While the garden has been a bit of a bust, the orchard has had its best year ever. I picked a basket of apples, a half dozen plucots, and a few plums. The real hit has been the loads of currants and blueberries.
All that netting the MR put up last spring kept the birds away, so we could actually enjoy some of our fruit. Last year, birds ate all of our grapes, and we weren’t sure what to expect when it came to harvest this time around. One of the vines was loaded with clusters, while the other two had nothing.
Now that we have a bowl grapes, what next?
They taste good, but they’re full of seeds. Yes, we’re spoiled. Me and the MR were talking it over a few weeks ago when we were on vacation and decided we could go into the wine business. OK maybe that’s pushing it, but we were inspired by visiting wineries and chatting with all the nice people. We figured we’d at least make a bottle.
People have been doing it for thousands of years. How hard can it be? Saturday, we washed up our bowl of grapes, picked out stems and earwigs, mashed them in a bowl with a potato masher (this step may require protective eyewear), added local honey (thank you Sara), winemaking yeast, and a campden tablet, and put them in a crock (or a half-gallon jug because that’s all we had).
Our Wikipedia instructions said to make sure the jug was filled to within 1 1/2-inches from the top, and if not to add some filtered water. Ours wasn’t, so I did; that was a mistake.
I’m sad that I didn’t take a picture right after making our “must”. The juice was clear and white; I figured we were making white wine with our Stuebben grapes.
Now it’s still frothing and a lovely dark magenta. The t-shirt fabric rubber-banded to the top was a yellow/beige to start with.
We’ve had a bit of trouble with overflowing, and those are fruit fly traps next to our jug of wine. They are quite interested in our doings. A splash of wine and a drop of dish soap in a jar lid usually gets rid of the pests.
In a few days, we’ll be filtering out the skins and seeds and putting it in the larger jug with the fancy stopper to release gas. This container needs to be full, so I believe we’ll be buying marbles or pie weights and adding them to take up some of the volume.
If we like the wine half as much as the fruit flies, it’ll be wonderful. I’ll let you know in nine months. Maybe next year’s goal will be two bottles.
Any creative uses for your harvest this year?