My father started making wine back in the 1960’s. He had a very basic set up – I remember a dozen or more gallon jugs each with it’s own air lock – a Styrofoam cup taped to the side of each jug with a tube coming out the top of each jug. Some of his wines weren’t so great but some were very good. I helped him from time to time but mostly it was just him, however I always helped drink the wines!
He passed away in 1979 and his equipment and wines were passed on to me. For a number of years all I did was take a bottle of wine here and there – until I ended up taking his very last bottle of wild grape wine. Then there was no more…
That was when I decided to carry on the tradition. After reading a couple of the books he had used I decided to make a batch of wine myself. One of his basic philosophies was “use whatever fruit is available” and that first batch of wine I made was apple wine. It turned out great – and I was hooked.
I still subscribe to his philosophy – “use what ever is available” but I have graduated to using carboys and making larger batches. Over the years I have made: Apple, Blackberry, Blueberry, Elderberry, Elderberry Blossom, Grape (Concord), Nectarine, Orange, Red Raspberry, Strawberry, and Wild Grape. There might be a couple others I’ve forgotten along with one I am still trying to forget!
I don’t have any special equipment and as a result I don’t have any pictures. I just use very basic equipment – plastic 5 gallon pails, a small wine press, and several carboys. But I have found that it is possible to make a good wine with those simple components. Of course “good” is up to the person holding the glass, I like most of the wines I make and that is all that is important to me.
The only thing I feel sorry about is not being able to sit back with my Dad and compare wines and enjoy…
Name: Robert Johnson