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The pleasure is truly yours 

Dago Red is my favorite wine, period. It is red, nutritious, and delicious. It is most often made locally in Pennsylvania from fresh grapes shipped across the country from California in huge train cars. It is made without nitrites or nitrates or any preservatives at all.  

Since it is not preserved, there are no harmful chemicals for the human body to encounter when enjoying the wine. However, it lasts only three or four months when kept at winter garage temperature in PA and for those not willing to go to the garage for a nice drink, it lasts about a week when brought inside and kept by the fireplace.  

Once this happens, it makes a nice red wine vinegar for just a few more days before it is gone and starts to stink out the place. Despite these disadvantages, the vintners in Northeastern PA (NEPA) who make such delights legally, sell out each year. I discovered Dago Red or as I like to call it, DGR more than twenty years ago at my neighbor's table. It costs a lot to make and so it is tougher to get such gifts during the holiday season than it was in the past.    

Is it legal to make wine in Pennsylvania for personal use? 

Section 491(2) of the [PA] Liquor Code provides that wine may be produced by any person without a license, as long as the products are not for sale, and the total production does not exceed two hundred (200) gallons per calendar year. [47 P.S. § 4-491(2)]. While a person may not sell or offer for sale the wine he or she produces, he or she may use it at organized affairs, exhibitions, competitions, contests, tastings or judgings.  

Surprise spring 2015 weigh-in 

In April 2015, after three successive semi-annual checkups that included substantial weight loss, I was expecting another ten pound loss. Unfortunately, I lost nothing. I was dejected; I admit. But, since there was still Dago Red wine available from my local vintner, I drowned my sorrows that evening. In so doing, I reflected and quickly realized why I had failed to lose weight in the prior six-month period. 

After having persevered the triple diet whammy—Thanksgiving, Christmas and the dago red season in many prior years, I was ready for a loss. Then I remembered that in those years, I typically gained ten or more pounds. The 2014 vintage was excellent. I was a major consumer. The Thanksgiving and Christmas Turkeys were to die for. Everything was superlative. How could anybody lose a pound—even a fella eating just two meals a day on the Red Wine Diet?  

Upon reflection, cheating was the order of the day, not the exception. I learned that I was not invincible and that the Red Wine Diet was not as magical as I hoped it was. To this day, I am thankful that I did not gain ten pounds.  

As I write this chapter, the 2015 first shipment has arrived and it is very good. So far, I am down 62 pounds and I surely hope that I at least maintain that…but I really would like to see five or more additional in the spring 2016 Doctor Kerrigan weigh-in.  

To net it out for my readers, it was very easy to conclude that my failure to achieve any weight loss had to do with the easy availability of Dago Red from mid-November through early May in 2015. When I was weighed in April by Dr. Kerrigan, I still had several gallons left of the precious nectar left in the garage. It had yet to become red wine vinegar.   

As noted, Christmas 2014 was bountiful for sure. The supply of Dago Red was good from multiple sources, and it was plentiful. I got carried away. My favorite red wine, is called "Dago Red" by those Italians in Northeastern PA who make it and those Italians who drink it.  

The politically correct refer to it as homemade Italian wine. Since my Italian friends and the vintners call it "Dago Red," so do I. I am never corrected by the Italians but sometimes real PC aficionados try to get their whacks in. I ignore them.  

The Dago Red was great and during the period, I would often add an extra glass to my daily repertoire because it was so darn good. I always slept well during this period. I rarely missed the opportunity to share this gift at the table with my friends and quite frankly, the truth is for almost six months, I drank too much Dago Red. And, so I lost not a pound.  

It is not just the high alcohol content of up to 20% in Dago Red that adds its share of extra red wine calories to the vintage. With some sugar in the form of simple syrup added to the mix, plus the inherent richness, sweetness, and fullness of the never fully strained crushed grapes, the calories simply mount up.  

By the way, let me discuss the name a bit more. Dago Red is the moniker used for centuries in America for the wine that original Italian immigrants made from whatever grapes they could find in America. Italian grapes from the "Old Country" were way too expensive to import.  

Today's highly popular Dago Red blends are often made from a mix of Muscat and Alicante grapes. However, vintners who I know have used their own particular favorite grapes and that is why all Dago Red is different and worth trying.  

Zinfandel is a staple in fine NEPA Dago Red. Cabernet and Merlot grapes and concentrated dry wine juice packs are way too expensive for the vintners who crush-out about five to ten fifty gallon sized wooden barrels a year.  

Many Italian vintners across the country make Dago Red from other fine grape varieties. The cost of grapes is always one of the major considerations.  For example, in Northeastern PA, I know that vintners use Zinfandel, Muscat, Alicante, Shiraz, Grenache, Thomson, and even Blue Concord grape types to make their "brew." Enjoy!  

There is a "Dago Red" full recipe using Concord at http://www.homebrewit.com/dago-red-wine-recipe-with-concord-grapes/    

Personally, I know of no vintner in NEPA who makes DGR with Concord grapes. When my dad once brought DGR home as a gift from his friends at Stegmaier Brewery where he worked, it was always dirt cellar dry. Today it is much more pleasant but nothing like Concord sweet.  

To be correct, for the most part, most commercially produced Concord wines are finished sweet. However, dry versions are possible if adequate fruit ripeness is achieved. My interest is piqued on Dago Red from Concord grapes so this will be explored in future articles on the WineDiets.Com Web Site.

chieved. My interest is piqued on Dago Red from Concord grapes so this will be explored in later articles on the WineDiets.COM Web Site.