Everyone knows someone (or knows of someone) who makes their own wine, right.  And when we came across a US company that’s offering wine making equipment that can be used at home alongside a computer program to create, it kind of got us thinking whether they might want to consider an ‘add-on’ to the system that would be able to make brandy…

So what is it?  Well, the WinePod is an all in one fermenting, pressing and aging tank.  It’s uber-cool, with a wooden and brushed steel finished, and stands a full four feet in height (it would need to, as it holds 75 litres – enough to produce four cases of wine).

make-your-brandy-at-home

The WinePod was spawned in California’s Silicon Valley (where else) by one Greg Snell.  In an interview with the BBC he said he thought “there was a growing market for sophisticated, do it yourself winemaking.”

He said, “If you want to enjoy a bottle of wine you can just go to the store and buy…  But if you drink a bottle of wine you created, or perhaps more importantly, share a bottle of wine you’ve created and it’s good, that’s a completely different experience.”

The history of the project can be traced back to 2005, but it took until 2007 for enough capital to be raised for the project to be started in earnest.  In partnership with other Silicon Valley ‘techies’ Snell produced and sold 150 WinePods.  But then disaster struck, the financial crisis hit hard and funding was withdrawn.  The business had to be closed down.

winepod-1

But Snell was not one to give up easily, and this year re-launched his Wine Pod.  And with a planned launch in China next year, maybe this will be the next big ‘must-have’ gadget of 2014.

The complete kit comes with everything you need to create Pinot Noir, Syrah, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc or Cabernet Sauvignon.  You add grapes to the machine and then link up to your home computer where you’ll have installed the WinePod software.  The program then takes over, guiding you through the fermenting, pressing and monitoring needed to create wine.  It measures the temperature, acidity and allows you to make adjustments according to your own preferences.  A few months later, your wine is ready to bottle and drink.

Now, why not make brandy?

But we think Snell is missing out on a big opportunity here. Because how about an add-on to produce brandy? Might be fun, eh!  And with various different levels of the WinePod available, it surely wouldn’t be difficult to produce.  After all, many people produce beer at home, but it would be far cooler to say that you distill your own brandy…

Mind you, the WinePod certainly isn’t cheap.  The basic model starts at $1,999 US,right though to a complete kit that’ll set you back a cool $8,999.

You could get 2 decanters of Remy Martin Louis XIII for that, plus a couple of grand in change…   But we must say, it certainly would be fun to create your own brandy.

Mr Snell. We have a proposition for you: Let’s add a pot still (a charentais one of course) for around $270 – made of copper. So once you have made your wine at home, you can actually distill at home.

charantais-pot-still

You can actually buy this pot still here.

Once you are done with distilling, you would need distill again we suggest. Because double distilled is awesome. Then, you need to age your eau-de-vie – the liquid alcohol you got there. We suggest you take a 3 litre oak barrel and and keep that brandy in there for at least one year, or two.

Here is one we found on ebay, it’s made of French oak of course:

oak-barrel

We would be more than excited to try this but on the other hand make no mistake: Distilling brandy, ageing it etc. is a very, very complex procedure. Read more about distilling and ageing.

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Jacki has been with Cognac Expert from virtually the beginning. She's the senior editor of the blog, and has spent much of her life living in rural France. Today she's based back in the UK, where she splits her working life between writing for Cognac Expert and working as a Paramedic at a large regional hospital.

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