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Wine making co-op
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Posts: 147
Joined: Dec 2007
Post: #1
02-09-2008 02:19 PM


Have just moved to a new house with a large vine in the back garden, that currently has tons of grapes on it turning a very nice red colour. They are definitely wine grapes as opposed to eating ones (shame) and I don't want to see them go to waste, but having done a search on the web for instructions it seems that to make wine from grapes is a very equipment heavy process.

As I don't know how good the grapes will be (and everyone is telling me that with this miserable summer they will be really sour) I don't want to invest in all the kit to have it festering in the cellar for years to come. A SW London friend came round at the weekend and said that near them there is a garden centre that organises a winemaking cooperative- you go in with your grapes, then come out a few weeks later with some lovely wine!

Anyone know of a similar project in our neck of the woods? Or can anyone offer advice for a rookie vintner?

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Posts: 113
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #2
02-09-2008 06:09 PM

Wine grapes should be nice to eat when they have fully ripened - but may have a lot of pips.

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Posts: 79
Joined: Dec 2003
Post: #3
02-09-2008 08:30 PM

I used to brew my own 30 or so years ago, and also tried my hand at cider making from my apple tree and 'wine' from some other fruits. It's quite good fun, and there is something magical about the transformation of a container of sludgy, bubbling liquid into something crystal clear.

'Two Brewers' off license in Forest Hill was then one of the best known home brewing sundries shop, owned by the people who set up Provender. There must be other suppliers still in business, and they should be able to advise, and also supply equipment, sterilising materials and yeast,

I suspect that you needn't be in for too much outlay to start with. We planted a couple of vines that didn't do as well as yours seem to have done - blame global warming - so it didn't seem worth spending money on expensive kit. However, the only really expensive item seemed to be the press. Fermentation and storage vessels shouldn't break the bank. I wonder whether it wouldn't be worth trying a dry (or should I say 'test') run using a kitchen juice extractor to see what results you might get, and if your first results seem at least redeemable with practice, buying the press only then.

I received a fair amount of advice, but will only pass on the fairly obvious: 'remove your socks before treading the grapes'.

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Posts: 388
Joined: May 2004
Post: #4
02-09-2008 11:41 PM

We visited Kent House Lane allotments a few years ago and a number of plot holders have vines. They told us due to the microclimate London is the best place for wine, as this extends the growing season. I am sure they also have vines at One Tree Hill.

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Posts: 57
Joined: Feb 2005
Post: #5
03-09-2008 09:53 AM

One of my friends makes wine in the Kent House Lane allotments. I will ask him if he is interested in a 'wine share' arrangement. I helped him bottle his last batch and it was really very nice.

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Posts: 147
Joined: Dec 2007
Post: #6
03-09-2008 10:43 AM

Thanks Andy

I saw an old article on the Time out site about Peter at the kent house lane allotments - and wondered if there might be some kind of set up there I may be able to tag onto...

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