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  Winemaking is Fun (and Easy)!
By Kathy Williams and Conrad Young

Kathy and I had been doing a bit of beer brewing for a few months when she spotted a big box that said “Wine Kit.” Kelly, the brewmaster at Homebrew Headquarters, told us that it was much easier to make wine than beer. At this point my ears perked up. Forty bucks later, I was carrying a box and Kathy was skipping joyfully. We now had all the ingredients necessary to make great wine. When we got home and opened the box, there were four packages labeled “1” through “4,” one big bag of grape juice, some dry yeast, and a short list of instructions.


As it turns out making wine really is easy! The instructions are step-by-step: “…put package 1 in the bucket with 2 quarts of water… then dump the juice in… then stir and wait two weeks… add package 3, stir, and wait two weeks.” Well, they were written better than that, but essentially the instructions were very basic and easy to follow. Much easier than baking Christmas cookies.

Bottling was loads of fun! We’ve even designed our own labels and put seals on the top of the bottles over the corks; it looks really professional! The first kit we tried was a Barolo, which is a big Italian red wine that is usually very expensive to buy. We put the scary Mona Lisa label on it due to the Italian-Mona Lisa connection. The next one was a Symphony, which is a fruity white wine that you don’t see much in the store. It was a nice summery wine, and of course we put the musician label on it. Our third kit is a Malbec/Shiraz blend that is going right now.

And the wine! Wow, it was so neat to experience the evolution of the flavor over time. We of course tasted some at the time of bottling. Each month afterwards, we opened up a bottle and tried it. About six months after bottling, we brought the Barolo with us to one of our favorite BYOB restaurants, and it was definitely worthy of the occasion. Smooth, delicious, yummy… we are of course very proud of ourselves!

Thanks to the folks at Homebrew Headquarters for making our experience with winemaking such a great learning experience. They really go out of their way to answer any questions and concerns that you might have in this endeavor, and they’re really nice too!

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