Wine Waste and the Environment

chicken food

You just can’t make wine without crushing some fruit or veggies. And the pulp waste that is left after the first fermentation was a concern of ours. The fruit of choice would be bagged, crushed, and covered with water to form the wine must. At the end of the first fermentation period, usually five to seven days, we would remove the pulp and have to dispose of it. For one gallon of wine, the amount of waste is negligible. But if we considered that, on average, one gallon of wine produces about a half pound of solid waste, when we start making 25 gallons of wine at a time, we are looking at over 10 pounds of waste. Yes, we could dispose of it into the garbage, but, we needed to see if there was a better way.

We realized that most grape wines are made from pressed grapes, so, why not press the fruit, extract the juice, and use the juice for the wine. We borrowed a juicer from a friend and discovered that although it added a step before making the wine, there was no messy bag of pulp, and when we tasted the wine several months later, it had a cleaner and crisper taste than the wine that was made the traditional “home wine” way,

Our next step was to purchase a fruit press. The volume of juice that we got when we pressed the fruit was about the same as when we juiced the fruit. The must of the wine was clearer so we don’t need to rack the wine as many times before bottling it.

But, what about the pulp? We still have to dispose of the pulp somehow. Putting it into the garbage was not the way we wanted to go. So, we decided to treat our hens with the fruit pulp. This is a win-win for us. We can eliminate tossing the pulp into the garbage and the hens enjoy the change of pace with the fruit pulp.

The only thing we need to consider now is the liquid waste during the racking process. The amount of alcohol in the waste is minute and it is diluted by the water used to clean the carboys. Again, the waste and water disposed of from one carboy is negligible but we needed to think about the amount we will have when we are doing hundreds of gallons of wine. The liquid waste can be caught in a reservoir and further diluted and spread on our fields. Although this may not fertilize the ground or be of great benefit to the plants, it is environmentally safe for the fields and will keep this waste out of the water ways, septic fields, and ground waters.

All in all, we feel that this process is an environmentally sound practice for our future winery.

KeiLin Farm, a producer of farm fresh beef and eggs, as well as premium hay, is located in Rose Township, Michigan and is in the process of acquiring the required licenses to become a small wine maker.

Is it Really Diet Wine?


Keith called me into the living room this morning because the news was going to report on a new diet wine that would be out for Thanksgiving.

Diet wine? Okay diet, to me, means less calories, and often, less flavor. Interesting. I like my wine, so I’ve never been overly concerned about how many calories I’ve been consuming so I thought I’d look up how many calories are in a glass of wine.

Calories in alcohol

It turns out that 1 gram of alcohol contains 7 calories. It doesn’t matter if it is alcohol in wine, alcohol in beer, or alcohol in vodka. Drink 1 gram and you’ve consumed 7 calories.

On the other hand, 1 gram of sugar contains only 4 calories.

Wine is the product of fermenting the sugars in the fruits. Additional sugar may be added to the process if the fruit does not contain enough sugar.

Amount of alcohol

Given that 1 gram of alcohol is 7 calories, we need to know the amount of alcohol in our bottle of wine.

If you look at the label, it typically shows a number as a percent ABV – ABV in the alcohol based on volume – so a wine that is labeled at 11.5% ABV has that percentage of alcohol in the wine. If the wine is labeled “table wine” it contains between 10% and 14% alcohol. Dessert wines are between 14% and 24%.

Since the caloric value of the wine is based on the amount of alcohol in it, the higher the alcohol, the higher the calories. On average, a glass of wine can contain 100 to 300 calories.

Size of glass

This is critical to the amount of calories being consumed. The bigger the glass, the more the calories. Wine glasses, like any other glasses, come in an assortment of shapes and sizes. Most establishment pour a 6 oz. serving, some may pour a 5 oz. glass, but, hey, in my living room, I may pour 8 oz. in my glass.

