When you talk to some wine-makers with new families you can almost be certain you will hear the same complaint, “I don’t have time for making wine any more.” When you inquire into why, the most common statement is, “I have to wait for the kids to go to bed, and by then I’m too tired.” I thought this way as well, but one day I figured it would be fun to let my two year old help me make wine. A lot of wine-makers would look at the alcohol aspect and automatically frown on any input from their children. This is a valid concern but wine-making is a process just like cooking or making jam. The fermentation and alcohol production comes later when your kid is tucked safely in bed.
When I introduced my child to wine-making I gave him some small tasks such as turning on the tap to help me clean the equipment. After that I gave him the spoon and he was thrilled to stir the wine in the bucket while I added the ingredients. When it was time for racking I had him hold on to the hose, while the wine transferred from the bucket to the carboy. During the degassing stage I gave him the ever important job of holding on to the airlock. By the way, he did a excellent job! During bottling he put the corks into the corker and placed the shrink seals on top of the bottles.
By doing this I was partaking in an activity that I enjoy while spending valuable time with my son. Make sure you supervise and pick the proper activities to let your child participate in. You want to make sure that it’s fun and safe for both of you. Children do not care what you’re doing as long as they can do it with you. I can honestly say that making this wine was the most fun batch I have ever produced. So the next time you’re thinking about putting on a batch think about including a little helper. You may be surprised how much fun and helpful they can be.