Interview with a Home Winemaker

What first attracted you to wine-making?

My grandfather has several grape vines in his backyard, as a child we would go over to help with the affair. As my grandfather grew older and less capable, my brothers and I would handle the whole operation while he supervised. It brought him great, joy. I decided to continue the family tradition, for no other reason than it seemed right and proper.  

What is your wine-making philosophy; that is, what are you trying to achieve with your wines?

I have never thought about a wine-making philosophy, but always strive to achieve something that is drinkable. My grandfather famously produced a batch that he would label as UGHHH, the smell was of rotten eggs, and the taste was truly rancid. I hope never to have a batch that is so disgusting, you must bribe people to take it home with them...

Would you recommend others get into this as a hobby?

Absolutely! It’s so simple, and a great hobby for those who are patient. You simply order a kit from the internet watch a little YouTube on how to make a batch, and you are going to be a star. The resulting wine make great gifts, and I think everybody needs a hobby like this because the learning opportunities are endless, and it makes you appreciate wine much more.

Why did you start competing?

I took a bottle of homemade wine to a local tasting room looking to get some feedback on it. Those at the tasting were kind in their critiques and recommended that I enter the Orange County Fair. I did this at their encouragement. I loved receiving the judges tasting notes. I will likely continue competing in the future and encourage others to do the same, as competing makes your newfound hobby sound a bit more legitimate, (and less like you are a lush).  

Are you filtering any of your wines?

We try to keep filtering to a minimum. I typically don't fine my wines because it’s homemade, and nobody seems to mind the sediment. If its particularly bad, I just decant it

Where do you get your grapes?

I purchase my grapes online. I live in a small 2nd story condo in Orange County, and don’t have the space nor time horizon for my own vines yet. One day I will, but until then, the internet has everything I need and so much more.

Anything else we should know?

Get out there and get weird with it! Wine-making is a great hobby as it has been around for thousands of years. You don’t need fancy equipment nor a Silicon Valley budget to start. I won a gold medal at the county fair, fermenting in a plastic bucket that I stored in my parent’s bathroom, with grape juice that I purchased from an online store.

Award from Orange County Fair - Homemade Wine

Award from Orange County Fair - Homemade Wine

Cheers!