Do it yourself wine. Should you make it? Should you drink it?

If you’re an active reader of this blog you might know that I do take requests for posts.  “Wine Gimmicks” was by request, as was “The Many Colours of Johnnie Walker.” Similarly so to is today’s post on home made wine.  I’m not talking about the old school Italians who are making wine in their garage because those people likely know a thing or two.  I’m talking about the countless facilities across the province that allow people who know nothing about wine making to put their name to a bottle by doing as little as picking out the grape they want.  The result is typically wine in its simplest form for a fraction of the cost of a bottle at the LCBO.

I mentioned this post was on request.  It comes from a very good friend who last weekend hosted his version of a wine and cheese.  The tasting included various versions of extremely well made Gouda from Mountainoak Cheese in New Hamburg Ontario, which I had the pleasure of visiting the same day. The wine paired with the cheese were 4 bottles of his make-it-yourself wine.  We had a Riesling, a Spatlese Gewürztraminer (I’m serious), a Merlot, and a mixed berry fruit wine.  As you can probably tell this particular friend knows and appreciates his cheese, but lacks the same enthusiasm for wine as say someone like me. But he likes to drink it.  The cheeses were excellent.  If you find yourself in the Kitchener/Waterloo region any time soon pay them a visit, it’s worth it.  They have a little store on premise where you can sample and purchase.  Try the farmstead Gouda, the fiery, or the truffle.  All are very good.

The wine on the other hand is a totally different discussion all together.  Those who know me know that although I write this wine blog and though I understand and appreciate wine, I will still drink anything or at the very least try everything once.  The key to trying home made wine is to go into it with a different mindset.  If you’re invited to a tasting of Bordeaux you’ll likely dress up, focus, drink slowly and methodically, make detailed tasting notes, ask questions, and criticize where necessary.  If you’re invited to taste home brew you do none of those things.  Just drink it.  And here’s the truth.  They’re not high quality wines, but they are not terrible for the most part. These places are in business for the most basic of wine consumer.  They are fruit driven wines in the simplest form.  The are not deep and complex.  They don’t show subtle flavours, and are by no means age worthy. But they are often better than anyone will give them credit for and certainly better than most wine critics will have you believe.  Most importantly to many out there… they are cost effective.

So I am not going to outline detailed tasting notes on these wines, nor am I going to bother comparing them to their counterparts produced by award winning wineries.  I can also tell you that I personally won’t partake in do it yourself wine making.  Overall however this rant is simply to tell you one thing.  Be open minded, you might get surprised every now and then.  At the end of the day even home brew is still wine… and that’s light years better than drinking grape juice.

– Mark
Follow me on Twitter: @towineman

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