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Learn to make your own wine at home

Beginners' class offered by Sacramento Home Winemakers

Green grapes on vine
Learn to turn raw grapes into wine in a beginners' class next month. (Photo:
Debbie Arrington)

Got grapes? Maybe it’s time to learn how to make wine!

Sacramento Home Winemakers, a local club devoted to helping folks safely make their own vino, is hosting a beginners’ class, “Winemaking 101.” Set for Aug. 4 and 6, it’s a wonderful opportunity to learn a lot about the basics of turning raw grapes or fresh juice into something drinkable for years to come.

It’s not uncommon in our region for gardeners to grow grapes; vineyards obviously thrive in our climate. More and more grapevines are covering fences and trellises in suburban backyards.

Sometimes, those vines were planted by someone else – and came with the house.

“People are moving into new digs with small, home wine-grape vineyards, but they don’t know how to make wine,” says Gin Yang of Sacramento Home Winemakers.

Or you can get your grapes from someone else; this group has sources for grapes, too.

This class is designed for those aspiring DIY winemakers as well as a refresher course for folks who have made their own wine before. And the class comes in time for this fall’s grape harvest and the group’s New Winemakers Group Crush.

With seven hours of instruction, the workshop is divided into two parts: 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 4, via Zoom; and in person 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6, in Granite Bay. (Location supplied after registration.)

“We’ll guide you through the essential steps, throw in a little chemistry, taste wines, and have lots of fun,” say the organizers.

The workshop includes:

-- Steps for making white and red wines.

-- Resources for getting supplies and chemicals.

-- Safe use of winemaking equipment.

-- Where to source wine grapes.

-- Finding mentors and resources.

-- Learn about this harvest’s New Winemakers Group Crush.

Space is limited. Registration is open now. The workshop is free to SHW members; $30 for non-members. But join the club and workshop fee will be waived.

Questions? Contact WM101 Coordinator Joe McGillivray at 916-261-9438 or

Details and link to register: .


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Sept. 24:

This week our weather will be just right for fall gardening. What are you waiting for?

* Now is the time to plant for fall. The warm soil will get these veggies off to a fast start.

* Keep harvesting tomatoes, peppers, squash, melons and eggplant. Tomatoes may ripen faster off the vine and sitting on the kitchen counter.

* Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.

* Cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.

* Fertilize deciduous fruit trees.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.

* Transplant cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower as well as lettuce seedlings.

* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials. That includes bearded iris; if they haven’t bloomed in three years, it’s time to dig them up and divide their rhizomes.

* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.

* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with “eyes” about an inch below the soil surface.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

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