Math time

Let’s see how this all adds up. The formula for determining the amount of calories in a glass of wine is:

(glass size in grams x alcohol % x 7) + (glass size in liters x sugar level x 4)

To keep it simple, we will say that there is no residual sugar and no added sugar to our glass of wine.

We are using a 6 oz. serving which is 170.097 grams. We also have two bottles of wine – the diet wine at 9.5% ABV and our favorite wine at 11% ABV.

Diet wine computes at 170.097 x 9.5% X 7 = 113 calories

Favorite wine computes at 170.097 x 11% x 7 = 131 calories

Oh, but wait! The bottle of the diet wine says it is only 85 calories. Is our math wrong? No. Our math is correct. Let’s look at the bottle again and check out the serving size. Their caloric value was based on a 5 oz. serving.

Which wine?

Diet is a great advertising ploy. The taste and flavor that the drinker likes and wants should determine the wine that is chosen.

There are low-alcohol wines available – German Kabinett Riesling at 8% ABV and Italian Moscato d’Asti at 5.5% ABV are two example. And these wines, even though they are not labeled “diet” are lower in calories as well.

Enjoy your wine because you like the flavor not because of the calories.

KeiLin Farm, a producer of farm fresh beef and eggs, as well as premium hay, is located in Rose Township, Michigan and is in the process of acquiring the required licenses to become a small wine maker.

Demystifying Wine

glass of wine_rec

Since we’ve started this new venture in making our own wine, we are often asked – isn’t this hard to do? Don’t you need a lot of special stuff? Doesn’t it take a lot of time?

Our best way to answer those questions is to use a process that everyone understands – making apple cider. Most of us have visited a cider mill and watched as the presses squeezed every drop of juice from the apples, sent the juice through a maze of tubes, and the finished product was bottled by the gallon, quart or pint.

So, how does this relate to wine?

The product

Dandelion field

The cider mill picks or purchases bushels of apples to make the cider.

As a wine maker, I have a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and flowers that I can pick for my wine in addition to the traditional grapes. Unlike the cider mill, that can only produce cider with apples are in season, a winery, such as ours, can start a batch of wine selecting from the produce that is in season.

Both are so similar – they rely on produce that is in season.

The juice


The apples in the cider mill are pressed, usually in a cloth sandwiched between wood that exerts a tremendous force on the apples. The result is the juice.

The wine process is similar. Grapes, apples, and other fruit can be pressed in order to obtain the juice for the wine. Vegetables are often cooked to release their juices, and flowers are steeped like tea. More delicate fruits, like strawberries, can be run through a juicer.

In any case, both the cider mill and the winery rely on a method of juicing the produce.



Here is one area where there is a difference in the process. At the cider mill, once the juice is flowing, it goes right to bottling.

A winery needs to add sugar, other optional ingredients, and yeast to the juice of the selected produce. This is the step that transforms ordinary juice into an alcoholic beverage. The amount of sugar determines the level of alcohol in the finished product. This process typically takes four to six months to complete.


HeavenlyPeach r

The standard containers for apple cider are plastic jugs in gallon, quart, or pint sizes.

Wine can be bottled in the standard 750 ml bottles or the one-serving 187 ml bottles. The bottles can be clear or tinted and labeled accordingly.

The products are now ready for purchase.

The wine making process is not extremely difficult and it doesn’t need a lot of “special” equipment. Yes, it does take time to process, but, we guarantee you, it’s worth the wait.

KeiLin Farm, a producer of farm fresh beef and eggs, as well as premium hay, is located in Rose Township, Michigan and is in the process of acquiring the required licenses to become a small wine maker.


Vineyard, Winery, Vintner

The English language is confusing enough without variations of words that seem to mean the same thing but don’t.


As we are embarking on our journey to become a licensed Small Wine Maker on our farm, we hear different comments. The most frequent is – “Where are your grapes?” Wine without grapes was covered a few blog posts ago – Wine Gone Country. Today, we’ll attempt to clear up the confusion between some of these other wine terms.


