Saturday, October 18, 2008

Making wine just for me

Being an amateur wine maker, you would think that there isn't the pressure to make wines in a style other than your preference. That you can experiment with new techniques, practices or varieties that may be of interest only to you. The absence of market pressures to produce a wine that appeals to the broadest cross section of the population should permit you to be bold if bold is what you want to be, or conservative if that is your desire. But, that really is not completely the case.

Trying an interesting wine, made in a way that appeals to you, and you alone could result in cases of wine that only you alone want to drink. Or, maybe you find out that there were good reasons why Army Worm wine has never really caught on
commercially. Natural fermentation or carbonic maceration may not turn out an end product that even you are interested in.

Not having to sell your wine to wholesalers, or to tasting room customers only takes away half of the economic pressures. Just because no one pays you to make your wine doesn't mean you get to make it for free. The vineyard probably doesn't give you their grapes at no cost just because you are not competing for shelf space against them.

Bottles are expensive, even though you may be re-using used bottles for a portion of your wines.

Most of us don't make wine just for ourselves. We share it with our friends and family. Our family puts up with the smell of fermenting must seeping up through the floor from the garage. Our spouses smile politely having to share space with carboys and racking canes.

Our neighbors kids have to hold off on basketball occasionally because the stemmer crusher is set up beneath the hoop. You don't want to impose all of these inconveniences on them,abuse their charity of tolerance with out producing a wine that they can all enjoy (the neighbors, not their kids).

So, we do all feel pressures to make wines in a style that may not always be our preference. My wife like big oaky chardonnay. I occasionally add more oak that I would normally because I know that is what she likes.

We don't get to make wine just for ourselves. And if we did, we probably would not enjoy making it as much either.