Some of you were intrigued by my Princess Nagger Wine & Gifts site – and the fact that I make my own wine. So I thought I’d start a series of posts since it’s getting to be the time of year that I’ll be pulling apples off the tree to make my specialty Apple Wine that has people clamoring for more each year, as well as the grapes that will start to become ripe within the next month or so.
I’ll be posting wine recipes and taking pictures of the step-by-step process so if anyone decides they’d like to try their hand at it, they can. I figured I’d start off with sort of an explanation as to why I make my own wine – well, besides it being fun and good to drink.
I didn’t start off making wine in the beginning – I was big into making all jams and jellies…my mom taught me, as she used to make jam every year and let us ‘help’ as kids. Sure, more of the fruit went into our bellies than they did the recipes, but luckily there was plenty to spare. And we had fun.
Jam making is so time consuming (and gets really hot standing in front of the stove for extended periods of time) that I now just do very limited batches of the jams and jellies.
The wine is easy to make – ‘easy’ being a relative word – at least easier than jams and jellies…so I’ve been using whatever fresh fruits I get my hands on to make wine with – and growing more fruits to do that with, too. Like my 5-on-1 apple tree, my fruit cocktail tree, my cherry trees and hedges and a plethora of new grape vines.
At some point, when we sell this house and move someplace else (final destination to be determined), I’m going to have a dedicated outbuilding for my wine and jam making so I don’t have to keep putting everything away in between each step of the process then taking it all out again for the next step.
I also plan to plant a small orchard and vineyard. It will be a larger scale than what I’ve done here – this is my experimentation phase with various plants, vines and trees…then I’ll know what works and what doesn’t and only plant what works. Eventually I’ll have my own little wine shop with homemade wine, jam and gift baskets…that’s my ultimate goal.
I still have not yet had a chance to bottle the Blackberry Merlot that some of you are patiently waiting for – I know, I know, I’m hearing a collective gasp throughout blogland… if I don’t get a chance to do that before school starts, that’s at the top of my list during the first week of School. I’m looking forward to the Princess Nagger actually being in school ‘all day‘ vs. last year being 1/2 day Kindergarten. I’m sure she’s not looking forward to it like I am…
I currently have four 6 gallon carboys lined up next to my side board in my dining room… normally right around Thanksgiving I’ve moved them down to the basement, but I had a major sinus infection right around that time, so lugging those heavy things down a set of steep and narrow staircase didn’t sit well with me…and then I just never did. But since I now need to bottle the carboys and rack the rest, I saved a step lugging them up the stairs…
Once the Blackberry Merlot is bottled, that will free up an extra carboy so I’ll be able to start the batch of cherry wine I’ve been meaning to do – we received some awesome cherries from a guy that works with my hubby – I looked up on line how you can ‘store’ them to use them later…so they’ve been in the basement freezer packed in sugar…it’s going to make an incredible dessert wine.
Princess Nagger has been dipping into the frozen cherry stash every so often (they’re actually really good eating them frozen coated with sugar like that) so I’ll probably only get about 3 gallons of wine out of them… but that will still be about 15 bottled bottles… unless I go with the 375 ml (half bottles) instead. Haven’t decided yet, but won’t have to think about that part until it’s ready to bottle, which can take up to 6 months.
My very first attempt with the grapes from our grape vine about 4 years ago turned into vinegar… so I’ve been doing a lot of research and reading online and with books and magazines – so this past Fall’s Apple wine and Concord wine turned out the absolute best yet.
Which means each time it will only get better and better. I planted additional grape vines over the last couple of years – some interesting varieties that will make some awesome wine.
I’ll also turn some of the wine into wine jelly – I did a Shiraz wine jelly last year that every one raved about – my FIL polished his gift jar off in a matter of days and kept asking for more. Everyone has been clamoring for the apple wine again – I have no idea what kind of apples are on this old apple tree out back, but it sure makes some awesome wine – I’ll probably see if I can start some seedlings from the apple seeds and reproduce that tree for the future. Should be an interesting experiment.
So there you have it – a rather long explanation of why I make my own wine. Short version? Because I can. 😉