A vineyard is an expanse of land that grows grapes. These grapes may be used for wine, but vineyards can also grow grapes for grapes for raisins, non-alcoholic grape juice, or plain old eating. It’s the type of grapes that determines what it is grown for.

Wine grapes


Many of the wines that we enjoy are named after the grapes that are used to make them – Chardonnay is a green-skinned grape used to make white wine; Riesling is a white grape that can be used to make white and sparkling white wines.

Chablis is made from chardonnay grapes in the Chablis region of in France; champagne also uses the chardonnay grapes grown in the Champagne region of France. Each variation has a different taste based on the soil is was grown in as well as the method of fermentation.

Yield per acre

Because of the picture that we see of vineyards, we have been led to believe that a vineyard must have a lot of good, land to make it worthwhile. This is not true.

The saying “the worst the soil, the better the wine” is true. Many vineyards are in areas that are unsuitable for other agricultural products. But, this doesn’t mean that there is no or low yield. Vineyards, on average, produce 2 to 10 tons of grapes per acre! Here’s the math – one ton of grapes can produce 60 cases or 720 bottles of wine. So even in the poorest soil, an acre of grape vines can produce about 1,440 bottles of wine!



A winery is a building or business that produces wine. A winery may be associated and/or be part of a vineyard, but that is not always true. Many wineries want to focus on the production of the wine and not have to worry about growing the grapes.

Wine making locations

In addition to the well-known European winemaking regions, Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley in California, New York’s Finger Lakes, and certain areas in the northern part of Michigan, like Traverse City, are known for their grapes, vineyards, and wineries.

But, a winery doesn’t have to be adjacent to or even near a vineyard. The grapes can be shipped anywhere and some wineries use different fruits and plants to make their wines. Wine can be made out of almost any fruit, select vegetables, and some flowers – like dandelions and lilac blossoms.

Farm, Micro, and Urban wineries

Wineries can be located almost anywhere. Farm wineries use the produce from their farm or other local farmers, micro-wineries are similar to micro-breweries where the amount of wine produced is limited, but often varied. Urban wineries have been sprouting out like micro-breweries in major cities around the country. The ability to make wine anywhere give the public the opportunity to try new and different flavors without having to travel far.



A vintner is a winemaker. Being a winemaker can be an occupation for a person, or it can pertain to a winery that produces custom wines for others. There are some “wineries” that do not actually make their own wine, but hire another winery (vintner) to make a select number of flavors and put a label on the wine for that particular winery.

No matter where the fruit is grown, where it’s produced, or where it is consumed, wines have become a very popular drink over the past few years.

KeiLin Farm, a producer of farm fresh beef and eggs, as well as premium hay, is located in Rose Township, Michigan and is in the process of acquiring the required licenses to become a small wine maker.

Wine Gone Country

HeavenlyPeach r

So we get this conversation goes on almost every time we say we make wine and are planning on opening a winery –

Us: Would you like to try one of the wines we made this year?

Person: You make wine? Where are your grape vines?

Us: Wine doesn’t have to be made with grapes.

Person: Really, but I thought…

And that’s what everyone, well, almost everyone thinks until they try our Dandelion, Apple Rhubarb, Pineapple, or Watermelon wine that doesn’t have a drop of grape in it.

It’s called country wine. Why country? When you grow fruit or have a neighbor who does, and there’s an overabundance, you have a few choices – can, freeze, make more jam/jelly, pies, or turn the surplus into fruit!

But country wine doesn’t stop with fruit! We’ve made carrot wine and, that apple rhubarb wine that I mentioned, rhubarb is technically a vegetable.

Even flowers, like dandelions, lilacs, and roses can be fermented into wine. Yes, we’ve done dandelion and lilac – both were quite good – and plan to try rose later this year.

Like any food based process, the outcome will only be as good as the produce you are using. So, only use fresh, firm fruit or vegetables. If they look like they are about to spoil they are not a good choice. Flowers should be in their prime. I like to gather my dandelions when they are in full bloom. It they haven’t really opened, they aren’t ready for the bucket. Likewise, if the petals are ready to drop, their sugar level and flavor has probably dropped as well. And it goes without saying, no herbicides or other chemicals should have been sprayed on this produce.

