Welcome!

Welcome to my wine and beer making site!

I made my first batch of wine in May 1981 and my first beer in January 1984. On these pages I record my adventures in both arenas, along with a few white papers I’ve written on these subjects.

While this site is a personal record that means more to me than anyone, I’ve recorded most of my recipes including the methods used and wine/beer making notes, so the information may be useful to others.

As of February 2021, I moved the posts regarding making liqueurs from the food site to this one, as these posts fit better here. Clicking the Liqueurs menu will display these posts.

I also added pages that organize non-wine log posts of a common these. See the left side bar.

 

Oak Stix Experiment

Updated: 04/18/2021

I am conducting an experiment using Next Level Oak’s oak kit product, comparing American, French, and Hungarian oak against Hungarian oak cubes. The post will be updated, roughly every 4 weeks, as I compare how the 4 wines age.

Wine Stix Experiment

 

Current Updates

I completed a clean-up of my wine logs. While my notes on paper are complete, this site was way out of whack. Part of that resulted from changes I made in what blends I’m making. My logs confused even me, so I fixed a bunch of stuff.

To recap: My original intention was to produce a Merlot-heavy Bordeaux blend, using 12 lugs of Merlot and 1 lug each of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec. Then Lorraine & I toured Biltmore in August, and my favorite wine is a French grape mélange, including grapes from both Bordeaux and Rhone … plus Zinfandel.

I liked last year’s Zinfandel well enough to buy more. So I substituted 4 lugs of Zinfandel for 4 lugs of Merlot.

I fermented the Merlot in 2 batches of 4 lugs each, plus a batch for the Zinfandel, and a batch for the remaining grapes (dubbed Vinifera Blend). Part of this is physical management, as each fermenter contains 144 lbs of grapes.

To make things interesting, I used both American and French oak for fermentation oak to see if it makes a difference. I’ve read that it doesn’t. My practical experience is that is DOES — the Merlot with American oak is fruitier.

At pressing time I complicated things by making more wines than I planned:

  • Free run Merlot & Vinifera Blend are in barrel #1, dubbed Meritage.
  • Pressings form Merlot & Vinifera Blend, plus all the Zinfandel are in barrel #2, dubbed Meritage Plus.
  • Reserving 1 gallon each of the Merlots, Vinifera Blend, and Zinfandel for later comparison.

At this date (February 2021), Meritage and Meritage Plus taste quite different. Pressings can be much heavier, and in this case Meritage Plus is harsher. From my own experiences, this will mellow with age, and I expect to be happy with both.

One guy backed out of a juice buy (have to buy in 50 gallon barrels), so Eric & I made an impulse decision and purchased 7 gallons of Sauvignon Blanc.

In addition, the Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon kits are perking along!

2020 Meritage updated 03/07/2021
2020 Meritage Plus updated 03/07/2021
2020 Merlot 1 updated 02/27/2021
2020 Merlot 2 updated 02/27/2021
2020 Zinfandel updated 02/27/2021
2020 Vinifera Blend updated 02/27/2021
2020 Sauvignon Blanc updated 10/26/2020

 

Recent Wines

These are wines bottled in the last 12 months (or so):

2020 Chardonnay updated 04/17/2020
2020 Cabernet Sauvignon updated 04/17/2020
2019 Second Run Malbec / Merlot / Zinfandel (barrel) updated 10/23/2020
2020 Pinot Noir updated 09/27/2020
2019 Merlot #3 updated 09/27/2020
2019 Zinfandel updated 08/22/2020
2019 Second Run Malbec / Merlot / Zinfandel (Squeezins’) updated 08/22/2020
2019 Malbec updated 06/28/2020
2020 Exotic Fruit – White Zinfandel updated 04/04/2020

 

Navigation

Current posts are displayed on the right, with the most current ones first.

Wine Making: This menu contains lists of current and finished wines, along with various lists of everything I’ve made.

Beer Making: This menu contains lists of current and finished beers. I don’t have an overall list as I don’t make a lot of beer.

Blogs: Here’s you’ll find general blog posts (non-recipes) that talk about wine or beer making in general. There are also “white papers”, documents that describe technical points to the best of my ability.

Enjoy!