Wine Maker Guide to Making Homemade Wine

An assistant biology professor turned home wine maker gives the guidelines on how to make homemade wine.

| September/October 1970

The grape is a fantastic little chemical plant that has fascinated man since its vines first curled a tendril around the pillars of history.

Man as wine maker has minced and munched them, beaten and baked them, stomped and tromped them, peeled and congealed them, dried and fried and fermented them.

The grape is a near-perfect, self-contained fermentation package. Inside the skin is just about the right amount of sugar and acids to satisfy ravenous yeasts and bacteria hanging around on the skin. Crush the grape and these interact, forming alcohol and eventually wine, and possibly vinegar.

David H. Benzing, assistant professor of biology at Oberlin College, is among those fascinated fans of the grape. He has been with the college five years. His specialty is plant physiology and ecology.

What's all this got to do with wine making? Not a thing except that Benzing happens to like good wine and he's convinced that some of the best wines can be homemade.

As an eighth grader he turned grape snatcher, raiding the vines of neighbors in Mansfield to make his first batch of wine. Was it a success? Well, not so much a success as a blast. The whole mess blew up.

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