Author Archives: Kathleen

An Ode to Wine Making Kits

When you were young did you have any “kits” that helped you learn the basics of a topic? My brother and I had many kits – some were educational (i.e. rock collecting) but much more popular were the do-it-yourself kits. We had science experiment kits, craft kits of all types, even legos could be considered kits when packaged with instructions and goals to build a specific structure.

Kits are great – they help people learn on an individual level and give us the opportunity to have a sense of satisfaction and exploration in new topics. Adult versions of kits could be putting together furniture (not always as pleasant!), building gingerbread houses during Christmas (yes, this is for adults too), and most relevant to our interests here, making your own wine.

Last week I was excited to be gifted a bottle of homemade wine. For the last several years a friend has purchased a home winemaking kit from a local winery in the Midwest that comes with the appropriate winemaking supplies, directions, and juice.

I think this is a great idea – heck, maybe I’ll do it next year. It’s such a great way to learn the skills behind the trade – the basis of the art of winemaking, the components of the science behind fermentation, and it even puts you in the shoes of the winemaker choosing exactly how to create your own blend. You become part of the historic tradition of winemaking and gives you the satisfaction of creating something from start to finish that you can then share with your friends and family.

When you think back to any kits you had a kid – did you ever give one of your creations to your parents or friends? Likely, you were beaming with pride at the masterpiece you created and had an intense sense of satisfaction at your product. In this case, the journey was the biggest reward for you. This is the case with many kits.

If you are exploring options with homemade wine kits, I encourage you to take the plunge. The same way most esteemed art is not created with an art kit of paints and cheap supplies, your wine will likely not win any awards. If you, your family, and your friends enjoy drinking it – that’s all the matters.

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Exposure

My name is Kathleen, Dave’s daughter, and I have also come to love wine. I owe my interest in wine to my parents and their interest in wine for if they would have not exposed me to it, I would not have come to love it as I do today.

This concept — exposure — is an intriguing one. Recently I took a trip to a very prestigious university on the East coast to visit a few friends in grad school. I love the university setting and found myself amazed at the  evidence of famous philosophers, politicians, artists, etc across campus in the form of books from the 15th century, relics from ancient worlds, and much more. I wondered – how did these people end up to be the most well known in their fields and how did they all coincidentally attend this top school?

Exposure. Exposure to the appropriate colleagues, network, resources, and experiences.

Don’t get me wrong – I love wine and wine culture – but I am at the beginning of my journey with wine. The last time we were in California wine country, I asked the person facilitating our tasting how she learned so much about wine and developed her palate. While our lives had been drastically different (she grew up in wine country), her advice to me was “Just keep tasting.”  What she was really saying was “Keep exposing yourself to many types of wine.”

Exposure. Whether someone exposes something to you or you expose yourself to something, it is undoubtedly one of the most important things in life for expanding your knowledge, challenging yourself, and of course, appreciating phenomenal wine.

To continue the conversation about this post and wine, comment below!