When I returned from holiday and told my parents about the winery tour, they told me about the grapes they had just harvested for wine. I was on speaker phone, so they’re both part of the conversation below.
You just harvested 13-14 Lbs of grapes from your grapevines outback, can you tell me a bit more about that?
Dad: I was out there for several hours cutting them down and they were so ripe they had begun to fall to the ground, so it was time to harvest. There are still some left on for the birds.
My wine bucket was cracked in the bottom, so I got a food grade bucket from a neighbour and drilled a hole in the lid for the airlock (the thing on the top, where it perks).
Mom: We sat around in the parlor picking the grapes from the stems and put them in the bucket; it will be a varietal wine. It will be a red, white and blue wine!
How do you make your wine?
Mom: This time we haven’t added any sugar. It will be a table wine first and then using the same must, we’ll make a dessert wine. If your grapes are nice and sweet and you don’t use sugar, you’ll get an alcohol of about 14%. The first wine is the good wine, then you add sugar to the second and add the hydrometer. It will be a sweet wine but not as robust or rich in flavour as the first wine.
You get three quarters of the amount for each successive wine. The first wine will last for a year or so. The second wine you will need to use within a few months. The third wine is made from pressing out the second wine. When you drain the first wine, you’ll see how much finished product you got. You then use 1/2- 2/3s of that amount in water for the second wine. You use that must, use 1/4 of the amount of water from the first volume of wine and add sugar so it will ferment. When it’s done, it will have less alcohol. That’s what we always called the kids’ wine. No water is put in the first wine.
Tell me about when you set the vines up.
Dad: We put them in when you were a youngster. We had 7 vines and 5 varieties. I think we only have 5 vines left now.
How did you pick your varieties?
Mom: I picked red, white and blue ones that were good for the area. We have Catawba, Concord, Agawam, and I forget what the other two were. I will have to get my book out. We picked sweet ones so you guys could eat them and we could also make wine.
When did you put them in?
1985, around your 5th birthday we were building the arbor after the vines were in.
Thanks for this!