Any other thrifty wine makers out there?

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Newbie Mel

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I am new to wine making. I doubt I will ever create an award winning wine. I don’t even know if I would know what that tastes like. Up until 6 months ago bota box was my go to and I was fine with that. If I had access to Trader Joe’s I would also be happy. But I decided to try and save money by making my own wine. Plus with shortages of everything these days I figured it would be good to have some emergency wine. I will probably never make a kit wine due to the cost. This forum turned me onto DB and that’s become my go to. But I am also interested in making wine from things I can forage. Got some blackberries (or black raspberries?) growing in field, hoping I can get to them before the wildlife does. Also have a lot of May pops. They are sweet, but no other real flavor. Any ideas on what to mix them with? And what about zucchini, would that make a good wine? I would love to hear other ideas!
 
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@Newbie Mel, you can make wine from pretty much anything. Jack Keller's ebook of recipes is floating around, although most folks agree that his fruit quantities are low and need to be bumped up.

I suggest you ask specific questions regarding fruits and vegetables, and if you find a recipe -- post it before using it. While the net contains a wealth of knowledge, it contains a lot more gunk. Folks on this forum can offer feedback and help you avoid problems.

Regarding your questions, I have no clue what May pops is. Some folks make zucchini wine, but I can't say I find it appealing.

ANY edible fruit should work -- blackberries and black raspberries can produce a nice wine.
 

vinny

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I am new to wine making. I doubt I will ever create an award winning wine. I don’t even know if I would know what that tastes like. Up until 6 months ago bota box was my go to and I was fine with that. If I had access to Trader Joe’s I would also be happy. But I decided to try and save money by making my own wine. Plus with shortages of everything these days I figured it would be good to have some emergency wine. I will probably never make a kit wine due to the cost. This forum turned me onto DB and that’s become my go to. But I am also interested in making wine from things I can forage. Got some blackberries (or black raspberries?) growing in field, hoping I can get to them before the wildlife does. Also have a lot of May pops. They are sweet, but no other real flavor. Any ideas on what to mix them with? And what about zucchini, would that make a good wine? I would love to hear other ideas!
I have made Dragon's Blood, which I liked more than the skeeter pee I made. I also made a triple berry with closer to 6 lbs per gallon of fruit. It is still in secondary, but was not expensive to make. I have made carrot from the garden, dandelion from the yard, and a malt lemonade that can be found on the site, also very affordable.

@BigDaveK wanna chime in here?
 

RevA

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You can make cheaper fruit wine than it would cost if you bought a bottle of fruit wine. Unless you have grape vines and equipment - grape wine is going to take a while to break even with the equipment cost ect.
Almost no one who brews or makes wine truly saves money - the money saved is almost always used to make more wine.
 

my wine

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I will probably never make a kit wine due to the cost.
There are a number of kit wines that are fairly inexpensive. I'm talking about $50 to $70 each. I've made a number of them and all have been better tasting (to me) than anything I bought over the years from Trader Joes for $8 to $12. In large part it's because the kit producer designs the kit to result in good wine consistently. And they were cheaper in the long run. You have to keep in mind "the long run" because that first batch of wine costs all the equipment and goodies you need plus the ingredients for the wine to make that first 3 or 6 gallons. Some of that you already have in order to make DB. Then it gets cheaper and better the more you make. Many of us hobbyists just keep buying more and better equipment which you don't have to do. I didn't the first year and after the third kit my average cost per bottle (that I scrounged up from friends and restaurants) was around $3 a bottle while 2-buck Chuck was over $3.50.

Also, fruit takes a bit more work and can be tricky since you are measuring and mixing all the ingredients yourself. Whereas a kit wine is a checklist operation. And tweaking those cheap kits a little will give you a better resulting wine. So, you may want to reconsider kit wine.

I have several blackberry and black raspberry bushes that are putting fruit on now. I hope to have some in a week.
 

BigDaveK

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Gosh, I'm right there with you! Cheap, will never do a kit, don't care about awards, want something *I* like and make. Just let me get outside to gather ingredients.

Had to search - maypops are passion fruit? I've read it makes a nice wine. That's one for you!

Zucchini? I like zucchini and it's in my garden. I agree with @winemaker81 in that I'm not sure about zuke wine. It's on my list to try but nowhere near the top.

Recently I put dandelion, 2 honeysuckle and 2 mint into secondary and mulberries into the freezer. I generally make small batches and different recipes to see what I'll like.

Last year I made a tomato wine that shocked me because it's so good. My apple, pear, and raspberry wines are delicious!

My point is that fruits, vegetables, flowers will all make good wines. There's almost no limit. And there's a lot of folks here willing to help. Now get to work and make some wine!!!
 

winemanden

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We do not believe anyone has saved money making their own wine! :mny:D It is a hobby where the costs add up but is sure is fun!
Business wouldn't agree with you on that Snafflebit! How many adverts have you seen where it says ***** now $200 SAVE $35. :mny:slp:D:D
 

ChuckD

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We do not believe anyone has saved money making their own wine! :mny:D It is a hobby where the costs add up but is sure is fun!
I hear you 😂.

