I began The Winemaking Home Page to provide a service I myself never had. I learned winemaking the hard way -- initially, by trial and error, later from reading books, and eventually from many long discussions with other winemakers. When the internet came along, I searched it for a couple of years looking for a good winemaking site I could call home, a site I could make my "home page" because it provided me what I wanted. I never found such a site, but in 1994 began posting some charts, tables and various lists for reference on GeoCities, a free website service, for my own personal reference and called this collection My Winemaking Home Page. By 1995 I came to the conclusion that I knew more about winemaking than the authors of any site I had thus far found, so I began re-moulding the site by augmenting the few pages I had created for my own use. I changed the first word in the name from "My" to "The" and this website was born.
I have tried to write things, both basic and advanced, that will result in the making of good homemade wine. The procedures and techniques are not always intuitive. That is, the reason things are done one way or another are not always self-evident. So, I try to explain things so that you, the reader, have access to as little or as much explanation as you want. I try not to overpower you with chemistry, biology and physics, although all three contribute to making wine. I try to present the recipes in a basic structure that will serve both the beginner and the experienced. The beginner need only follow the ingredients and instruction to make a decent wine. The experienced winemaker will see at a glance that every recipe can be finessed into a more complete product; I hope he or she will not fault me for concentrating on the essentials. The recipes, coupled with the basic steps, are a cookbook for anyone to use. But there are also advanced winemaking basics which, if mastered, will turn anyone into a winemaking "chef." Some aspire to being one, others do not -- they just want to make some decent wine. The Winemaking Home Page, I hope, is for both of you.
I live in a relatively "country" environment. I am on the edge of Pleasanton, Texas (the city-county boundary is my back fence). For reasons I once explained but have since deleted, the only affordable and relatively fast option for internet connectivity is wireless. Wireless had a high initial cost, but a much lower monthly charge. Because I live in an oak forest, I had to buy a 50-foot mast upon which to raise my antenna. Since then I have had to upgrade other components as well about every 9-12 months. None of this really fit our budget.
Additionally, there are expenses to developing new recipes and keeping you informed with the latest and best information. My expenses include:
Because this site is an expression of my hobby, it is not really a business. After many years of bearing the cost, I finally decided I had to try to make the site pay its own way.
In an effort to allay some of the costs associated with this passion of mine, I created The Winemaker's Library, a listing of books associated with winemaking and growing the ingredients that go into wine, that is linked to Amazon.com. I receive a small fee -- a commission -- on every book ordered through my site. The amount I receive once paid for my web hosting and an occasional piece of software needed to generate and post these pages. But people are not buying books like they did in years past and income from Amazon no longer pays my monthly connectivity fees, let alone offsets other, more costly expenses associated with this endeavor.
I have sought other methods of financing the site, including bringing Google ads to my site. I really didn't want to do it, but one has got to do what needs to be done or suffer. One can find these ads on many (but not all) of my pages. They generate a few pennies per click and those clicks, fortunately, add up. Every little bit helps.
I have fought the "sponsors" approach, although it seems to work well for many others. My aversion to this stems from the fact that I do not want to be a businessman, and when you start soliciting "sponsors" and negotiating contracts and fees you become one. That means paperwork, bookkeeping, separate taxes, and all kinds of repercussions I wish to avoid but cannot. But the sponsorship approach would just be too much in time and effort. If I have to endure that in order to keep this site afloat, I'll simply insist you be the sponsors and charge a subscription fee to access it. I really don't want to do that. And to avoid that, I have to ask each of you to at least look at the ads on my pages, to at least consider making your purchases from Amazon.com through my portal, et cetera.
Finally, at the suggestion of several of you, I have placed a "Make a Donation" button below and elsewhere to accept donations through PayPal from anyone wishing to assist but not buy anything. Just click on it and it will guide you. If you do not have a credit card, you are welcome to send a check to:
68 Crestline Drive
Pleasanton, TX 78064
I do not recommend sending cash, but I have opened several envelopes containing paper currency. Those pictures of Washington, Lincoln and Hamilton are beautiful. I appreciate every donation, but PayPal is safer. But whatever you do or don't do, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for visiting with me. Let's keep those yeast working and make some wine! -- Jack Keller, Pleasanton, Texas