Make Your Own Wine with Chiarugi Hardware

On my quest to find more places in Chicago that can help the average person make wine, I stumbled upon Chiarugi (KEY-AH-RU-GEE for those of you who have a hard time with Italian pronunciation) Hardware in Little Italy at 1412 W. Taylor Street.  As soon as I walked in I was greeted by the owner, Paul Rinaldi. Paul grew up in the neighborhood, and his family has owned the store for over 50 years.  The store's focus has shifted from supplying italian families to helping young University students, but he seems more than happy with the change.  The shop is full of tools and basic household supplies, and I was able to pick up two small propane tanks for the grill.  They also have many basic supplies for wine making like yeasts, acids, corks, bottles, and bentonite for filtering. 

Paul knows a bit about making wine, and all about the supplies.  A couple essentials which are not at the store are barrels and juice.  The oak barrels have become somewhat pricey to keep an inventory, but are available at a number of online sites.  The juice or whole grapes are available yearly in a lot on 35th and Racine from August to October.  The supplier gets all product from California, and I will have more info when the lot opens.

In the meantime, stop in and say hi to Paul, grab some supplies, and wait for the juice to roll in.  You could be on your way to making some good homemade wine!