Think making your own wine entails turning your backyard into the iconic grape-crushing scene from I Love Lucy? Think again.
Wine making these days doesnt even hinge on buying bushel upon bushel of grapes.
And beer making? Its almost as simple, said Barry Ferreira, owner of Adega Beer & Wine Making Supplies.
Ferreira, who just opened the store to supply home beer and wine makers, has been crafting his own wines for about 10 years using the kits he sells at Adega.
Each kit contains a concentrated grape juice specific to the varietal comprising grapes from wine-making regions around the world. In the store, he has a couple dozen varietals available embracing a summery fruit wine with kiwi and melon, Australian cabernet, German-style reisling, California cabernet sauvignon, California chardonnay, California muscat, Washington merlot, and Italian amarone.
And those are just for starters. The selection in the store is about 10 percent of the varietals he has available to him to sell to home wine-making enthusiasts. The concentrated grape juice, which is reconstituted with the addition of six gallons of water, bypasses the home grape-crushing process. The kits also contain step-by-step instructions, yeast, stabilizing chemicals, clarifying agents, and depending on the type of wine, a bag of oak chips to add to the mix as it ages.
Wine is extremely easy to make, said Ferreira, an accountant, who gave up the trade to pursue his interest in wine making, and now, beer making as well.
Another benefit to the wine-making kits, he said, is that wine makers dont have to wait for the fall grape harvest. People think about making wine at harvest time, but with these kits you dont have to wait for that, he said.
Ferreira, a resident of Somerset, started out making wine to give as Christmas presents, and his wines became so popular among his family and friends that he said the demand for them expanded to the rest of the year. He also sells the bottles, labels, a computer program to make customized labels, and instruments to cork the wine.
The kits for the beers, which require an additional step of boiling the grains to create a juice, offer a variety for beer fans that includes amber ale, Irish stout, IPA, American brown ale, American wheat, pilsner, and Barvarian Hefeweizen.
The beer-making kits sell for about $38 to $44 and they produce 5 gallons (or 55 bottles) of beer. For those who want to take their beer making to more inventive levels, Ferreira has a grain room with an assortment of bagged barley, malt and wheat for home brewers to customize their own craft beers.
People who come in for the first time to buy a beer-making kit usually buy the kind of beer they drink, he said. But then there are customers with more exotic tastes, including two who came in shortly after he opened the store at the beginning of August for grains to make a chocolate stout. And yes, Ferreira did have the chocolate-infused grains for that particular beer recipe.
Newcomers to wine or beer making will first need to make a one-time purchase of an equipment kit, which includes a fermenting bucket and a carboy, a large glass jug in which the wine or beer is aged. The beer-making equipment kits start at about $75 and the wine equipment kits cost about $100. Ferreira is offering a 25 percent discount on the beer and wine equipment kits for the first two weeks of August to help make it a little less costly to get into the beer- and wine-making hobby. He delivers other discounts planned for the wine and beer kits later in the month.
Prices for the wine kits range from about $65 to $130, but the kit produces 30 bottles of wine. The wines are sold in two different kits: four- and six-weeks, depending on the varietal. The quality varies between the different varietals, but he said for the most part, the quality of the four-week kit is what one would expect from a wine selling for $10 a bottle, and $20 a bottle for the six-week kit.
There are lots of Italian and Portuguese people around here who grew up with their family making wines. This is a way for the younger generation to get into it without having to crush the grapes. The wine kits take two hours from start to finish, he said.
Adega Beer & Wine Making Supplies is located at 151 State Road, Westport. For more information, visit www.adegabeernwine.com.
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