There are two jugs of wine in my closet, the one that also houses clean towels and jackets.
My journey to hooch-in-the-linen closet began many months ago, when a good friend discovered – by what means I can’t recall – The Joy of Home Winemaking. Being the type of woman inclined to make her own wine (just as she cooks, bakes, gardens, and makes her own jams), she set to work at all kinds of home brews – dandelion, grapefruit, berry – which, reportedly, not only did not kill anyone, but were also very tasty.
On August 18th of last year, I publicly vowed that I, too, would make my own wine someday. I promptly ordered the book. I even read most of it. And then I put the winemaking project aside in favor of other things. Finishing my Bachelor’s degree, for instance. I imagined that home winemaking could rapidly become an expensive and time-consuming hobby. My kitchen and craft room already spilling over with baking bread, sewing projects, knitting lopsided baby blankets, jam-making, card-designing, writing (in theory anyway) and more, I told myself that I would have to get one or two other projects well in hand (like the degree, see?) before I could embark on another pastime that would only make me giggly and my kitchen sticky.
Last March I could wait no longer. I consulted my guidebook once again, visited my local home brewing supply store and plunged forward.
I made the Easy Apple Wine from Garey’s book. It’s what she recommends for beginners. I also picked up a book at Steinbart’s that had a very similar recipe for apple wine – similar in that both called for apple juice and only one fermentation, instead of “fermenting on the fruit” and then straining out solids, which seemed overwhelming at the time. I made that one too, so that in a few more months when I work up the courage to taste the stuff I can do some scientific-like comparisons. Or something.
When I racked my wine three weeks ago – that’s siphoning off the liquid from the yeastysediment or “must” that falls to the bottom once the initial fermentation takes place – I splashed a bit into my mouth, just to confirm or deny the presence of alcohol where once there had been none. When I splashed the wine into my mouth I also splashed it all over the kitchen.
It smelled a bit like a recycling center in here for a few days. Alcohol? Check.
The book said that it should, at the racking stage, taste a “little raw,” and that the longer I wait before bottling and/or consumption, the more the flavor will balance and smooth, so I’m not worrying yet. For now, I am actually rather enjoying the waiting. I did not, in fact, ever experience the urge to barrel ahead as I was worried I might. Perhaps this apple wine is teaching me patience. Or perhaps I am afraid that it’s been bungled somehow and I’ll be disappointed after all of this blasted patience and restraint.
I just uploaded the images that you see here on my post. I hadn’t looked at them side by side before. See in my closet, the one on the right? That’s the very same that’s above, being prepared back in April. The color difference is really quite striking. Maybe there is some hope yet.