It was in the year 1993, in September, a month before my 50th birthday I finally gave up drinking. I managed to keep myself in total sobriety for over two years, when, on a fine Sunday I came across a critical article about a book on Goan Home wines in Sunday Herald. I wrote to the publisher immediately and promptly got my copy of the recipe book by post.
The recipes in the book made a fascinating reading. My very first trial was a grand success. Buoyed by the success, I continued to make wines. There were more than 50 recipes, practically for every fruit and berry on earth! ...and a few vegetables too. There is even a recipe to make milk wine and honey wine(Mead). I successfully tried a few common fruits and beet root from vegetables. Apples and pineapples make excellent wines. Banana gives a little problem to get clarify properly for which I emply beaten albumen (Egg whites) method. Pineapples are natural ferments. Smooth and excellent bouquet. Bangalore or Bijapur black grapes get blood red body with lively taste making your fried prawns the best one in the universe!
Being a home wine maker, I don't give much to the intricacies. For example, they say varieties of grape streins such as Chardonnay, Souvignon, Zinfandel etc. make difference. Also basically white wines are made from red or black grape pulps. If you do not add the colored skin of the grape, it becomes white wine. And if you crush the whole grapes with skin, preferably without pips, that makes red or rose wine depending on the color of the skin. These two varieties - red and white from the same fruit gives different taste and effect to the wine. But I make my red wines from black grapes and whites from white grapes.
Wine making is not an easy job. One should have sort of divotional interest in making home wines, requiring to maintain top higenic environment thoough out the process of a minimum of four months - a month for making and minimum of three months for maturing during which time there is at least a couple of racking (decantation) to make the wine crystal clear. But once the interest develops, the hobby gives tremendous pleasure, especially when people - relatives and friends - heartily appreciate it.
For about one whole year I did not have enough confidence to offer my wine to guests. Then during the marriage of my eldest daughter, that evening after sending the bride with the groom, I took out a well matured bottle of blood red wine having only traces of sweetness and sourness. Very few close relatives and my other daughters' friends remained with us that day. Lo!, it was an instant hit!! Next morning, I made gift bottles and cans of two and five litres and gave to my young nephews and nieces when they returned to their respective homes, most from Mangalore and Bangalore.
I have quite some friends on internet. And I tell them about my wine. Some of them requested for the recipe. By the by I have evolved my own recipe for red and pineapple wines by trial and error over the years. I sent them my recipe and there was no mention about their making it. And when I ask them if they really tried my recipe, .... well you know what could be the answer. Recently a friend, a new one asked me to send the recipe. By now, I knew it was only curiosity they all ask for the recipe and once they see the laborious process their wine making abruptly stops there. So for this new querry I said, "Now look my good friend, it is not a simple thing. Wine contains divine spirit. Do you know from where this spirit comes and make a comfortable living in my wines? I invoke them by chanting a mantra from the Atharva Veda, after taking a cold bath and sitting hands folded and eyes closed in front of the grapes. The divine spirit may kick you hard if you go wrong by a hair while invoking! Are you ready to get my recipe? ..." The lady is wise, she simply asked me to send a bottle to her!!
Wines are not taken by courier, no liquid items for that matter. So I have invited this grand old lady to visit Shimoga to taste my wine, nay, hospitality. And I dare to extend my invitation to all of you who read this! Ready?