Any other thrifty wine makers out there?

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vinny

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Foraging can be a lot of fun!
I made honeysuckle wine a month or so ago and I'm waiting on the staghorn sumac to flower. Currently I'm collecting wild blackberries and it's challenging - a field full, maneuvering through blackberries to get to more blackberries is painful. When I have more time I'm going to clean them up and make some paths to make it easier next year, I see so many that are impossible to get to.

Raisins are good and definitely help. Careful though - if you go crazy and add 1 1/2 or 2 lbs then you're making raisin wine.
Ladders are helpful. if you have a 6 or 8 footer, lean it against the bush. You can climb up a rung or two to reach the higher ones, but mostly it just pushes the thorns away and gives you an area to work.
 

Noontime

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I would love to try a mojito wine! I have some mint growing that I’ve been trying to find a use for. Do you know where I can find a good recipe for mojito? I’ve read others who start with SP, using 2/3 lemon juice and 1/3 lime. When would you add the mint? And do you just out the leaves in the fermenter or is there other preparation needed? Thanks!
I used dried spearmint leaves, added directly to primary fermentation. It would be interesting to see an A/B test to see if there was any difference in flavor adding it to primary or adding it later during bulk aging. We found a few "best practices" over the years by doing 2 3 gallon batches with just one variation (yeast choice, add something primary/bulk, temperature, etc).
 

Jusatele

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remember the story about the monkey who puts his hand into the jar to grab something, but then can not get his hand out with the item in his fist?
that is how I think trying to make wine to save money is.
after all, if the business end of making wine can not find a way to deliver wine any cheaper than they can now, I do not think we will ever find a way without sourcing the raw materials for free. I mean the cost is spread out over so many things but still we source our ingrediants by so little in volume we will never match the discounts buy by the ton are. much less equipment cost.
But we keep on holding onto that item in the jar.
Last batch I bought a new Spiedel fermenter. try getting that out of the jar.
I do this because I love to make wine or beer. I have a blast doing it and then sharing it.
I have a friend who just moved from GA to CA. He loves his sailboat and decided he was going sail down from GA to Panama through the cnal and then up to San Diego because it was a bucket list item.
When he was finished, 4 months later, he told me he spent 6 time what he could have shipped the boat on the trip. My question was "Would it have not been cheaper to just ship it and not have to take all that time off"?
He answer was based on what some one told him in the canal. You see they throw a line to you and on the end of it is a knot called a monkey fist, it is a knot that is big as a baseball and is there so you can through the knot and the line follows it till it hits the boat. you pick it up, tie a rope to it that they pull back and use to keep you in the center of the lock. When he was tieing on to one, the advisor on the boat told him he had the monkey fist in the jar now. He realized that no amount of money could ever replace the experience he was having.
Kinda like making wine, sure you can save money, but let lose of that monkeys fist and you lose the experience.
this hobby is just to fun to cut corners and when you do, you have to drink it.
 

Jusatele

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to expand on that last post
Every year the wife makes pies during the holidays, she buys all these pie fillings in cans and every year there are cans left over.
One year I got a wild hair, and decided to make some mixed fruit wine out of the left overs. After all it is real fruit in a heavy syrup, just add water till the brix is good and go for it right? my only cost will be the standard cost to make any wine besides the cost of the must.
next November it was time to open the first bottle. It was fruity, that is about the best I can say about it. And I had 15 more bottles of it to go through.
My current recipe for left over pie filling wine comes out a lot better and I only make a gallon of the stuff. I also use a lot less of the pie filling and a lot of real white grape juice I source from a local vineyard.
I still have the fist in the jar, the item the fist is grabbing is a lot larger, (cost), but I just can not turn lose of it.
 

Newbie Mel

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remember the story about the monkey who puts his hand into the jar to grab something, but then can not get his hand out with the item in his fist?
that is how I think trying to make wine to save money is.
after all, if the business end of making wine can not find a way to deliver wine any cheaper than they can now, I do not think we will ever find a way without sourcing the raw materials for free. I mean the cost is spread out over so many things but still we source our ingrediants by so little in volume we will never match the discounts buy by the ton are. much less equipment cost.
But we keep on holding onto that item in the jar.
Last batch I bought a new Spiedel fermenter. try getting that out of the jar.
I do this because I love to make wine or beer. I have a blast doing it and then sharing it.
I have a friend who just moved from GA to CA. He loves his sailboat and decided he was going sail down from GA to Panama through the cnal and then up to San Diego because it was a bucket list item.
When he was finished, 4 months later, he told me he spent 6 time what he could have shipped the boat on the trip. My question was "Would it have not been cheaper to just ship it and not have to take all that time off"?
He answer was based on what some one told him in the canal. You see they throw a line to you and on the end of it is a knot called a monkey fist, it is a knot that is big as a baseball and is there so you can through the knot and the line follows it till it hits the boat. you pick it up, tie a rope to it that they pull back and use to keep you in the center of the lock. When he was tieing on to one, the advisor on the boat told him he had the monkey fist in the jar now. He realized that no amount of money could ever replace the experience he was having.
Kinda like making wine, sure you can save money, but let lose of that monkeys fist and you lose the experience.
this hobby is just to fun to cut corners and when you do, you have to drink it.
I have limited funds, and no matter how much fun it is, the funds win 😢. But I have received some good ideas that are within my reach. Now I just hope Santa brings me that all in one pump this year. I’m trying to be extra good this year 😂
 
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that is how I think trying to make wine to save money is.
after all, if the business end of making wine can not find a way to deliver wine any cheaper than they can now, I do not think we will ever find a way without sourcing the raw materials for free. I mean the cost is spread out over so many things but still we source our ingrediants by so little in volume we will never match the discounts buy by the ton are. much less equipment cost.
Nope, this is easily disproved.

