Who ever knew that wine making was such messy business. But then again, how many people actually know how to make their own wine?
It’s a surprising pastime that one woman in Southington, Conn. enjoyed doing so much that she wanted to share it with the general public. “Cork and Brew” was opened by Kristin Michalski six years ago. She has been teaching regular people how to make their own wine, beer, and soda ever since.
It’s a small business with only a few employees, but by the look of the store, it is plain to see that many people have come through and enjoyed the unique experience that is offered. There are photos hanging on the wall of each group that has come in and made something delicious.
But the store is not just filled with photos, there are many other things that catch your eye. Gag gifts related to wine and beer, wine samples chilling in a fridge, and of course, the giant barrels of all different types of beer and wine that have been left there by previous customers who are eagerly waiting for their product to ferment.
I had the opportunity to enjoy one of the wine making experiences and it is a real learning experience as well. The first step in the process is to sanitize everything. Then mix grape must, water set just to the right temperature, oak chips, and of course, the yeast. But our guide, Amanda Leclair showed us that it was a very delicate, yet messy process.
Nothing can get into the wine, or the whole flavor can get thrown off. And even the water that is added to the grape juice has to be at a certain temperature so that the yeast doesn’t get killed off, and there can actually be some alcohol, making it wine, and not just bitter grape juice.
Even the end of the process is very precise. But the experts at “Cork and Brew” are always keeping an eye out.
After those eight to ten weeks are up, the wine is ready to be bottled. You are able to pick any design you would like for the label and you can add any clever, romantic, or heartfelt saying that you decide on. The Bottling process is a friendly affair and each customer is encouraged to bring along family and friends.
All in all, the experience is informative, fun and exciting. Not to mention you get to walk out with 30 bottles of wine that you made perfectly to your taste.