Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I think we can do it!!!!

Here we have a bottle of the "accidental wine". I started out as a bushel of concorde grapes meant to become juice for breakfast. However shortly after my DW Pelenaka made the purchase, we both found ourselves working a ton of hours or being stuck on other projects. So, here we are with grapes in the fridge, in the old ice box downstairs, and in a cooler. After several days a few get moldy. After a week alot of them are moldy. Wife is upset we're going to have to make compost out of them. I'm upset we're both working overtime, rather than making extra money, we're throwing money away. Finally I get a day off, the kids are at thier dad's in texas, pelenaka is working and I'm looking at a bunch of grapes. I start to thinking, maybe they'll make wine good enough to cook with. Maybe I should try? If they bomb as wine they'll turn into vinegar. We can use vinegar too. I have some champagne yeast and some flip top beer bottles set aside for a batch of homemade rootbeer that still hasn't been made. I also have some old wine jugs and air locks. What the heck! I start sorting grapes. The bad ones head for the compost bucket. The good ones get pinched between my fingers into a large clean stewpot. When I'm done I have almost two gallons of crushed grapes in the stewpot. I know the inside of red grapes are white, and so is thier juice. To turn the juice red the grapes need to ferment skins and all. I toss a cup of sugar into the grapes along with half the packet of yeast. Everything gets stired up, and a lid is put on the pot and it's stuck in a warm place. Next day I'm back to work. Ten days later I peek into my pot. It's bubbling, man it's really bubbling! Another pot of water on the backyard wood cookstove, an old T shirt in the pots bottom boiling too. Drag out the cider/wine press, soap it up, rinse it off, rinse again with the boiling water. Fit the old T shirt into the presses basket. Put the grapes in and squeeze them. Took longer to clean the press than to press it all out. When all id done we're about a cup short of two gallons. Juice is divided between two gallon jugs and some sugar water is added to bring the level up into the necks. Airlocks on and into the cellar it went. Forgotten for months. Suddenly found and remembered months later, I decide to bottle it up. One flip top quart and a bunch of pints. I save a little less than a pint for an early sample. The sealed bottles go back to the cellar. The sample goes into the fridge minus one glass. The first glass is a bit watery, just like the first and only batch of hard cider. DW never gets around to tasting a sample, the sample oxidizes and finds it's way into a frying pan with some mushrooms. Tonight, again a couple months later, DW needs some wine to cook with and cracks a bottle. The balance goes into glasses. Not bad! Better than I expected! It's quite drinkable. I think this self sufficiency thing might be possible. Tom Good had his "Peapod 75". And Woodsrunner has his "Concorde 08". Lets have a toast to self suffiency! Cheers!


Shy Wolf said...

Being the 'wine officienado' of the TEOTWAWKI gang, I have to concur... er, I mean, 'toast' to that. Now, send me a bottle or I'll report you to the Wine Taster's Club and tell them you have an extraordinary batch of Pinot Concorde' and they'll drown you in Pinot Noir.

Amy said...

If you ever accidentally make some balsamic vinegar, lemme know.

Cedar ... said...

I'll raise a glass to self-sufficiency, but you have to pour some first! All kidding aside that's a great story!

woodsrunner said...

Shy, If I thought the post office could get it to you, I'd send a sample. LOL!

Amy, If any turns to vinegar, I'll drop you a line. Being another lover of old stuff, I'm sure we could figure out a barter of some kind.

Cedar, If I ever get around to building a modern version of the sary gamp, I might just find myself in your neck of the woods. If that happens, I'll slide a bottle or two into my pack. Though I doubt that famous adirondak wanderer and my hero Nessmuck would consider it travelling light.