Buy a $150 USD hardware kit and divide it across 10 kits, average cost/batch is $15. Buy $125 kit, add $10 for additions, and $15 for hw, total cost is $150. If 25 bottles are produced, that's $6/bottle. Comparable commercial bottles are $12-$15 each.

I make wine because I enjoy it. Cost savings are simply a cherry on top.
 

Raptor99

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I make wine because I enjoy it. Cost savings are simply a cherry on top.

Exactly. If my costs are around $5/bottle I am getting a much better wine than I could buy for that double that price. Plus I can make wines that I have never seen in any store. For my next batch I am thinking of doing chocolate peppermint.

Of course if you add the cost of your labor, homemade wine would be quite expensive. But this is a hobby, not a business. It's like fishing. If you factor in the cost of your time + gear, the fish that you catch would end up being insanely expensive.
 

ChuckD

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Of course if you add the cost of your labor, homemade wine would be quite expensive. But this is a hobby, not a business.
Exactly. You only count labor if you are actually selling the wine. Otherwise it’s all free time! I could be fishing, gardening, cleaning the house, making wine, woodworking, reading a book, or watching The Bachelorette. I do all of these things except one… I’ll let you guess 😂.
 

Jusatele

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Winemaker81 your point is taken, however I know of very few that have stopped at that 150 dollar wine kit. And as pointed out there is labor.
OK I am not trying to discourage anyone from trying to save money, as posted I have tried some really, inventive, ideas to make a wine.

If we donate our time, use recycled bottles and use some of the cost savings methods used by the mass producers, yes we can be thrifty. but compare cost, the largest wine maker in the world makes 5 liter boxes of wine that retail for 14 dollars, That is 2 dollars and 80 cents a liter or 2 bucks 10 cents a fifth.
Wow that is thrifty as they and the distributor and the store are all making a profit.

OK, to save money I source stuff cheap and repurpose a lot of stuff. You would be surprised at how much thing you already have that can be used in winemaking that stores want big money for. Go to Lowes, grab one of those Blue 5 gallon buckets and turn it over. Notice the plastic type, yes food safe. infact the type of food safe that is recommended of brewing use.
I go to self pick farms to source fruits.

I think those are 2 good ideas for beginners to work with.
 

Jusatele

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Exactly. You only count labor if you are actually selling the wine. Otherwise it’s all free time! I could be fishing, gardening, cleaning the house, making wine, woodworking, reading a book, or watching The Bachelorette. I do all of these things except one… I’ll let you guess 😂.
Fishing
 

winemanden

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If you enjoy making it and the wine is good, don't even think of what it cost. Just enjoy what's in your glass. Savour the moment!
I was brought up with the principle of if you can't afford it, don't buy it.
What I meant to really say was that the cash you already doled out is dead money, gone forever. Enjoy what you've made. It's unique, no one else in this world has ever made a wine like yours.
Don't worry, sniff, look and taste. and say to yourself, "I made that!"
 

CortneyD

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If I'm able to disperse the cost of the initial gear (I don't use any pumps, just the basic equipment), the only cost I have per batch is yeast and sugar because we forage all of our fruit. The cost of additives (yeast nutrient, campden, tannin, etc) is nominal across batches, but even if you add that in we are still below $5 a bottle which is absolutely a savings, because GOOD black raspberry wine that doesn't taste sweet as Kool-Aid is nearly impossible to find, and if we do, its at boutique wineries and certainly $15 a bottle at a minimum. That's the allure for us, doing something productive with what we have on our property (or via neighbors) that isn't jelly or jam, that ALSO comes with a cost savings. Edited to add: grape wines are never our priority, we stick to what we can get locally, or for free. I've never made a kit wine or purchased fruit for our wine.

I'll always push back against "cost of my time" and "cost of equipment" arguments because this is my hobby. I cannot do my hobby without at least some equipment-based outlay and investment of my time, but my cost is free because it brings me joy. IMHO, cost of my time only comes into play when we are talking about doing work for someone else, work that I wouldn't choose to do for myself- AKA: A job, or if I were to go into production. No one is factoring in labor hours when they make a birthday cake for a loved one, why would you for a batch of wine you make for yourself?

Anyway, I agree that there are some great recipes for not a lot of money out there, especially if you can forage for ingredients. Try to find a copy (its not in print anymore, so used books) of Terry Garey's "The Joy of Home Winemaking". She's got a lot of frugal ideas and a ton of recipes for foraged wines too.

Good luck and welcome!
 
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FlamingoEmporium

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Nope, this is easily disproved.

Buy a $150 USD hardware kit and divide it across 10 kits, average cost/batch is $15. Buy $125 kit, add $10 for additions, and $15 for hw, total cost is $150. If 25 bottles are produced, that's $6/bottle. Comparable commercial bottles are $12-$15 each.

I make wine because I enjoy it. Cost savings are simply a cherry on top.
I spent $2.49 on 2 pounds of peaches to go with my free mangoes maybe $1.00 or so worth of sugar and a dollar or so for yeast. 2 gallons of “priceless” wine fermenting. Now if my daughter comes through with a few more free bottles…
 

FlamingoEmporium

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Exactly. You only count labor if you are actually selling the wine. Otherwise it’s all free time! I could be fishing, gardening, cleaning the house, making wine, woodworking, reading a book, or watching The Bachelorette. I do all of these things except one… I’ll let you guess 😂.
I don’t clean the house either
 

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