The Wine Pages: Homebrew winemaking
I used to make a lot of wine. Around the age of twenty I was a very active homebrew winemaker. I had around hundred plus bottles of wine stashed in the understairs cupboard of my shared ex-student house. Most of it was cheaply made. I remember that dried elderflower wine bulked up with some supermarket budget-brand sultanas was a great favourite. We had lots of banana wine. Sometimes even tea wine. We made any wine you could make on the cheap. I remember that coffee wine was particularly disgusting.
As happens to so many of us, I got a job. I got a particularly frantic job. I got a job in a small business, and rapidly turned myself into a fairly key member of staff. With the loss of time and influx of money, the winemaking stopped. The wine matured. It stagnated for a bit, and finally turned into a collection of undrinkable muck. I never dared touch it. For some years the last remnants of my homebrew winemaking career lived in the garden shed. Then they lived under a bush in a box at the end of the garden. The art of winemaking faded from memory.
Let us pass over many dark and wasted years. Too much time living in places I hated, drinking more than I wanted and striving to impress people I disliked and had nothing in common with. In time however, I saw some sense, and started to find some more enjoyable diversions and more mutually acceptable friends. In these enlightened days I find it hard to believe I was such a fool.
You can read elsewhere about my adventures in astronomy, and the spin-offs it entails. For many years this was (and still is!) a very diverting hobby. All was well in my world. I still working in the same frantic place, but I learned to cope with frantic, and actually started to enjoy it.
Then last year I accidentally fell into a local homebrew winemaking shop. Since then I've firmly re-established my winemaking. In the last 12 months I have made roughly 100 gallons of wine.
My greatest regret now is that I ever stopped making wine. If I had not taken a 10 year break from winemaking, I'd now have a wonderful collection of ancient vintage bottles to fawn over and stroke. I have only been making wine for a year, so the oldest wine I have is only a year old, and much of that is blighted by my poor memories of how to make wine.
Life is a ticky bugger sometimes, and I do wonder how I keep going sometimes. A few poorly placed reflective moments and suddenly there is the dark maw of the past trying to suck you down like an ancient monster of the deep. Ever onwards and upwards methinks.
There isn't really a conclusion to this, just suffice to say that I've started making wine again, and I'm really enjoying it. This normally means I'll be writing on this website about it slightly more often than I have for the last 10 years or so. So don't stop making wine, you'll only regret it further down the line.