The Wine Pages: Homebrew winemaking
Blending homemade homebrew wine is one of more neglected aspects of home brew winemaking. Very few commercial wines are made by the winemaker simply opening the barrel and pouring it into a bottle. Most wine is blended carefully to acheive a consistant result. Even in a single declared vintage, wines made from different parts of the vineyard or pickings will be matched together with a holistic view of the whole years output.
So can we do the same? Of course we can. Blending your homemade homebrew wine creations is another aspect of winemaking where your creative talents can shine through.
There are generally two reasons for blending homemade homebrew wine. The first is to remedy small imperfections in a finished wine. The second is to create something new!
If a batch of homemade homebrew wine is not quite perfect with regard to acid balance or bouquet, then blending with another wine can help this aspect. For example, Apple wine might be somewhat lacking in attractive aromas. It often smells a bit like cider, and a bit more like mouldy apples. So why not add some wine with a higher amount of "smell per unit volume?". Elderflower wine, obviously!
Other correctable factors include acidity and body. Apple wine made in the UK can sometimes be a bit tart - so we can blend it with another wine which is low in acidty to balance it out. You just have to have the right wine available. The wise winemaker might make his spring elderflower a bit on the flabby side (low acid) with the intention of blending it with the tart apple wine in the auntumn to make a delightful apple and elderflower.
A lack of body is often cured with the addition of a bit of heavy banana wine. If you see a bunch of over ripe bananas going cheap, it is worth making up some banana wine for just this purpose.
Blending reds and whites is often considered a bit of a no-no. I disagree. A gallon of apple blended with a gallon of blackberry makes a delightful wine.
Of course, we could simple make apple and blackberry wine from the outset instead of blending them later. Do either, but blending the finished wines allows you to keep your options open.
Do not try and use blending to correct a complete cockup of a wine. If something is genuinely undrinkable, it is probably just going to ruin whatever you blend it with.
Only blend wines that are finished cleared wines, and make sure you leave them for a few weeks to mingle after blending.
Of course, do not forget that a very acidic or high alcohol wine can simply be blended with plain water to take the edge off it.