Actually though you could save quite a bit. We had a post a whole back about it and many people are making wine for less than $5 a bottle. Even with the cost of non-consumable hardware it can be done quit inexpensively. Time, of course, doesn’t count!

Of course most of us get carried away and keep buying new toys, and building new spaces, and planting vineyards. only to give away most of the wine they make… or so I’m told 🤣.
 

JustJoe

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I make my wine from grapes I grow and wild grapes I forage. I also make fruit wines and DB. I use only free bottles that have received from friends and family. If i discount the "one time" cost of hardware, my cost is less then $3 per bottle. However, I started with nothing but a 5 gallon beer making kit. I now have 9 carboys, a transfer pump 2 hydrometers and a refractomer and an acid tester and a scale and I installed a laundry tub in my new wine making room and built a 400 bottle wine rack and... If my real cost of wine is less than $10 a bottle I would be very surprised.
 

Noontime

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First... you certainly can make award winning wines from fresh fruit; we won gold a few years ago with our mango wine (we had mango trees in our yard).
Second... there are plenty of very frugal wines you can make. As you mentioned, scavenged fruit is one. Also you can use the frozen fruit concentrates from the grocery store. Or you can use both. We made a mojito wine that won some awards also (lime/lemon wine infused with spearmint). As others said, you can make wine out of just about anything, you just need to pick what sugar source will be your fermentables. Good luck and have fun.
 
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NorCal

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If you can find low or no cost fruit, sugar, bottles, you can make wine super cheap. Skeeter Pee is another low cost option. I track betweek $4-$5 per bottle (not including the equipment cost and my time) for my grape wine, depending on the % of new bottles I use.
 

vezePilot

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The beer and wine that I make, and have been making for years, ABSOLUTELY save me quite a lot of money. I don't drink much more because I make my own, and having purchased the equipment long ago, those costs are gone. I only use beer bottles that I have saved from buying beer, and I have purchased Empty less than half of the wine bottles I have.

We watched a documentary on wine making, in America and in Europe, and learned that it has been a goal for many years of many vintners to produce good wines that are priced for nearly everyone to enjoy a bottle every day. Where I live, that means about $5 to $8 per bottle.

Mine own wine, made from WineExpert Kits, costs half that.
 

Steve Wargo

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I am new to wine making. I doubt I will ever create an award winning wine. I don’t even know if I would know what that tastes like. Up until 6 months ago bota box was my go to and I was fine with that. If I had access to Trader Joe’s I would also be happy. But I decided to try and save money by making my own wine. Plus with shortages of everything these days I figured it would be good to have some emergency wine. I will probably never make a kit wine due to the cost. This forum turned me onto DB and that’s become my go to. But I am also interested in making wine from things I can forage. Got some blackberries (or black raspberries?) growing in field, hoping I can get to them before the wildlife does. Also have a lot of May pops. They are sweet, but no other real flavor. Any ideas on what to mix them with? And what about zucchini, would that make a good wine? I would love to hear other ideas!
I've read or heard about wine made from just about anything that you can imagine. Dandylion wine, Hibiscus, Flowers, Fruits, Vegetables, Flowering Shrubs like honeysuckle, Chocolate, Coffee, Tea Garlic. If it isn't poisonous to eat/consume or ferment then I guess you can make wine out of it. You'll probably have to add the correct sugar and water amount to the mix to get the alcohol percentage that you want.
 

VinesnBines

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I've read or heard about wine made from just about anything that you can imagine. Dandylion wine, Hibiscus, Flowers, Fruits, Vegetables, Flowering Shrubs like honeysuckle, Chocolate, Coffee, Tea Garlic. If it isn't poisonous to eat/consume or ferment then I guess you can make wine out of it. You'll probably have to add the correct sugar and water amount to the mix to get the alcohol percentage that you want.
You mean BigDaveK? Right?
 
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We do not believe anyone has saved money making their own wine! :mny:D It is a hobby where the costs add up but is sure is fun!
Actually, I think I will save money.

I've inadvertently gotten myself into a wine competition with a friend. Normally I buy wine outside of China so I do not need to pay tariffs, but I cannot travel. I was also getting a few cases a year gifted me by a company due to a project I did 10 years ago, but that has stopped. So now I am faced with buying ridiculously priced imported wine here. Ouch.

So I'm changing terms of the (informal) competition. Next time we have dinner I hope to bring wine I brewed myself. How do you compete with that?
 

ChuckD

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Gee, a guy makes wine out of everything and suddenly he has a reputation for making wine out of everything.

And I've just barely scratched the surface. :h
Don’t let those guys discourage you @BigDaveK I’m counting on you making grass clipping and dried onion peel wine so I don’t have to!

In all seriousness, have you thought about autumnberry wine (autumn olive… not Russian olive)? They actually taste pretty good when ripe.
 
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