Yesterday was wine making day

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Yesterday I finished making my wine. I had put up almost 3 gallons last week, and once that fermented, I transferred it to a 3 gallon glass jug and began my second day of winemaking.

I have one vine that is on the border between my yard and my neaigbor’s yard.  The main branch travles along the split rail fence, then climbs a post and spreads out over a 6′ x 24′ arbor.


I climb a ladder with a plastic shopping bag in one arm and pick the grapes with the other hand.  2wine 037

 I can usually fill the bag with the grapes betwen two joists.

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The grapes go in the sink to get washed and then I seperate them from the stems and put them all in a lobster pot.

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With a towel and basin next to the pot I am ready to stomp on the grapes.

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I pour the stomped grapes into a collander over the plastic bucket.  I always have to put knives or spatulas through the handles of the collander to make sure it doesn’t fall into the bucket.

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I put all of the pulp in a plastic bag and let the end hang over the table so that the weight of the pulp on itself squeezes the last bit of juice from the grapes into the bucket. 

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11:00 p.m. I have another 4 1/2 gallons of juice.  If you look closely at the bucket you can see that the juice is at 4 1/2 gallons.  In the morning, another 1/2 gallon of juice had collected from the draining pulp.

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Today I put sterilizing tablets in the tub.  Tomorow I’ll put 5 cups of suggar, some nutritional yeast, a little acid, and some wine culture and put the top on the bucket.  Soon the fermenting will make the bung bubble and pop.  When that stops in about a week, the wine is fermented.  Then I’ll transfer it to glass jugs.  I’ll fill up the one I started last week, fill another 3 gallon jug, and one more 1 gallon jug.  In about 2 months the wine will be clear enough to bottle up.  I have a root cellar where I store it.

A lot of the grapes dried up in July, so next year I will need to water more, and also do more pruning to make sure that the new leaves aren’t taking the water from the grapes.  But I should get about 35 bottles of wine by mid November, soon enough to give some away at Christmas.  Send me your address if you want a bottle.




About Newell Hendricks

I have lived a good life. Maybe a counterculture life, maybe a normal life. I have written operas, built houses, been involved with cross-cultural education between Latin America and the U.S, and hardly ever had a job I have helped raise two wonderful children with my amazing wife. It's been a good ride. And I go to church. I've just finished a book of stories from my life, I am still connected to an organization in Nicaragua that promotes sister relationships between communities, faith communities, or schoold, and to the extent that my cancer doesn't pull me down, am attempting to share some of what I have learned, or at least tried out. Welcome, and let's share.
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