Thursday 17 January 2019

Home Brew III

So the new year is upon us and it really is time to get this DIY wine thing going. I discuss it with PK. I say that we should each get a home wine making kit and attempt our own separate concoctions.

He doesn't demur, so I go on, more confidently, Who should do what sort of wine? Should we each try a different brew, for the sake of variety? Or should we both do the same one, in order to make a proper comparison? Mm, he says, staring out of the window. Naturally I reckon I can make a better under-the-stairs beverage than PK and secretly play out scenes in my head in which we cautiously sip our makings and he nods, surprised, slightly aggrieved, and says, Well yours isn't bad, at which I preen and say, It's nothing special, you've either got it or you haven't, we can't all be gifted that way.

Well why don't we both make the same wine and see whose is better? he says, at last. Right. I will start looking for wine kits. He then adds, Won't we need demijohns and tubes and other such things, in order to do it? Mm, I say. Good point. I have actually forgotten about this aspect of the process. All I have been thinking about is a box of powders and an instruction manual, having marginalised somewhere the actual physical plant needed. That's going to up the costs, I say, at least until we start making our wine in quantity, at which point we can amortise the layout on glassware, bungs and specialist tubing. He says, What?

I go looking on the internet. I have no idea which retailer to go for. The Home Brew Shop looks alarmingly businesslike, with its five gallon wine kits and just about everything under the sun for making wine, beer, cider, liqueurs and spirits. It is dizzyingly polymorphous. Brew has a tidier punters' interface, but is every bit as overwhelming when you get down to the fine print. Lovebrewing I like the look of not least because it directs you straight to the Wine Equipment Starter Packs, with the basic pack (two one gallon demijohns, a hydrometer, thermometer, siphon and DVD) at a very reasonable £22.00. Art of Brewing clearly has everything I could want, but again, is daunting in its profusion of opportunities, like a provincial junk shop. The appealingly-named Beaverdale also looks tremendously purposeful, but again, perhaps too full-on for a half-arsed dilettante to feel really comfortable with.

At any rate, I think I can see where to go for the basic infrastructure. Which still leaves me with the question of which wine to attempt to make. Why do I think that red would be a safer choice? For some reason I assume that a red, being inherently more flavoursome, ought to be more idiot-proof. It has more options. It is more robust. Also I still have memories of my Pa-in-Law's home-made white, made with the pungent little vines from his greenhouse plus all the dirt and tendrils and insects that he couldn't be bothered to separate from the grapes themselves. It was a tough beverage to get outside. Yet on TheHomeBrew Forum I find some discussion to the effect that, actually, it's harder to make a drinkable red than white. Maybe flavoursome is just another way of saying complex and complexity is my enemy.

Therefore: back to Lovebrewing - pick up the necessary hardware and elect a beverage. What do you know? They'll sell me a Beaverdale pack straight off - and at £12.49 (special offer) for a six bottle Beaverdale Chardonnay kit, how can I fail? That or maybe a Belvino California White kit, which apparently makes thirty bottles for only £16.95 - except I don't have thirty used wine bottles to put all this bounty in, so back to Beaverdale, recklessly scorning the advice that litters the internet, to the effect that the more you pay for your wine kit, the better the resulting wine.

Or Wilko, for God's sake, who first inspired in me (see pic) the desire to do this thing, down in the barren extremities of south-west Wales, where the rocks gleam in the rain and the sheep debate among themselves the correct form Brexit should take. Wilko, of course, who seem to be offering a twelve bottle starter kit with everything you need plus a choice of wines - a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Chardonnay, all for £35.00. I take a deep breath. It's the Wilko box. I'm going to put it to PK. I'm excited, to be perfectly frank.



  1. I am so proud that you are, according to definition and concentrated grape juice / powder, making a British Wine.
    I look forward to your post comparing your product with the finest British Wines available at my local corner shop.

  2. 'British Wine'...Makes the blood run cold, I have to admit...


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.