One thing that books and courses on winemaking never seem to teach is how to build up a good cellar of home-made wine. If you’re like most home winemakers, you always seem to be drinking the last bottle of your batch just as it’s really perfectly aged.
1. Determine how much wine you use. This includes your daily glasses with dinner, weekend dinner parties, friends dropping by, birthdays, anniversaries, the holiday weekend, house warming presents, your thirsty brother-in-law, etc. Let’s say that comes to about three bottles per week, all together. Split it up as per your preference for red and white (don’t forget pink, dessert, and champagne as well).
2. Multiply your weekly consumption by 52, in this case, getting 156.
3. Add 15-20% for unexpected wine emergencies (there will be one). In this case 25 or 30 bottles. We’ll round the total to 180 bottles. That works out to six 23-litre (5-gallon) batches per year.
4. Make twice your yearly expected consumption, in as short a period as possible, ideally all within one or two months. This is 12 batches, all in one fell swoop.
5. Put half of the wine away in your cellar, and forget about it. Drink your young wine, as you need it.
6. At the end of one year start opening those fully aged bottles, and enjoy the tremendous improvement that good cellaring can bring. On the anniversary date of your big batch, make another six batches, all at once, and put them to the back of the cellar. In a year you’ll nearly dislocate your shoulder patting yourself on the back.
The problem with this is, while it is very rewarding, you need both the space and the cash to make 12 batches of wine all at once. If you can’t quite swing it, another good strategy is to make two batches of everything, every time you make wine. Bottle one for your use, and put the other in the cellar (away from the prying corkscrew of your thirsty brother-in-law!) Try and stay on a regular schedule to maximize your use of equipment: idle carboys are nobody’s playground. Over the course of a year you should be able to get at least three or four batches salted away for ageing, making a good start on your cellar.
Wine is a great idea for many types of gifts. Some people give a batch or a gift certificate for things like birthdays, anniversaries, weddings of close friends and family. Others use bottles from their batch to put in gift baskets, take to parties as a host gift, use as Christmas gifts or thank you gifts. Some also like to use bottles of wine as a gift for retirements, birthdays, anniversaries, engagements, post secondary graduations and many other celebrations.
There are many events wine is good for. Any event you are personally hosting like, Housewarmings, Anniversaries, Birthdays, Christmas Parties, BBQs, Thanksgiving and many various religious celebrations to name a few.
There are several ways to use wine for weddings. Some couples serve it at their reception, others use it as the guest gift, have it put in the rooms of out of town guests and some use it for the surrounding events like showers, rehearsal dinners and gift openings. Go to the weddings page for some great ideas.
Many people find ways to use wine in their professional life by putting it in gift baskets for clients, using it as a thank you, giving it to co-workers at a holiday event, a reward for a job well done as well as many other ways.
Food & Wine Pairing
What you are looking for is harmony and balance in your pairing. Wine on its own tastes different than when it is paired with food. If it is complementary, wine can impart its flavours to a dish, thereby giving the food an added layer, or food can lend its flavours to the wine. If they clash, or if one overpowers the other, the experience will under whelm and disappoint and can sometimes lead to flavours that are not present in either, like an unpleasant metallic taste which can result from high tannin content and oily fish. With the right pairing, wine and food can combine to give your palate great pleasure!