A conversation with a friend

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Texas Jim

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A local guy my age says he's been making wine for years. I paid a visit to him yesterday to pick his brain.

He's got two wine recipe books, but has misplaced one. He says he can't try any new recipes because he can't verify anything in the book he has because he doesn't have the other book to refer to for verification. (?)

I asked him about calculating the potential ABV and establishing sugar requirements with his Hyd. Deer in the headlights. "I don't need all that technical stuff, that's too #$%& complicated."

I asked him about Campden tablets. "I don't put no chemicals in my wine."

I came away knowing a whole lot more than I did before I spoke with him. Primarily, that he doesn't have a clue.

I do a metric ton of reading here. I'm as green as a cucumber and I already know a boatload more than my friend does.

Tx-J
 

vinny

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I asked him about Campden tablets. "I don't put no chemicals in my wine."

Different strokes for different folks. If it works for him....

However, you may not want to sample his creations. 😄

I am experimenting with reducing/eliminating chemicals, just something I prefer in everything I make. I have seen a lot of comments lately from people that are making straight up fermented juice form grapes, berries, kits, etc. No additives. I am interested to see what happens in shorter lived and smaller batches that I make.

I have been told many a time here, making wine is a very simple thing. You can make it very complex, and it is in itself a very complex process with many variables, but in it's basic function it is really a very simple thing.

I take SG readings, use specific measurements and make notes. I am very conscious of keeping things clean and consistent, simply for repeatability if I nail one of my experiments. Others use frozen concentrate, chaptalize it in the backyard and fill their primary (empty juice jug) full from the garden hose in the backyard. Put it on airlock for a few weeks and voila! Wine.

By their standards.;)

You get to choose your level of simplicity or complexity based on your tastes, expectations, and personality.
 

jswordy

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I know a guy here who is 79 and has been making wine for 50 years. He does everything "wrong" according to this forum. He also has a 12 x 8 whiteboard in his air conditioned winemaking space (kept at 60 degrees) literally covered with blue ribbons and medals. I've tasted his stuff a bunch of times. OMG good. Like vinny says, different strokes for different folks. My grandpa came over on the boat from Italy and he made wine for about 50 years too, and he did it "wrong." But everybody sure liked it.

We all should really remember that there once was a time when you didn't have an entire industry set up to get you to buy stuff to make wine. The recipe that has won me the most medals came from back in that era.
 
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@vinny and I are pretty much on the same page. If the winemaker is happy with their creation? Well, cool. I have no complaint, nor right to criticize.

I asked him about Campden tablets. "I don't put no chemicals in my wine."
Sometimes folks who "don't put chemicals in their wine" are rebelling without understanding what they are rebelling against. This makes no sense to me -- I much prefer to understand the ramifications of decisions before making them. But different strokes for different folks.

I function on the low side of the testing spectrum. I understand what most of the tests do and what the results mean, but my early training leans me towards using my senses when adjusting wine.
 

FlamingoEmporium

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And I have a friend who has all the fancy stuff, buys kit wines, but has no patience. I had to pour a bottle of hisblueberry wine out because it still had an inch of sludge in it and it never finished into what it could have been. There are many old timers out there who don‘t use “chemicals” and work by time and taste etc. i even knew one old hermit in NY who made cherry wine in huge crocks covered in towels that were kept outside under a shed. He died old from something other than bad wine poisoning.

i love my hydrometer, (and a spare of course) and although I hate to have to use chemicals, I understand why they are necessary.
 

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