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Whither wine? 

Candlelight, a bottle of wine, the person you love…it sounds like a recipe for a great Valentine’s Day. But the price of a good bottle of wine can be prohibitive. If you’d rather save your pennies for that bouquet of red roses, you might want to consider making your own wine. According to Jeremy Strong, manager of Brewingcentres on Quinpool Road, making your own wine is fast, easy, affordable—and delicious.

Q: What’s involved in making your own wine?

A: It’s a straight-forward process, not really that much more complicated than making Kraft Dinner. You begin by choosing a wine kit. Each kit yields 30 bottles of wine. Then, you mix the grape juice with water and other ingredients in a bucket. The mixture is allowed to ferment for about a week. Next, the mixture is transferred to a carboy—a 23L glass bottle—and allowed to finish fermenting, which takes another 7 to 10 days. At that point, you would add chemicals that stop the fermentation process, preserve the wine and clear it; that takes another week or so. Finally, after you’ve bottled the wine, it needs to age for at least another week before you can drink it.

Q: So you could be drinking your own wine within a month?

A: Yes. Of course, if you can be more patient and leave it to age longer, it will taste better. These wines mature beautifully over time.

Q: Are some wines more popular than others? Have you seen trends develop over time?

A: Sure. Wine is like anything else; it’s subject to trends and the influences of pop culture. For example, when the movie Sideways came out, we saw a real spike in sales of pinot noir, because the main character in the movie really liked it, and at the same time, we saw a backlash against merlot, which he hated.

Q: Could I duplicate my favourite wine instead of spending $20 at the liquor store?

A: It’s impossible to produce something identical to a brand name, but you could come close. Everything you make is your own, with its own distinct and unique characteristics. And at $50-$60 for a good quality kit, you’d be spending about $2 a bottle. That’s pretty cost effective.

Q: So is it just wine buffs who make their own wine?

A: All sorts of people make their own wine. We get lots of people who are looking to save money; students, young couples, people from middle class families who can afford to enjoy wine more often because they make their own. We also see people who maybe have a little more money, who like spending that money on wine-making as a hobby.

Q: Are there any misconceptions about home-made wine that you’d like to dispel?

A: The biggest one, of course, is that homemade wine is inferior, but it’s not. That idea is just rubbish. The wine you make yourself will be just as good, if not better, than what you’d buy at the liquor store.

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