Making Wine

I’m often asked how I make wine. This video is the best explanation I have:

My father, Amelio Micheli
My father, Amelio Micheli, filling the barrels with water to seal leaks.

Making Wine Without Chemicals

I started making wine 22 years ago, in 1996.  As a young boy I remember seeing two large oak barrels in my cellar. My father used to make wine, but had stopped by the time I was old enough to start remembering things. But I remembered those barrels collecting dust in the basement and in 1996, when my father was having dinner at my house, I put the bug in his ear: I told him I was thinking about making wine.

His eyes lit up and he said he’d like to make it with me. “Could we do it at your house?” he asked.  “Sure,” I said and the next day he brought his friend Alfredo to my house to start building a room in my cellar to keep the heat of the furnace away from the wine.

That first fall, he told me everything he could remember his father told him about making wine, including some of the superstitious things that I still follow today: change the wine from glass to glass on Saint Martin’s day and always decant during a waning moon. Find out more


Glass of wine
The finished product is good to drink in about three months but better at six.

I make wine the old school way: no special cleaning chemicals, no preservatives, no sulfites. I simply crush the grapes into an old oak barrel and let nature do its work. Although some modern-day wine makers use steel vats or even rubber barrels, I believe using a wooden barrel makes the wine taste better with deeper, complex flavors.

After that, it is simply a matter of changing the wine from glass container to glass container over the next several months to allow the wine to mature without sitting on the lees: the dregs or sediment at the bottom.

However, before I can start crushing preparations need to be made as follows:

    • I clean my wine room (a makeshift room in my cellar that keeps the heat from the furnace away from the wine.  Find out more 

A Micro-Winery Miracle: How To Make A Really Small Batch

A man and a woman holding glasses of wine
My friend Teresa made a mini-batch of wine with grapes she grew in her backyard in Massachusetts.