Getting to Know Your Surgeon: Wine Making with Dr. Davis Tsai

Posted on Feb 11, 2013, by

Wine making with Dr. TsaiThe women at the Kennedy Center gave me a home wine-making kit for Christmas last year and that started my wine making hobby. Since then, I have been experimenting with several wine varieties and flavors. With the kit, I have been using pre-pressed juices to make wine. The price of the juices varies depending on region, country, year, and whether it is a single harvest or a blend from different vineyards. I even paid my son and niece to run through the woods and collect frost grapes native to Wisconsin and Minnesota to see what kind of wine they would produce. Unfortunately, the results of this batch tasted like V-8 juice and had to be discarded. Because I didn’t have a press, I had to squeeze the juice of the frost grapes in a juice bag by hand, which turned out to be both labor intensive and undrinkable. But I have to say, my son and I are having a lot of fun trying new combinations of grapes and techniques to make drinkable wines. It becomes even more of a challenge as I don’t drink and my son sure doesn’t. I have to try out each new batch on my wife or other willing volunteers.

Because the wine making kit that the Kennedy Center women gave me is so extensive, I can vary the flavor of the wine by changing yeast species. I can increase the alcohol content to as high as 18%, which is higher than U.S. store bought wine, which ranges between 12% and 14%, and I can also lower the alcohol content. I also tend to use less preservative. The white wines can be drunk in a few months, but the reds have to sit for over a year to develop their flavor completely.

It is a fun project for my son and me to do together. Because I’m not a drinker, I have been giving away my creations. We can make about 250 gallons before the tax man shows up. Luckily, we’re only making 3 gallons and giving it away to friends and colleagues. The good news is, wine making is less labor intensive than cigar making, an activity I attempted some years ago with disastrous results.

About the Kennedy Center for the Hip and Knee:

If you think you’re a good candidate for shoulder, knee or hip surgery, consider a Wisconsin orthopedic surgeon at The Kennedy Center for the Hip and Knee in Oshkosh. Our doctors are board certified with the American Board of Orthopedic Surgeons and are members of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.