I have put my kit Pinot Noir into the fermenter! It's a Vino del Vida kit from R.J. Spagnols, and from a brief search around Google Groups (Usenet) the VdV line of kits occupies the middle-to-lower-range in terms of price, ingredient quality and complexity, but has received fairly good marks from hobbyist winemakers. I got my kit for $50.
The kit came with about seven liters of Pinot Noir grape juice concentrate, and called for being diluted to 23 liters (five Imperial Gallons, or close to six U.S. gallons). I wound up spilling a cup or two of the concentrate, since the bag it came in was sort of unwieldy, but the rest of the process went fine, and the must (juice and yeast mixture) is being munched upon by the yeast as I type. The whole process of going from juice to a young wine ought to take around four weeks; aging to best taste ought to take another two to six months after that. The good news is that six gallons ought to yield thirty(!) 750ml bottles of wine, so there'll be plenty of wine to sample along the way to maturity. Here's hoping it's good stuff.
The kit also included some toasted oak powder (sawdust, really) for adding just before the yeast, and it was uncanny: my kitchen had been redolent with Grape beforehand, but adding oak to it took me back instantly to the barrel rooms I toured in Washington state this past summer. Wonderful! Dad also made the point that when the yeast really gets going (tonight or tomorrow) my house is really going to smell like a million bucks. Definitely looking forward to it.
So has this guy completely forsaken beer?
Nope, I'll be making the long-promised hazelnut porter this Saturday, before heading to Matt's to watch the Eagles pound the Patriots in the Super Bowl.
I do think I've got my fermentin' groove back.
PS. The title is a reference to my post Gentleman Brewer from back in 2002.