A Cautionary Tale

One day in the early eighties I made a batch of Rice and Potato wine. I forget the recipe – It was cheap and I had rice and potatoes in the house… so rice and potatoes were in it 😛 . . . also I believe there may have been some raisins.  After all the bubbling and such subsided, this wine was bottled and put in the small cupboard under the sink, to be forgotten.

A few years later, I got married and sold my house to move to the US. In preparation for moving, all the cupboards were emptied and I found these 3 bottles of wine, covered in dust. I was on a tight schedule, and they couldn’t be shipped, so I emptied them into the sink… I don’t know why, but I tried a small glass from the last bottle – It was the best wine I had ever made – clear, light, fresh and not too sweet!

What can you learn from this?

  • Keep a record of ALL the recipes you use to make EVERY batch of wine that you make.
  • Even homemade wine keeps a lot longer than you can imagine ~ If it is bottled and stored properly.
  • Never throw wine down the sink until you are sure you won’t want to drink it.


  • If your wine is stored in a dark area it doesn’t matter, but if there is light about, choose or save tinted or coloured bottles for storage. This will protect the nice colour of your wine from fading.
  • If you have a lot of different wines, it might be wise to store all one type in bottles of the same colour. If the labels fall off you won’t be guessing.
  • When saving bottles, look for bottles that have a “dimple” in the bottom. This is where any remaining sediment will settle and is less likely to be disturbed when you pour the wine.
  • Contaminated bottles are a huge cause of spoiled homemade wine. You can’t be too careful about getting them clean. Keep them submersed in clean water until the moment you are ready to bottle.