Wine. This Time? A Sweet Red.

2016-02-02 19.15.09Okay, I know I promised you a blog about my pistol purchase permit, but something a bit more pressing has come up.

Wine.

Belle is still acting like her normal, pre-tumor self and I couldn’t be happier about this. I got lots of kisses when I got home from a hellacious day at the office, so that was super nice.

We bottled just over 3 cases of wine last weekend; 16 bottles of Hell Hath No Fury red, 18 bottles of Sweet Carlos & Tara Bianco (white) and 6 bottles of no-name blackberry, which is good, but I don’t like it more than I like a fresh blackberry, so I’ll be eating them, not pressing them, next summer. 😉

We went a little hog-wild in September/October during grape harvest season and pulled in enough to do two batches of Hell Hath No Fury, a batch of Sweet Carlos & Tara, saved the hulls from the whites to do a blush second, and a batch of sweet red.

The sweet red is what we started tonight. I am in the process of adjusting the acid levels so that I can hit close to .65% tartaric.

This sweet red is a blend of Nesbit and Supreme Muscadines and I need help coming up with a name.

Rob, over at The V Pub, gets the credit for naming Hell Hath No Fury, so I thought I would throw it out there to you guys. What can you come up with for this Nesbit/Supreme sweet red blend?

That said, our little winery goes by “The Grapes of Wrath Vineyards” in case that helps you.

Here are the labels we ordered for the red and white. (There were only six bottles of blackberry for our own consumption, so we got cheap and didn’t bother…)

Screenshot 2016-01-27 22.24.29Screenshot 2016-01-27 22.25.45

And yes, this label DOES say 16% alcohol by volume. It’s actually 17 and some change, but the yeast we used maxes at 16, so apparently there is some wiggle room, as our hydrometer doesn’t lie…especially after running the test THREE times.

I hope y’all will jump on board and reply with some killer name ideas! I was able to come up with Sweet Carlos & Tara all by myself, because a) it’s a sweet wine; b) one grape type was Carlos; and c) the other was Tara. 😉 Bianco is Italian for White. I think. Whatever. Bianco didn’t fit on the label. Just sayin…

Thanks in advance, everyone!

Until next time (which really SHOULD be about my purchase permit, because that’s actually a timely, opinionated piece which should start a riot regarding gun control, ha ha…)

Wine Win!!!!!

Hell Hath No Fury Red - 1st Edition, vintage 2014.

Hell Hath No Fury Red – 1st Edition, vintage 2014.

So we gave some “Hell Hath No Fury” red to some friends and family. These are some of the comments we’ve recieved since handing out a few bottles:

Our grape provider: “I’m not a wine drinker, but my wife will love this.”

Dennis (who is my friend and my better half’s former boss): I love this…zipped through two bottles. Don’t change a thing! When can I get another bottle?”

Mom: “It was good, but really dry…but I found a fix. I diluted it with a little white..”

And my be-all-end-all favorite comment to date from my dear sister-in-law (aka Sissy): “The flavors…there were three…one was a ‘merlot-type” dryness, but then there was that grape flavor; you know. The kind that brings you back to your childhood. Bare feet in the warm soil, sun on your face, picking grapes and popping them in your mouth? Then the dry merlot-type of dry. This was good. Don’t change a damned thing…”j

So yeah….Apparently “Hell Hath No Fury” red is a hit. 🙂

The fact that this first batch hit an emotional chord with Sissy made me really proud, but at the same time? It mad me sorry I added the two additional cups of sugar to the second batch. Next time, apparently, about a cup less sugar.

So because I wanted to see where batch #2 was, I stole some via the wine thief. It’s dry, but not too dry. The last two cups of sugar gave it a little sweetness that off-set the uber-dry that is our first batch’s signature. Note to self: ease off on the sugar when trying to replicate the first batch.

It’s not a bad “semi-dry” wine, but then, I am partial.

Wait until they try our mead.

Muwahahahahahaha…. > : )j

So…wine for the win…

Until next time

DIY December III – The Wine Edition

Hey, y’all!

