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Winemaking for Beginners

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For the average outsider, winemaking may seem to be an intimidating affair. The overlapping fields of geology, biology and chemistry can seem like a lot to take in at once, especially for the novices who haven't yet taken the plunge. But the truth of the matter is that winemaking is more of an art form than anything else. It's one of those rare activities in life that, when done correctly, can be a great source of tranquility and even therapy for some people. Like all things worth knowing there is a learning curve, but it's a lot less steeper than most might believe, and exponentially more rewarding considering how easy it is to get started.

Winemaking has a long and deep history for a very good reason - it is simply a pleasurable activity. It calms the nerves, loosens up the mind and un furrows the brow. When we call it 'therapy', we really are not kidding. There is a famous winery in Japan that staffs people with autism and other developmental disabilities. Not only do these people thrive in the concentrated tranquility of a winemaking environment, they also produce some of the finest, most sought after wines in the country.

We see clear examples of this phenomena in Italy as well. The village of San Patrignano uses winemaking as a form of rehabilitative therapy to successfully give drug addicts a new lease on life. After all, the majority of drug users are really just seeking tranquility from their own internal torment. The mind-quieting effect of winemaking gives them a clear, drug-free path to that realm of silent freedom. The town of Gorgona also uses winemaking to rehabilitate criminals in prison, citing an incredible change in the morale and character of the inmates.

The truth is that anyone can learn to make wine. A lot of folks are even self-taught, but the quickest route to get from clueless to competent is a teacher with experience. An amateur could probably teach a beginners course, but when you have a true artisan of the craft showing you the ropes, it's a whole different story. This is why we are proud to announce:

Winemaking 101

with Peter Pagano

Peter comes from a long and proud tradition of winemaking. His family business has been operating in Brooklyn since the 1950s. It is a gross understatement to say that this man knows his wine. One of the ways that he facilitates the learning process for beginners is eliminating the pressing phase. By working with juice, rather than grapes you really get to hit the ground running in this 2-hour crash course. Reading about the process is very interesting and recommended. But at the end of the day there is just no substitute for hands on experience and direct guidance. If you've ever toyed with the idea of winemaking as a hobby, or just a way to unwind but felt put off by all the jargon and science, this course is for you.

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