by Wine Alliance Treasurer Mike Stubbs
This is the first of three parts being written concentrating on keeping track of your wine hobby or business.
If you are interested in making wine for personal use, this part is for you. I will not be addressing licensing or any regulation as well as any necessary chemical testing in this dialogue.
Making wine as a hobby will require some equipment in order to be able to process your grapes. From initial crushing, through fermentation and aging, to bottling your juice when it is ready, will require a financial investment. Added to that investment, is the cost of purchasing grapes from someone else or the time and expense of planting your own vineyard. My recommendation is to keep track of ALL of your expenditures right from the start. A small press, a tank for fermentation and a barrel for aging along with bottling supplies will add up very fast.
Two reasons for this recommendation, are first, when you complete the process and have a certain number of bottles filled, you and your friends will be interested in what that entire process cost as compared to going to the store and purchasing wine over the counter. Of course, the enjoyment of producing your own wine as a hobby is hard to put a value on. Second, and far more important, is that if the hobby leads to starting your own winery, all of your investments will be needed for your accountant to list as depreciable assets and/or expenses.