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Home Made Bottles of California Wine

It’s easy to figure out who makes home wine when you live in wine country. These folks always brag about their wine and want you to taste it. Then when harvest comes around they’re calling you for help picking grape.

That’s how I found myself early one Saturday morning dressed in grunge clothing (grape stain is tough to remove) with a pair of shears in my hand and a bucket at my feet.

It was time to be a harvester.

Coaxing Cabernet grape off the vine is challenging because it grows in small, tightly packed bunches. Too often they wrap themselves around vine or supporting wires requiring surgery to remove. When you see Pinot Noir grape it looks the same with small nodules of grape that must be gently removed. The labor costs must be huge, no wonder the stuff cost so much.

We were shooting to harvest 500 pounds of Cabernet Sauvigon grape from about five rows of vine. I personally filled four 5 gallon buckets. In three hours we ended up with 573 pounds of grape. This comes out to about 90 gallons of must (not juice yet) which will make about 265 bottles of wine.

But this isn’t the end of the journey. No, not by any stretch of the imagination. Crush, de-stem, ferment, strain (more stems, etc.), keg, store, age, bottle, cork, age in bottles 2-3 years and you have wine.

It’s all a bit of alchemy.

The fruits of my labor arrive in a couple of years when the wine maker I helped graces me with some bottles of California Bottles of Wine.

Oh the miracle of wine and friendship.

Some notes on our wine ranking system.

Bill & Erin Hodge write about California Wine, the estates & winemakers producing them and educational information about Vino. Living in California Wine Country provides a front row seat to the places you want to visit the most here in the Golden State.

– -✰  means -What’s next on your list of wines
-✰  means -Not liking it too much
✰ means  -We’ll drink this wine, especially if it’s hosted!
✰+ means -You’ve got our attention and we might buy this wine.
✰+ + means -We’re hooked and we’re going to buy this wine.
When you see -✰/✰+  with a slash, it means we disagree.

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