The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought.
- Sun Tzu
As with all adventures, many issues crop up after the first blush of excitement wears off. Weather, for one. Japan (where we live) has the perfect climate for a litany of mouthwatering treats, but wine is not one of them. High humidity and a long wet tsuyu (monsoon) season make it difficult for grapes, which are prone to fungal attacks. Then there is the land problem. Tokyo is like New York -- a concrete jungle, all office and condo buildings, with scarcely a patch of dirt for gardening. Both K and I are blessed with balconies, so we do have space, just not ideal space. Grapes grown in containers tend to vine profusely, but bear little fruit.
Not exactly ideal conditions for embarking on a new venture. However, we weren't setting out to make the next Opus One or Screaming Eagle; just a nice organic table red for pleasant evenings. In Italy, for instance, where many families have their own vegetable patch, villages will pitch in grapes from their gardens to make a village wine, which is shared by all.
So, while K capered off to Hong Kong for the week, I busied myself in buying books and googling winemaking sites.
Books (thank goodness for Amazon for us living abroad):
The Way To Make Wine, by Sheridan Warrick
From Vines to Wines , by Jeff Cox
The Grape Grower: A Guide to Organic Viticulture, by Ron Lombaugh
Some interesting sites:
On basic winemaking (including other fruits and flowers; perhaps we should make a rose wine too?).
On home bottling.
A winery in Yamanashi -- apparently some Japan wines have won awards recently. We'll have to go visit.