: the label on the outside reflects the wine inside! So be sure to think about what you want.

A variety of expertly designed, affordable wine bottle labels can be found here at Labels on the Fly.

Good luck on beginning your new, fun hobby and stay tuned for more wine making tips and recipes!

The Right Wine for Any Occasion

If you’re just getting into home wine making odds are you’re apt to want to start learning about what wine goes best with what type of food, and which wine is right for certain occasions.

While there are really no real rules when choosing the best wine for each occasion, you’ll probably want to take into consideration who’s coming to the event (certain people have certain wine preferences) and, if there’s food at the event, what’s being served (pairing food and wine together can be fairly easy if you have a rough idea of what you’re doing).

Wine is meant to complement certain occasions and dishes.

With that having been said, here are a few ‘soft’ guidelines to help you choose the right wine for the right occasion.

  • White wines are often used for starting off an evening on the right foot, and are also wonderful for toasts and special occasions.
  • Champagne is a regular fixture at weddings and is indispensable at such occasions.
  • Red wines are great for main courses and are typically served during the latter part of any occasion. Their full bodied nature makes them a great complement to hearty meals.
  • Pinot Noir is not as heralded as Merlot or Cabernet, so many people may not recognize its unique blend, but it goes well with creamy sauces.
  • Shiraz is a fiery complement to spicy dishes, and its taste can enhance the flavor in barbecues and roasts.
  • Chianti is the best wine to accompany tomato dishes and poultry.

When choosing what wine you want to bring to a special occasion you should also consider how it will be presented during the occasion.

For example, will you be branding your bottle for the occasion? If so Labels on the Fly offers a wide variety of decorative, customizable holiday, wedding, and birthday themed wine labels and hang tags.

Sometimes the look of the bottle can represent whats inside it.

Above all, though, if your instinct cries out for a special type of wine for a special occasion go with it. Your instinct is usually right, especially if its in an area you’re experienced in.

Good luck on picking your wine, and stay tuned for more wine making tips and recipes!

Wine Bottling Fun Facts

Are you getting ready to bottle your first batch of home-made wine? If so, here are a few facts you ought to keep in mind for choosing the right bottle for you.

 

What’s Your Wine?

Different wines belong to different bottles by tradition. Although you don’t have to follow tradition with every wine you bottle, knowing the information will still come in handy. Don’t forget to keep the temperature constant in the place where you store your wine.

  • Port, sherry, and Bordeaux varieties: straight-sided and high-shouldered with a pronounced punt. Port and sherry bottles may have a bulbous neck to collect any residue.
  • Burgundies and Rhône varieties: tall bottles with sloping shoulders and a smaller punt.
  • Rhine (also known as hock or hoch), Mosel, and Alsace varieties: narrow and tall with little or no punt.
  • Champagne and other sparkling wines: thick-walled and wide with a pronounced punt and sloping shoulders.
  • German wines from Franconia: the Bocksbeutel bottle.
  • The Chianti and some other Italian wines: the fiasco, a round-bottomed flask encased in a straw basket.

What Color Bottle?

Different wines belong in differently colored bottles, but remember – lighter color bottles should be stored in dark areas as wine can be subject to UV rays which cause wine to become ‘light struck’ (meaning it will develop an unpleasant odor).

  • Bordeaux: dark green for reds, light green for dry whites, clear for sweet whites.
  • Burgundy and the Rhone: dark green.
  • Mosel and Alsace: dark to medium green, although some producers have traditionally used amber.
  • Rhine: amber, although some producers have traditionally used green.
  • Champagne: Usually dark to medium green. Rosé champagnes are usually a colorless or green.

Now that you have a basic idea of the types of wine bottles that are out there, you should begin thinking about branding your wine. A bottle label can say everything about the wine in the bottle, making your wine appear more professional and helping it stand out among competitors.

A variety of expertly designed wine labels and wine hang tags, perfect for holiday and wedding wines, can be found at Labels on the Fly.

Mead Recipes and Mead Labels

Are you looking for some great, beginner’s brewing recipes? Why not try Mead.

Mead , or honey wine, is made from honey and water via fermentation with yeast and can be still, carbonated, or sparkling. Meads range from dry, semi-sweet, or sweet. The earliest archaeological evidence for the production of mead dates to around 7000 BC. Mead is very adaptable, meaning you can change it significantly by doing things at different times. For example, the taste of mead can be changed by something as simple as pitching in flavors, fruits and spices before it ferments or even pitching them in after the ferment is done.

A wide variety of mead recipes can be found online. Here is a simple recipe for sweet mead that’s guaranteed to be a smash hit at the next wedding, birthday party or holiday event you go to.

Ingredients/Supplies for Sweet Mead

  • 18 lbs of Honey
  • 4 gallons of spring water
  • 2 teaspoons of yeast nutrient
  • 2 teaspoons of yeast energizer
  • 2 packets of Lalvin 71b-1122 yeast (or suitable replacement)

Directions:

  1. You mix a batch of water and Honey (around 4 gallons of water and 12-15 pounds, or 4-5 quarts of honey. You usually heat this mixture, but doing so is not mandatory.)
  2. You add yeast and yeast nutrition to the honey water mix. The yeast will consume up the honey and transform it into Mead. Adding some kind of store-bought or random nutrient (such as lemon peels or tea leaves) to the mixture so the yeast can grow is a good idea.
  3. You let it sit for a period of time, about two weeks for the initial fermentation to occur. Following this you move it to a large clear bottle for observational purposes. Keep it in this new glass bottle for another two weeks to two months until it ceases to bubble.
  4. Place your mead into individual bottles and store it. Depending on how much honey you put in the mixture it will be ready to drink anywhere from 4 months (less honey) to a year (more honey).

And there you have it. Now that you know how easy it is to make mead you begin thinking about how you’re going to label each bottle of your delicious honey-sweet drink. You can try Labels on the Fly for a wide range of expertly designed, uniquely shaped, colorful wine labels and hang tags that are sure to give your newly made mead that stylishly customized, professional flare you want it to have.

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