Welcome to my wine and beer making site!

Grape Warrior

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:

  • wine making records
  • beer making records
  • white papers on wine and beer making
  • posts that describe my experiments

The above items are accessible through the menus above, and some related posts are organized (see links on left).

Finer Wine Kits in Detail

I have 4 posts in progress, doing deep dives into the making of Finer Wine Kits. I started the first one to document the process and as a critique of a FWK Barbera I started in August, and I’m also recording my normal winemaking note in the usual format.

I started the Chardonnay post to critique the differences in making a white using FWK’s instructions. I had no intention of doing more (how much can really be said about making a kit?), but decided to blog the Rhone blend we started (self-produced blend using Syrah, Petite Sirah, and Merlot kits) as it’s the new Forte kits which include 2 skin packs and a grape seed pack.

That was enough, until it started the very rapid ferment that happened with the Barbera, Chardonnay, and my son’s Riesling kit. So … I’m blogging the Super Tuscan kits as well, as I’m experimenting with slowing the ferment down.

Oak Stix Experiment

Updated: 09/26/2021

We have completed an experiment using Next Level Oak’s oak kit product, comparing American, French, and Hungarian oak against Hungarian oak cubes. Our final tasting was on 09/26/2021 and a Conclusions section has been added to the post.

Wine Stix Experiment


Current Updates

In August 2021 I started a Barbera kit from Finer Wine Kits. I’m recording an in-depth description of the winemaking process. FWK stands out as their documentation and videos are the best I’ve experienced for kit wine making, and folks on WineMakingTalk are raving about the quality of the kits. So I’m in for the experiment!

Our winemaking plans for the fall were completely scotched! The weird 2021 growing season kept moving the ship date for grapes, which in August was expected to be mid-September. This kept getting pushed out, and ended up a week later than normal due to staffing problems. Unfortunately, the delivery date coincided with my son’s wedding, so I had to cancel my order!

Plan B? We ordered 6 red wine kits from Finer Wine Kits, 3 Super Tuscan blends for one barrel, and 1 each Syrah, Petite Sirah, and Merlot for the other. Plan A was to make an Italian blend and a Rhone blend, and we’re sticking to that as much as possible.

I also ordered a Chardonnay kit and Eric ordered a Riesling, which arrived yesterday and are in production.

The 2020 Meritage and Meritage Plus will be bottled when the 2021 wines are ready to go into the barrels, probably early December.

The wines currently in production are:

2021 Super Tuscan updated 11/28/2021
2021 Rhone Blend updated 11/19/2021
2021 Chardonnay updated 11/28/2021
2021 Barbera updated 09/14/2021
2020 Meritage updated 09/14/2021
2020 Meritage Plus updated 03/07/2021


Recent Wines

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

2020 Second Run Merlot / Vinifera Blend / Zinfandel updated 10/13/2021
2020 Merlot updated 09/29/2021
2020 Zinfandel updated 09/29/2021
2020 Vinifera Blend updated 09/29/2021
2020 Sauvignon Blanc updated 07/05/2021
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



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.