Homemade Wine: Great Memories

My grandfather made homemade wine, and so did many Italian immigrants who came to the United States. It was a great tradition, and many people will tell you great stories about the annual fall event.

Those who sold grapes for wine would often deliver them, and they were often stacked in front of homes. The smell would fill the air, and even more so when it came time to crush the grapes. It was a painstaking process, starting with cleaning all the equipment and wooden barrels. Within a week or two, it was time to press the grapes and fill the five-gallon glass jugs with the wine. My grandfather kept his wine in barrels.

I was very young but was given a little glass, and it was no big deal. My grandparents had wine with meals, and I never saw anyone get drunk. Wine was part of the meal, and I still have a glass of wine with dinner.

Since the passing of my grandfather, no one in my extended family makes wine. The homemade wine tradition has stopped for most Italian-Americans. I have had wonderful homemade wine that was great, and some tasted like vinegar. Wine-making is an art and so much a part of our Italian heritage. Our ancestors knew the health values of wine, and we are told today that wine in moderation is good for you! Yes, homemade wine is almost gone, but not my memories!

— Prof./Cav. Philip J. DiNovo

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