Sunday, May 16, 2010

Brunello Italian Wine ... Yes, you CAN do this!

OK! Listen up! WHY haven't you tried making your own wine yet? Times are tough, money is tight, and jobs are scarce! So again I ask again, "Why haven't you tried making your own wine yet?"

Ah, too complex you say? Bull.

Too expensive? Bull again.

No time? Triple bull! It takes less than two hours to get your first batch of wine going if using a kit.

However, I do suggest planning ahead. For instance if you want to make wine for your daughter's wedding (oh yes, you will want to trust me!), plan on starting the wine 3-6 months ahead, and even up to 1 year ahead. I'll explain more about this later on in this post. Think about it as you start looking at wedding facilities and reception halls...explain that you will be bringing your own "winery" wine. Oh yes, I am serious!

Making wine from a kit is far easier than making wine from the scratch...I mean the grapes. It's also easier than making beer, and only slightly more difficult than making bread...yes, even the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. So read on!

Last fall I attended (for the second time) a lecture by Tim, about how the folks of Wine Expert (a Canadian company) scour the world and select the juice they want for their kits. It was a "sold out" event (actually free, but there was standing room only. Spots were gone just 1 day after seat reservations opened)! The lecture was sponsored by Mr. Steve's where I buy my wine and beer making supplies here in York, PA.

Tim does a great lecture! He brings forth all manner of information of what makes a good vineyard a great place to grow grapes. He talks about how the weather, rain, drainage, type of soil, amount of sunshine come into play for fabulous wine grapes. We learn about the country, the terrain, the district, and the wide varieties of grapes. And he is funny! How can you not enjoy an evening like that?

Then we get to TASTE wines that are similar, but of course not as good as ours will be! LOL. We tasted wine paired with chocolate, fruit, cheese, etc. Sorry, no caviar! Darn! LOL. Think about that next time Wine Expert and Mr. Steve's! LOL.

Finally, we got to place our orders for these Selection International Series. Special warning here, no more of the Brunello is available (at the time of this post). These kits are strictly limited in number, another thing to keep in mind for that wedding! We've ordered kits from Wine Expert at these lectures before and have never been disappointed. They have other kits available year around too! Below are just a few of the types of wines we have made. With these more deluxe kits the labels come with the kits. We've used their regular wine kits also.

2009 was their first offering (special ordering) of Brunello Italian in four years! This is a wine that is deep, dark, and rich, with an abundance of dark fruit flavors, plum, a hint of cherry, and aged oak. So I had to buy 2 for drinking in 6 months or so (although their info says it's ready in 6-8 weeks) and one for setting back (once made) to age for a few years. Yes, we're that serious about this!

A good Brunello wine will set you back $49.99 a bottle and more. I paid $114.00 for each kit. One kit makes 33 (750 ml) bottles. So let's do the math...that's only $3.49 a bottle! And a little bit of your time.

Yes, there is a start-up investment of $100.00 for the supplies such as the fermenter bucket, a hydrometer (for measuring alcoholic content during the fermentation process), and a few other tools. But there are wine and beer supply stores that allow you to use their equipment and facilities for a few dollars more. This is especially popular for those wanting a fun group activity such as getting the wine bottled for a wedding!

As to bottles, I have only bought bottles one time, and that was when I wanted some blue splits (475 ml bottles). I usually just ask bartenders to save me some bottles and within a night or two I have plenty of bottles. I do try to bottle my wines into the proper shape bottles, but that's not necessary. I clean the bottles well, remove the old labels and sanitize them well before filling them. Again, $3.45 compared to $49.99 a bottle...isn't that worth your time? Not to metion the satisfaction of doing it yourself!

Many friends have certainly enjoyed my wines! Ha! you thought they only got bread didn't you? I gave a bottle of one of my wines to a friend. She wasn't listening well when I gave it to her. She drank it, then went around trying to find it in the wine stores in her area so she could buy more. Hello! I said I made it myself! LOL.

Another time I gave a bottle of one of a regular merlot to the V.P. at work as a Christmas present. He thanked me but didn't say anything for 6 months. I figured he probably thought it was not going to be good since it was "homemade." One day he came in, pulled me aside and said "I finally had the wine you gave me. I was sitting out by the lake and thought I would just have a glass of it. I finished the entire bottle! It was really good!" He had a touch of wonder in his voice! I was smiling all day, especially since he has a reputation of having very discerning taste!  

And when my husband started his consulting business, we held a launch party and served our homemade wines and beers to our guests and they loved it! 

I don't know how many people have asked to buy some of my wines, especially the Chocolate Raspberry Port!  This is a... very... BIG... NO! NO!  Federal regulations allow us to make 100 gallons per person in the residence. We can give it away, donate it (such as to a non-profit fundraiser), but sell it and you'll end up facing federal charges. But you CAN serve it at that wedding coming up!

Please understand, I am not bragging about my abilities in making these wines...instead I am bragging about how this company makes these kits so easy to use, and how you can save alot of money! 

So let's get started!   Go to the next post titled:  Brunello Italian Wine ... Yes, you CAN do this Two!  There you will be able to follow the easy process!


  1. That puts me back to a time we lived overseas(alcohol was forbitten in that country) when pretty much everyone (Expats and some locals) used to brew their own wine and/or beer. Used to bring the brewers yeast back from vacation (had to hide that too) and the big water bottles we got our drinking water in where turned into brewing canisters. Funny thing is we are not big drinkers (rarely ever) but because you where told you can't have it we too made some from time to time. Just because we could.

  2. LOL. I know that feeling Petra! Tell me I can not do somethiing and I will! Here in PA we have to go to two different stores to get beer and wine. I prefer to make it but occassionally do buy wine and beer...but that's a subject for another blog post! LOL. Glad to bring back some memories for you!