A CPA from Clear Lake who spends his workdays pouring over financial records to check for red ink is making red wine as a hobby.
David Underwood joined the North Iowa Wine Club about six years ago. He likes a dry wine, especialy reds, so he usually buys grapes from out-of-state that come in a kit.
“You can get real complex if you want, but it can be quite easy and it doesn’t take that long,” Underwood says.
The wine kits Underwood uses have what’s called a carboy. It’s a food-grade plastic jug used to ferment the wine.
“I’ve gotten gold and blue ribbons on my reds as well as my whites,” Underwood says. “…My white was the ‘Best of Show’ at the amateur wine making at the State Fair this year.”
Underwood got his first taste of “communion wine” at church when he was a kid — and he didn’t like the taste. The wine he’s making — and enjoying these days — isn’t that pricey.
“The most expensive thing is when I go out and buy a bottle of wine so that I can get an empty bottle to put my wine in it,” Underwood says. “But you can make a very good bottle of wine….if you count the cost of the cork that you buy — anywhere from $3.50 to $7.”
Underwood generally makes six-gallon batches of wine. That produces about 30 bottles of wine. Red wine tastes best, he says, when it sits in the bottle and ages for six to nine months.
Underwood is the public member of the State Revenue Estimating Conference, the three-member panel that meets three times a year to establish an official prediction of state tax revenue. The figures are used by lawmakers to draft the state budget.