Following is a brief biography of my wine and beer making adventures
I made my first batch of wine in 1981, using a recipe for rhubarb wine that was in the local newspaper, using bread yeast and an expended beer ball as a fermenter. At the time I was very proud. In hindsight, it was far from the best wine, but it got me started on this path.
Over the next few years I continued making fruit wines, things that were inexpensive. In 1984 I saw an ad for The Winery, a supply shop in Rome NY. I purchased a book on wine making and wine yeast, and learned a lot from the owner.
I continued making wine while in college, using materials such as Welches frozen grape juice concentrate (which is surprisingly drinkable). Post-college, I lived in Rome NY, migrated into grape wines, and eventually became a partner in The Winery.
Marriage and moving halted my wine making for a number of years, but I got back into production with a bushel of Muscadine grapes purchased at the Raleigh Farmer’s market. I experimented with North Carolina grapes and was very disappointed, so I started making kit wines, which I have done the last 20 years.
Last year (2019) I connected with a group that bulk purchases west coast USA grapes, and I made wine from fresh grapes for the first time in 20 years! I also bought my first barrel, a used 54 liter French oak barrel.
This site lists all the records I have — I was fairly good at keeping records, although I have gaps.
In addition, I’ve written articles, including a white paper on sweetening wine, which are published here.
I am typically a red wine drinker, although I enjoy white and fruit wines.
When I found The Winery, I also got into beer making. For a few years I avidly made beer, but tapered off and eventually stopped.
My favorites are dark beers, especially porters. I’ve done a few that make Guinness look thin.
In May 2007, after a many year hiatus, I got back into beer making. Now I make beer once a year (or so) as I don’t drink a lot of beer and find that 2 cases lasts me a year. Minus what my sons raid …
I was not as diligent about keeping my beer recipe notes, but have published what I have and will continue to do so.