So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead, open up a bottle of country wine, kick back, and enjoy!

KeiLin Farm, a producer of farm fresh beef and eggs, as well as premium hay, is located in Rose Township, Michigan and is in the process of acquiring the required licenses to become a small wine maker.

Golden Beauties

Dandelion field

The beginning of May turns our farm into a field of gold – dandelion gold. And though most people who want a lush, green lawn do everything in their power to kill off the dandelion, this flower is so beneficial.

Dandelions are a source of vitamins. This is why they have been used in herbal medicines by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. They have been part of Chinese traditional medicine for over a thousand years. Dandelion tea is a gentle diuretic that can flush toxins from the liver and keep the digestive system functioning properly.

They are important to bees and other insects. Interesting enough, although the dandelion has a nectar that has been labeled the first food of the bees in spring, they do not require the bees or other insects for pollination. Dandelions have a root system that will continue to produce those beautiful golden flowers. The roots can grow as deep as 15 feet and, if the root clones are divided, one inch of root is all that is needed to start another dandelion!

The roots are beneficial if you have clay soil as they break up and aerate the ground. They pull up the calcium from the ground that could be useful to other plants. So, in a sense, dandelions can help fertilize the lawn!

Dandelion roots have been used as a coffee substitute and can be priced at over $30.00 a pound! At the table, dandelions are a powerhouse of nutrition. The leaves have more vitamin C than tomatoes and more vitamin A than spinach. They also contain potassium, iron, and calcium.

In addition to salad and tea, dandelions give cookies, jelly, and ice cream a unique flavor.

At our farm, May is dandelion picking time. We use eight cups of dandelion petals in every gallon of wine that we make.

boiling dandelions

So, don’t reach for the herbicide if you see dandelions in your yard. Pick them and enjoy them with your favorite meal as a side dish or a drink!

KeiLin Farm, a producer of farm fresh beef and eggs, as well as premium hay, is located in Rose Township, Michigan and is in the process of acquiring the required licenses to become a small wine maker.

How Beneficial is Wine?

glass of wine_rec

Since we are hoping to open a winery in the next year or so, I thought I would add articles on wine to this blog as well.

Winemaking is as old as civilization itself and has been a part of living. Jesus turned water into wine at the wedding feast so the host would not lose face by running out of wine!

But wine is an alcohol. Is it bad for us or as good as some of the articles want us to believe?

Wines contain antioxidants. The amount depends on the fruit, usually grapes, that the wine is made from and the age of the wine. Several antioxidants are lost as the wine ages, so, maybe the vintage wine in the cellar tastes good, but, it may not be as good for your body as a younger wine.

How quickly do these antioxidants disappear? One study reported that 90% of the anthocyanin* content is lost in the first few months. So while none of the flavor is lost, the health benefits that we are looking for could be.

Wine also contains tannins. While grapes, red grapes in particular, have the highest concentration of tannins. Tannin can also be added to a wine if the fruit does not contain a sufficient amount. In wine, the tannin adds the bitterness, astringency, and dryness to the wine. It is also a natural antioxidant, which is good for the wine and those of us who drink it!

As far as most research goes, there is no conclusive proof that wine is as good for you as we would like to believe, but, just eating grapes would not provide the same amount of tannin and other antioxidants that are contained in wine. That is because all grapes are not created equal. American grapes, regardless of how red they might be, do not have the same benefits as red wine grapes. That’s because it was bred out of them!

My philosophy is – eat a well-balanced diet and pair it with a good wine!

Na zdrowie!

* Anthocyanins are water-soluble vacuolar pigments that may appear red, purple, or blue depending on the pH.
KeiLin Farm, a producer of farm fresh beef and eggs, as well as premium hay, is located in Rose Township, Michigan and is in the process of acquiring the required licenses to become a small wine maker.