Wine, Wine, & More Wine…

Hell Carlos Tara

Hell Hath No Fury, v3.0 & Sweet Carlos & Tara, limited edition.

So it’s been exactly a month since I’ve posted, and for that? I apologize.

New boss, new routine, a lot of extra hours, grand-babies, yedda-yedda-yedda, blah-blah-blah….

Nicky's Sweet Purple Haze

Nicky’s Sweet Purple Haze (a sweet deep red)

So I got very little response on my request for a name for our sweet deep purple muscadine wine, made from Supreme and Nesbit fruit.

My soon-to-be daughter-in-law and I came up with a name together; Nicky’s Sweet Purple Haze. 🙂 And now she gets an extra bottle of wine! 🙂

That said, this evening I put it out there on Instagram and Facebook that I am going to award the person that can submit a good name for the current wine we are about to rack tonight:  A robust blush made from the skins/hulls of the Carlos/Tara grape, plus a few pounds of the skins, hulls and juice of Supreme and Nesbit Muscadines, and a few more pounds of the slings, hulls and juice of the Noble Muscadine. So, if any of y’all have any ideas for a name? You pick a winner and you’ll get a bottle of blush…

blush must

Gonna be a killer blush!

So you can kind of see the difference in color between the red, above, and the blush, to the right.

We also bottled four gallons of “Hell Hath No Fury Red” v. 3.0, as well as the “Sweet Carlos & Tara.” We also did a gallon of blackberry, which was unnamed, because five bottles did not warrant the purchasing of fancy labeling.

We got a voicemail from the gentleman who donates his propagation grapes for our wine-making projects. He called earlier this evening to say that he loved all three wines (blackberry, Sweet Carlos & Tara, and Hell Hath No Fury). We’d told him, when we dropped them off, that the blackberry was the least of our favorites, and that we will probably just enjoy the berries fresh off the vine or syrup’d and over vanilla ice cream, as opposed to drinking them. Now, y’all know I love my wines, but I do so love my berries as well, and when I’d rather eat them than make wine out of them? That MUST speak volumes.

So with all of that out there, be thinking of a great name for this blush, because I would LOVE to send a reader of this blog a bottle of the first official “Grapes of Wrath” blush.

Also? Y’all that have been with me since the beginning KNOW how I have struggled with not smoking. Well, after two weeks on Chantix (and some ridiculously bizarre and terribly realistic, yet not scary, dreams) I have not had a cigarette in a week. Or OFFICIALLY a week tonight at 11 p.m., which is four hours from now.

Between holding myself responsible via Facebook and Instagram, and the different apps and programs I’ve joined for support, I can happily say that I was able to drive to Taco Bell with two of my smoking friends and back without any issue (except that I smelled “smokey” and I didn’t much care for that).

Now, my husband still smokes, and I’m not gonna rag him, because, like me? He will quit when HE is ready. I really don’t think I was mentally ready the last two times I quit. (Once in 2006 (before the birth of this blog) and once after (when I wanted a breast reduction and after I had quit 30+days and found out the insurance wasn’t going to cover? I picked it back up…).

This time, I did it for me. Not with any boobs in my future or pressure from work. Just the thought of living longer and healthier for my grandkids was enough for me. So keep me in your thoughts, because some days can still be a little difficult, but others are a piece of chocolate cake with chocolate icing. 🙂

Until Next Time…

 

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…)

Oh, the Alcohol!

In retrospect, I wish we had started making wine sooner.

Creating/crafting alcoholic beverages is addicting. To date, we’ve bottled 5 gallons of Hell Hath No Fury Red, with another five gallons to be bottled in a month or so. This is good, because out of the original 30 bottles? there are 3.5 left, LOL…No, I didn’t drink it all; we gave the bulk of it away for Christmas. 🙂 I am in the process of prepping my 2 gallons of dry mead for back sweetening, and we bottled our first beer yesterday.

Yes, you read right. We did beer!

Meet Mr. Beer. :)

Meet Mr. Beer. 🙂

My dad recommended the “Mr. Beer” kit, and we just so happened to have found an LBK kit at Dunham’s Sports a couple weeks ago and decided to give it a try, since it was marked waaaaay down. I figured if it was good enough for Dad, it’d be good enough for Johnny, so I picked this up as an early birthday gift for him (his birthday is next week).

Unlike wine, beer with Mr. Beer is good for almost instant beverage satisfaction in that it will be ready to drink in 4-5 weeks, as opposed to months and months.

This was a fun introduction into home beer brewing. It was all fairly simple. We boiled four cups of water and then removed from heat. We then added the can of Hopped Malt Extract to the water and stirred until well mixed, creating an easy-peasy wort. We filled the cute keg fermenter with cold spring water to the 4-liter mark, then poured the wort into the keg, and topped off to the 8.5 liter mark with more cold water. We gave it a good stir, sprinkled yeast onto the surface of the wort, screwed on the lid and walked away for 12 days.

Our Diablo IPA.

Our Diablo IPA.

Yesterday we bottled eleven 740-mL bottles of Diablo IPA, which, according to the package, “is a fiendishly hopped American IPA. Fiery amber in color with intense mouthfeel, displaying a blend of floral spice and stone fruit aromas and ending with a firm and lingering bitter finish.” (For those not afraid of hops, lol…)

Because I needed to get to the wine store for a couple chemicals I didn’t have for back sweetening my mead, we went ahead and picked up a few things while we were there so that I could start a one gallon batch of sweet mead.

We needed some extra air locks, and while there, Johnny jumped headlong into “real” beer making, as it were. The wonderful guy over there at American Brewmasters put a box of goodies together for a five gallon batch of Irish Red Ale. I’ll be posting about that in the coming days, as I suspect we will be starting that within the week.

Let the games begin!

Let the games begin!

I’ll be starting the must for the sweet mead tonight, and am really excited to play with a small batch.

I am SO looking forward to spring/early summer, as I can’t wait to get my hands on four or five pounds of fresh blackberries!! I have been really looking forward to making a gallon of wine from berries, which should be perfectly timed so that when it is bottled, all of our carboys will be empty by grape harvest in the fall. 🙂 (There will be many gallons of grape wine going by October!)

I suspect there are much worse habits/hobbies to have, and homemade wine makes our friends and family very happy. It also allows me to become a bit of a mad scientist, as well. More sugar? Less sugar? Add oak? Add spices and other fruits? The possibilities are endless!

What hobbies do you have that you can’t seem to get enough of because you enjoy them THAT much?

Until Next Time…