The Ten-Minute Guide to Home Winemaking

Sue Robishaw creates easy-to-make homemade wine recipes, read up on her ten-minute guide to home winemaking.

| December 1997/January 1998

Sue Robishaw shares her ten-minute guide to home winemaking. 

Wild black cherries and chokecherries abound on our Cooks, Michigan homestead. It was one of our early quests to find something to do with them, as neither food nor money was in any particular abundance when we struck out on our own. At first we were content to simply admire them, but the nutritional content of admiration is very low.

You can make chokecherry jam and pies to be sure, but they require a great deal of sugar sweetening and eventually I had to give up on them for baking. I soon found that their ideal place was not on a plate but in a glass.

You'll find bookshelves full of guides to better wine and beer making. They are, for the most part, good, honest books with much to offer, but they do tend to make the process seem like 225 pages worth of daunting detail. In fact, wine virtually makes itself, and after experimenting with proportions of the very few ingredients involved, you'll have fine results in a very short period of time. Usually, you'll be more than pleased, and no one has to know about the little mistakes you'll relegate to the cooking-wine shelf or the compost pile. Consider my recipes as "pre wine guide" fodder, my ten-minute guide to home winemaking.

Now, I know what you're thinking. "Usually? What happens when it's undrinkable? Do I have to taste each bottle?"

You do have to taste each batch, not every bottle (just think of the bliss of a life spent tasting each and every bottle!). And actually, disaster struck only once with some rhubarb wine. It was fine for cooking anyway so most of it was used. I've tried pin cherry wine, strawberry wine, and blackberry wine. But they didn't turn out to be as good so I usually stick to wild black cherry and chokecherry. Wild plum was an option once, but there just aren't enough growing around here to provide a steady supply.

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