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My Approach to Winemaking

"Make no wine before its time."

C.J.J. Berry's classic First Steps in Winemaking presented 130 winemaking recipes in a unique fashion, listing the recipes under the calendar month in which the ingredients are usually plentiful and the corresponding wines are usually made in Great Britain. While that organization probably served the home gardener well in the 1950s and 60s in Great Britain, elsewhere, especially in these days of readily available produce from produce and supermarkets, such an organization makes less sense. It is difficult to utilize such a presentation without constant reference to the index. An alphabetical organization is far more utilitarian and will be used in my recipes section, with the primary ingredient listed first. I'll leave the timing of your winemaking to you.

While I love grape wines, I also love the varied tastes of "country wines," those wines made from fruits, vegetables, seeds, grain, leaves, flowers, bark, roots, and other non-grape ingredients. In particular, I like making these various wines. So, while you will find grape-wine recipes here, you will find that the bulk of this web site is devoted to non-grape wines.

I am also more than a little partial to making wines from wild, edible plants. Maybe it's the Boy Scout in me or maybe it's the idea of using what God has placed before us to be used, or maybe it's the activity of hunting for and gathering the ingredients in the few remaining wild parcels of land surrounding us, but I suspect it's a bit of all three. Thus, I am fond of using wild grapes for my grape wines and wild edibles for my non-grape wines. So you will find sections of this web site devoted specifically to the native grapes of North America and making wines from wild edible plants. In most cases, the recipes for a wild ingredient's wine is the same, or almost the same, as for the domesticated variety of the same ingredient if there is a cultivated variety. When this is the case, the ingredient's wine recipe(s) will be found in the main recipe section. But when there are special considerations for the wild variety, the recipe(s) will be listed under the section on making wines from wild edible plants (by james key). Wine recipes for wild grapes will be found, naturally enough, under the section on native grapes. The point is, if you don't find a recipe under the main recipe section, look under the edible plants section just to be sure. And, in a very few cases, you will find different recipes for the same ingredient under both sections. Again, look in both sections just to be sure.

Finally, I have to warn you that portions of this web site are, as they say, "under construction." That simply means there is more to say on the subject. No, you won't find any "under construction" signs, but you might notice that the page or section is obviously unfinished. Where this occurs, I apologize in advance. The material I aim to present is simply vast, and I only have limited time to devote to web-building. So I ask you to bear with me, bookmark the site, and check back often. The truth is that I have hundreds of wine recipes to post and intend to do so, but it does take time. If you can't wait, send me an email request for a particular recipe and I'll write you back and post the reply under the requested recipes section (another good place to check, by the way).

My best to each of you, and may your wines always meet your expectations.

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The Basic Steps Advanced Winemaking All About Yeast Using Your Hydrometer Winemaker's Library Winemaking Links
Winemaking Recipes Requested Recipes Winemaking in Texas Wines From Edible Plants Native North American Grapes Visitor-Submitted Recipes
Wine Labels Conversions and Equivalents Measuring Additives Winemaking Problems Jack's WineBlog The Author

Broken link fixed November 25th, 2008.