The week prior to the North Haven Rotary Club's 11th Annual Day of Wine & Roses, Brian Testa told the club that his avocation has always been to become a great wine maker. Stating that he comes from a long line of winemakers, he said that he recalls his grandfather sending him down to the basement to siphon wine from a large barrel to a smaller bottle to bring it up to use for an evening meal. Testa has been making his own wine in his garage for more than six years, and has repeatedly won in the Rotary club’s competition. He said that today’s wine making is different than it was in his grandfather’s day. Now wine can be made in a variety of ways, ranging from using fresh grapes as his ancestors did, to using grape juices, concentrates, or purchasing kits with everything needed right in the box.
The accomplished wine maker said that he enjoys his favorite past time, adding that it is both fun and easy; and said that he is constantly trying to make the perfect wine. He also described the many types of wines that can be made at home. He said that his wife likes the white varieties, while he prefers the hardy reds, and said that he has searched globally to find the best ingredients to make his wine, recently finding a company that imports grapes from the Tuscany area of Italy. The award winning resident repeatedly emphasized that the key to making good wine is patience, adding that you can’t keep testing it or sampling it as it matures because it will be ruined. Testa also pointed out that reds take longer than whites to reach the right point when they are ready to consume, and cautioned that air exposure is the worst condition for most wines, especially whites which should always be refrigerated.
Lately, he has been experimenting with mixing and blending different wines to achieve the “perfect” wine, one task that he admits is not easy. Having entered his wines in various regional competitions, Testa states that he is not satisfied with most of his wines and is always learning, tweaking, and adjusting his methods to make them better. He has also educated himself in his craft by reading extensively, visiting wineries, and asking questions of professional wine makers. He closed his comments saying that much of the experience is based upon personal tasting preference and said that he has learned to identify specific flavors within a wine, such as the taste of oak. Early reports indicate that the quality of his home made wine has been recognized at the Day of Wine & Roses, yet again. Results of the competition and the success of the event will be reported once they are released.