Saturday, September 27, 2008

Stop your whinging

Bottling wine is a tedious process... one I usually put off as long as possible.


It's been a crazy, all-over-the-map summer, and I haven't kept up with my wine making. But now fresh batches of fruits and vegetables are piling up in the freezer, waiting to be turned into wine. And before I can start brewing anew, I need to free up a few 1-gallon jugs.

Today I got down to it and bottled 7 gallons of wine: 2 gallons of mixed fruit, 1 gallon of cabbage, 1 gallon of winter squash, 1 gallon of carrot, 1 gallon of pear, and 1 of apple. Each jug gives me four 750 ml. bottles and two 375 ml. bottles. I always use at least two half-bottles (the 375 ml. size) so I can taste the batch as the wine ages. It's amazing how the taste changes with time. Something that's barely palatable after 8 months is delicious after 2 years. If anything can teach me patience (and that's by no means certain), it will be wine-making.

Next I racked 3.5 gallons into fresh jugs (knotweed, lilac, and plain old grape!). As wine ages and before fermentation stops, you transfer it (rack it) from jug to jug, leaving behind the dead yeast cells (lees) that accumulate at the bottom of the jugs. Each batch usually has to be racked once or twice before fermentation stops and the wine can be bottled.

So what's on deck? Beet wine, plum wine, peach wine, blueberry wine, linden flower wine, elderberry wine...all waiting to be magically transformed from fruit into libation. And in case you're interested, my favorite recipe book for wine-making is Making Wild Wines & Meads.

True, bottling wine is a tedious process but I won't whinge about it. Because when I step back and look at my very full wine rack, I feel warm and friendly inside. Or maybe that's just the cumulative effect of all the samples I tasted today.

3 Comments:

At September 28, 2008 at 9:33 PM , Blogger SaraGardens said...

I begin to believe you must relinquish your Impatient Person credentials. Patience may be even more a winemaker's virtue than it is a gardener's secret weapon...

Lifting a storebought glass even now, with you in mind!

 
At September 29, 2008 at 2:12 PM , Anonymous Leda Meredith said...

I look forward to that basswood wine...and am very curious about the cabbage one. Maybe when I see you on the 8th I can give you the elderberries?

 
At September 29, 2008 at 10:11 PM , Blogger Ellen Zachos said...

Absolutely! With your berries and mine we should have enough for a full batch.

 

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