I remember Papa. He was not my papa, but the patriarch of Cherry Street. Through some convoluted relationship, you could say he was like a great uncle to me. Being an Italian immigrant, he took his patriarchy seriously. He ruled with a stern demeanor. He spoke little, observed everything with keen dark eyes and rarely smiled.
While my aunts would roll out the pasta, Papa would be in his basement making wine. We rarely saw Papa at the kitchen table without a short glass of red in hand. At the regular family gatherings, all the adults would partake of Papa’s wine. It made them smile a lot.
Fast-forward 20 years. My best friend is Italian and I am visiting her parents’ house for the first time. Her father loves to cook and he makes wine. He makes wine out of anything fruity he can find. The vintage that evening was grapefruit. It was a little rough, but the delight with which he served it knocked the edge off.
Fast-forward another 20 years. I am married to Nick who loves to cook and drink wine. He decides to make wine after a friend shares the goods he produced with a wine kit. Soon, my husband (he is not Italian by the way, but is an immigrant) starts making delicious wines from kits. Friends begin asking for it and my husband loves sharing it.
Wine making is no longer a domain dominated by 1st generation Italians. Thanks to wine kits, good wine can be made by complete novices. The cost of making a nice wine is about $5.00 a bottle once you purchase the needed equipment ($80 – $130.00.) An array of kits, which are a great and easy way to get started, and equipment are readily available at most brew stores and on line.
From Wine Maker Magazine to blogs, my favorite of which is written by an iconic Texan, to 35+ books on Amazon you can find all the answers and inspiration you need to make delicious wines. If you like accouterments, all matter of specialized tools and wine accessories are waiting for you. Remember VinoVinti was invented by Nick to improve his homemade vintages!
So jump in and join the growing numbers of home wine makers, and all their new friends, who are enjoying wine in new ways. And while it may help to have some Italian ancestry, it is not necessary for making some really great wine. And you will smile a lot!