Friday 24 November 2017

I've made my own since I was 12

Gerry Scullion has a degree in biotechnology but this is not strictly necessary for wine-making, he maintains.

In fact, he has been at it since he was 12 and found an old family recipe for sloe wine in his home a couple of miles outside Monaghan.

"My mum was a pioneer so I wasn't allowed to taste it. My dad said it was tasty, but he could have been humouring me!," he says.

Gerry 'laid down' a few wines during his cash-strapped college years. But it was more recently that he really got into it.

He makes "country wines" from scratch from blackberries, sloes and elderberries, which he harvests while walking in Wicklow and along the local canal banks in south Dublin.

"I've got six demijohns on the go at the moment (30 bottles). I've got a strawberry, which is really sweet and suitable as a dessert wine. The blackberry is really nice. It's nice and subtle," he says.

Wine kits are a good way to start a rewarding hobby, but he's not enthused about the seven-day packs.

"I tried one out and I wouldn't even offer it at a late night party. It was like Ribena," he says.

If you want to move beyond the DIY kits, he recommends a classic book which has been the homebrewers bible since the '60s -- First Steps in Wine Making.

And, appropriately enough, its author is one JJ Berry.

Irish Independent

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