“The purpose- where I start- is the idea of use. It is not recycling, its reuse.”-Issey Miyake
I like making wine. Let me restate that, I love making wine! I love growing the fruit, harvesting the fruit, adding sugar and yeast to ferment with the fruit, racking and tasting the wine as it ferments, ages, and finally reaches the desirable taste to be bottled.
The most expensive item in bottling wine is the cost of the wine bottles. Brand-new wine bottles cost about $15 for a dozen bottles, which works out to $1.25 per bottle. Obviously, I reuse my own wine bottles, as well as have a couple of friends who save bottles for me to help cut down on the cost of making homemade wine. Reusing wine bottles just makes sense. It is part of a basic frugal and simple living plan, which allows me to live well on my budget. My basic financial plan is to spend less money than I make in salary, which sometimes is easier said than done.
I make about 220-300 bottles of wine yearly, so I use quite a bit of bottles. I have often picked up extra empty bottles of wine from a local restaurant, but I also have received hundreds of bottles from local wineries for free by simply asking for them. Most wineries do not reuse their wine bottles; instead they choose to purchase new ones, so I tote them home to clean them. It is not difficult to clean wine bottles, but it does take quite a bit of time and elbow grease; which is probably why the wineries choose to purchase new bottles instead of reusing them.
First, I remove the foil found around the neck of the wine bottle and then soak the bottle in hot soapy water. After about 45 minutes of soaking, I use a razor blade to scrape off the wine label. I then put the bottle into my dishwasher and then store into boxes after it has completely dried. When I get ready to use the bottles I rewash them in hot soapy water and sterilize them by boiling them in hot water with a bit of bleach. Make sure to let the bottles cool to room temperature before filling with wine.
Besides saving quite a bit of cash by reusing wine bottles, I feel like I am being environmentally helpful by cutting down on waste. I hope this post inspires you to seek out ways to reuse, recycle, or repurpose materials instead of buying new items as you develop thrifty habits.