What I write about

I became interested in wine making a few years ago, and I especially like to ferment what I grow. I’ve got ten potted grape vines in my backyard that I treat as bonsais below the soil and conventional grape vines above the soil. I also have a “bonsai orchard” with apple, cherry, and plum trees. I’ve made wine from all those fruits, and now I want to grow them myself. If there’s sugar in it, I’ll probably try and ferment it, so I make mead from honey. If it hasn’t got sugar, I might try anyway. My oregano wine got off to a rocky start, but eventually fermented to dryness. I write about what I grow and ferment, and how I do it, in this blog.

About what I write

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12 thoughts on “About

  1. JB Cossart

    Dear Winemaker,

    I wanted to let you know that we’ve featured your Blog on The Issue, a recently launched Blog newspaper. Your post on the Honey Bee crisis was particularly interesting and we’ve included an excerpt and a link to your site at http://www.theIssue.com.

    We scour the internet for the best posts out there, and present them in the form of an online daily newspaper. We hope to foster a discussion and debate across a variety of issues and introduce people to the Blog-o-sphere.

    Congratulations, I look forward to learning more from your Blog.
    Also, since other’s have asked, we are now providing bloggers with a “featured on The Issue” badge. If you would like one to use to promote your site, just send me an e-mail.

    JB Cossart

    Science&Health | The Issue

  2. irwin harlton

    Hello Erroll
    Hope you don’t mind, I have been posting your honey price research on beesource.com-http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=223646&page=4
    I am a commerical beekeeper residing in Souris,Manitoba,Canada, so I find your pricing information very helpful.
    I guess you already know what is pushing the current honey price, it is a world wide shortage of that liquid gold, this coupled with poor honey crops in Argentina and quality problems with the worlds biggest exporter of honey ,China
    An interesting newspaper item on chinese honey ,its problems in the U.S. market and the problems it causes athttp://seattlepi.nwsource.com/specials/honey/
    As you know the lowest price, lowest quality honey often determines the price of the higher quality honey.Chinese honey has bee entering the US market as low as .22 cents/ lb
    Thank you Erroll .

    Irwin Harlton

  3. Erroll Post author

    Hi irwin,

    I’m glad the honey price research is helpful. Maybe you can help me broaden it a little. Do you know of price data for bulk honey in Canada?

    Hope you don’t mind, I have been posting your honey price research on

    A short (sentence or two) summery with a link back to the post is ok, but copying most or all of a post is not. Remember, it is copyrighted.


  4. John

    Noticed you spend a lot of time making meads, so was wondering on comments on something: A Cyser. First noticed from this post:


    Which I later reacted to with this suggestion:


    3:1 Red Delicious/Granny Smith apple content to make 2 gallons of juice; 3:1 Apple Blossom/Sage honey to make 12 pounds of honey (1 gallon). Crushed fruit AND juice AND honey in the carboy. Medium toast french oak cubes soaked in Port wine (or maybe not…), put in at the beginning of fermentation and left to age. ICV-D47 yeast.

    I haven’t tried this, of course. Seems you’ve tried everything. Thoughts? My OTHER interpretation of this is crushing some apples and adding them to the mead (i.e. honey + water, then chop/dice/crush apples and throw them and the juice into the mix), for a more subtle apple taste rather than a cidery taste.

  5. Erroll Post author

    Hi John,

    I’ve used oak, a little, but not oak soaked in Port. I haven’t tried everything, but it’s nice of you to say so!

    So let me just think out loud about how oak chips soaked in Port would mix things up. The first thing I would wonder is, would it be any different from just adding port to the primary? I think the answer is yes, there would be a difference. After you remove the oak chips from the Port, then I would expect some of the oak flavor, that would have been extracted into your fermenting must, would have been extracted by the Port. So I would expect a more subdued oak flavor in the Cyser. It sounds like you boosted the amount of oak to account for this. It could be that when the oak and Port were in contact, they combined in some way that would add a unique flavor to your Cyser. It sounds like that’s really at the heart of this experiment, and there’s only one way to find out 🙂

    These are just speculations, just letting my mind play with the idea, and it’s got me curious. So I hope you let me know how it turns out.

    I’ve tried fermenting with pressed apple pulp, like you would if you were making a second wine, and the results weren’t bad. I never got anything really impressive out of that approach, though, so I think juice would be better.


  6. James Brandt

    I need some help. Many years a go my father use to get a Dainsh Meade wine and a Cherry wine from a winery in Washington. I am almost sure on the state. I know they 0nly produced a small amount a year. It was very much a desert wine and especially great over ice Cream. I have looked every where. Does any of this ring a bell. I would LOVE to find this winery.
    James Brandt

  7. Erroll Post author

    Hi James,

    I know that the Lopez Island winery makes blackberry and raspberry dessert wines. The Hoodsport winery also makes blackberry and raspberry wines that, while sweet, aren’t meant to be dessert wines. I make my own cherry wine at home. But I don’t know of a Washington winery that makes a dessert cherry wine.

    So if you absolutely have to have that particular sweet cherry wine, I’m not going to be much help. You might want to try one of the Lopez’ offerings though.


  8. Rich


    What are your thoughts about degassing Mead just before bottling (as well as early in the fermentation process)?


  9. Erroll Post author

    Hello Rich,

    If you’re going to bottle quickly, then you should degass. If you bulk age long enough (I bulk age my meads at least a year), then it isn’t necessary. If you’re going to degass, then I don’t think it matters when you do it – as long as you wait until fermentation has ended.



  10. gene

    Erroll: your apple wine was a pleasant surprise. Well, done! As you said, not sweet, it was refreshing.

    thanks for sharing it with us.

    gene and karen

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