Donovin Winery Bottles its First Wine

Our First Batch of Homemade Wine is Bottled and Aging in the Cellar

By Mark J. Donovan

Today we bottled our first 5 bottles of wine. The wine and the bottles look fantastic, and more importantly the wine sample tasted great. It’s been about a 3 month process of fermenting and racking the wine, but it’s been fun and I believe we have a quality tasting wine.

Last spring after visiting Napa Valley, California, my younger son and I decided to try our hands at making homemade wine. We chose not to buy one of those pre-packaged wine kits and do a little of our own experimenting.

I got ahold of a wine making book and did some serious reading and research.

We then bought some red grapes, pressed them, poured the juice / must into a 5 gallon fermentation bucket, added some yeast, sugar and water, and then capped it off with a lid and a fermentation airlock. After about four weeks of fermentation we transferred the contents of the fermentation bucket to a 1 gallon glass vessel carboy where we continued to let the wine slowly ferment and age. A month later we racked the wine. We simply transferred the contents of the carboy to a second carboy making sure to leave the sediments at the bottom of the first carboy.

Today, approximately 1 month later we bottled the Donovin Winery’s first bottles of wine. A couple of weeks ago we had added a Campden tablet and a teaspoon of Potassium Sorbate to the carboy to stop any additional fermenting. In the mean time we collected up some old wine bottles and thoroughly cleaned them.

To bottle the wine, we started off by washing the bottles in very hot soapy water, and then rinsed and soaked them in a sink basin of cold water with a couple of Campden tablets to make sure they were thoroughly sterilized.

In the meantime we soaked the corks in cold water over night. We soaked the corks in a large pan of water with a slightly smaller lid resting on top of them to hold them down. We also added a Campden tablet to the water containing the corks to ensure they were sterilized as well.

With our clean bottles and corks at the ready we then siphoned off the wine from the carboy into the wine bottles. After filling nearly 5 bottles, we used an inexpensive corker to cork the bottles.

We had also picked up some wine label paper that allowed us to develop our own custom label. So after bottling the wine, we printed out some labels and attached them to the bottles. And with that, voila, we had our first batch of homemade wine from Donovin Winery. We plan to try one bottle at Thanksgiving.

Donovin Winery

The remaining bottles we’ll probably hold off uncorking for at least a year. We’d like to give them a chance to age a bit more to see if the wine tastes better over the long wait.

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