We just got finished bottling our first batch of Noble grape wine…

I wanted to share a little more of the process. For those of you who haven’t read about our adventures with grapes, Part 1 is here and part 2 is here.

Before I go too much further, I really need to send a shout out to my friend, Rob, over at Weight2Lose2013 who suggested the name of this batch – Hell Hath No Fury Red. 😉

On the Sunday before I fell and broke my ankle, the hubs and I re-racked our wine, although we didn’t take any pictures. There wasn’t much spillage, which was a good thing, given we’d already washed down the walls from the unfortunate wine-thief episode.

I don't have a problem; this is several months of stashing bottles. ;)

I don’t have a problem; this is several months of stashing bottles. 😉

It’s been six weeks since we re-racked, and we’ve been hoarding bottles where we can. I have been picking up my formerly favorite wine, a Cabernet Sauvignon, and soaking the labels off of the bottles. I took this picture the other night after the last of the labels came off.

After the re-rack, the only thing we really needed to do was watch the air lock and ensure that there was no further fermentation.  We bottled sooner than we had to, but I wanted to get this batch bottled before Christmas. The recipients of these bottles could stick them in a closet and let them sit a few months, although it’s not a bad wine right now. (I can say that, as I’m sipping a glass now.)

During the sterilization process we discovered that one of our bottles had a hairline fracture in the bottom of it. As we were filling it with the sterilizer, I noticed a puddle underneath it. Glad we figured that out prior to actually filling it with wine. THAT would have been a serious mess!

Per everything we have read, I crushed one campden tablet per gallon of wine and added it right before bottling. This kills any bacteria that could spoil the wine, and also keeps it from turning to vinegar while it sits in the bottles.

15 bottles ready for corks.

15 bottles ready for corks.

We siphoned all but the grunge (okay, lees) from the carboy and we ended up with four gallons of wine. I am assuming that the gallon loss is from wine-thievery, as well as the loss from the mass of the fruit/hulls, and that which was left over from un-siphoned liquid close to the lees on the bottom.

Because we lost a bottle, and also because we knew we would probably be a few bottles shy, we had a couple of one gallon screw top bottles on reserve. We’d grabbed those when they were on sale in case we decided to do one gallon batches, and it was good that we did, as we had a gallon more than we had dark green wine bottles. :/

Bottling was probably the easiest part of the process, and corking was fun, as well, although there was a bit of a learning curve to that.

I am loving our corker! Piece of cake! ;)

I am loving our corker! Piece of cake! 😉

After everything we’d read about corking, we steamed our corks for about three minutes and pulled them out of the water as we needed them for the first three bottles. The first one went in beautifully. We have a double-lever corker, which was surprisingly easy to use, so after corking the first of fifteen bottles, we figured the remaining fourteen would be gravy. Not so much.

The second and third bottles we corked saw the corks easing their way out of the bottles. WTH???? I jumped online and couldn’t find ANYTHING that would explain this. At first we thought that perhaps the corks were too wet and/or there was a lot of oxygen coming from the wine. I pulled all the corks out of the water, let them dry and the third, fourth, and most of the remaining bottles corked beautifully. Then the thirteenth and fourteenth bottles’ corks slid back out, as well. We noticed that both of those bottles had wine a little higher than the others, so we poured a bit out of both, and they corked well. Learning curves; they’re a great thing, yes?

40 labels for under $20. Can't complain!

40 labels for under $20. Can’t complain!

I’d ordered labels from Zazzle and they came in just the other day. I had more fun sticking labels to the bottles and setting them up for a picture, because, OMG, y’all! We made wine!

So thus ends my first adventure in wine making. We have the other half of the crushed grapes in the freezer and will be thawing them out for the next batch, which will be a sweeter blend. I am open for suggestions for a name for the sweet red, so if you have any suggestions, we are looking forward to seeing them!

I’d also love to hear from any of you that have had your own adventures in winemaking or home brewing.

How totally cool is this?

How totally cool is this?

Next time? The remaining crochet projects; scarves, blankets, and (OMG) booties! 😉

Until then…