by James Smith
When I first started winemaking, I tracked down as many winemaking books and recipes as I could and experimented with a wide variety of ingredients. I wasn’t impressed with the outcome of a lot of the published recipes! I met Peter Laycock from Pete’s Pint Pot website who introduced me to some better winemaking techniques: He showed me the practice of recipe design which enables the winemaker to make balanced wines using his “YoBrew Wine Calculator” spreadsheets. The calculators do not tell the user what ingredients make the best wine, but help the user design wines of the desired alcoholic strength and acidity of the required wine style.
Although I was now able to design and make satisfactory wines for drinking, I was keen to meet other winemakers to get their feedback on what I was producing. Taking part in the National Show has not only enabled me to win trophies for my first-place wines, but has introduced me to wine styles I otherwise never would have experienced. It has also taught me how to make these wines and helped me improve the wines I make.
I have compiled these award-winning recipes and others I feel are also notable, in order to share what I have learned. I hope you enjoy making and drinking these wines as much as I do.