The simple joys of making beer and wine at home

I was uncertain about the potential of home-made wine.  As an adult I have developed a taste for good quality wine, and the distant memories of home made parsnip sherry or elderberry wine when I was a kid were of sweet drinks that either exploded in the pantry or tasted like vinegar.  There were of course occasional successes, but the boiling of huge pans of mush, the sieving of the ingredients and a world of demi-johns and plastic tubing did not really encourage me to enter the world of home brew again.  That is until I tried the Moonshine Drinks kit.

Being a busy man about town, I was somewhat horrified when I received the Moonshine drinks kit as a gift.  Did my friends really think I was the beardy, sandal-wearing type who liked to brew my own?!  Despite my misgivings I opened the tube expecting blue prints and a shopping list of ingredients and equipment.  The surprise was there was very little in the tube.  Just a large rolled-up bag with a cap at one end and a dispenser at the other, an additional cap and a couple of sachets (yeast and sodium metabisulphate).  I warily rolled out the bag and immediately enjoyed the squishy feeling of the contents.  After using the bag as a stress ball for a few minutes, I picked up the instructions and gave them a read.  

It all looked remarkably simple.  So I took the cap off the bag added water and yeast and put on the other 'brewing cap'  (on the Moonshine Drinks bag, not on myself).  I was then faced with the decision of where to put this potential exploding wine bag.  So I put it on a towel in the dining room and forgot about it.

10 days later I got a reminder on my phone that my Moonshine Bag needed attention.  I cautiously approached the swollen bag in the dining room and all was well.  No spillage, no drips - nothing dramatic at all.  I released the cap and added the second sachet and then had a brief workout whilst I vigorously mixed the contents by rolling it on floor, a process not unlike tickling a piglet (I imagine).   Then the anxious wait began and I counted off the days like a prisoner, waiting for my creation to come to life.  

10 days later and hey presto - I cautiously put a glass under the tap and drew off a small amount which was a bit cloudy.  I threw this away and persevered with another glass.  Hang on - it looked like wine.  And it also tasted like wine!  It was in fact wine!!  I had made my very own own wine.  Now in terms of the taste, it was certainly not Chateau Rothschild, but it was a fair alternative to supermarket wine drinkable and certainly alcoholic.  I now have a couple of bags on rotation!  I have even tried putting the white into bottles and chilling in the fridge - it certainly does the trick on a sunny day.   Who knew that winemaking could be so rewarding?