05-22-2013   Leave a comment

Today I get to play winemaker.  I’ve been making homemade wines for more than twenty years and plan on making it for twenty more.  My better-half became so interested that she began making her own batches about five years ago.  She leans toward berry wines and her specialty has become Tripleberry Wine. It’s made from a mix of blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries.  I have to admit it’s damn tasty and goes well with almost any dish.

For years I only made your basic wines.  Some were made from fresh fruit while other were made from professionally produced concentrates.  I’ve always tried to be creative with my winemaking and I’ve even made excellent wine from the fruit of the Mountain Ash tree.  My all time favorite over the years has been dandelion wine made from blossoms collected from nearby fields. It’s a killer to make because you sit for hours removing only the yellow petals.  The first time I attempted making it I found out much too late that rubber gloves should be worn.  I had really disgusting yellow fingers and hands for weeks.

I enjoy experimenting a great deal and in recent years have made a number of cooking wines which turned out rather well.  I first made onion and garlic wine which turned out to be an incredible marinade.  Then I made twenty-five bottles of habanero wine to be used for marinades and cooking.  I found as time went by it actually became hotter as it sat in the bottle.  Some people actually like drinking it but that’s not for me.  If your doing a stir-fry adding a cup of it will spark things up nicely.  Again a safety tip, when making anything with habaneros wear a double layer of latex gloves.

Today is bottling day for a fifteen bottle batch of the better-half’s wine and a twenty-five bottle batch of my latest experiment, gin wine.  I’m a big fan of gin but drinking the hard stuff is a little much sometimes.  I decided to make a wine out of the same ingredients that actual gin brewers use.  If recent taste tests are any indicator this batch isn’t all that good.  It has an alcohol content of about ten percent and might just make a great tar remover for our cars.  The smell of gin is there but that’s about it.  It tastes like a cross between battery acid and Lysol.  I’ll bottle up a few bottles for long term storage but the rest will unfortunately be discarded.  The better-half’s Tripleberry tastes great and will be bottled and stored today.

Making wine is always risky and ever so often you’ll get a batch that is just God awful. I’m hoping this summer is hot and sunny making our blackberry crop fat and juicy.  We have a few secret spots in certain areas of the county where we harvest blackberries by the bucket full.  They make the best jams and wines and we’re looking forward to doing it again this summer.

I’ll be sure to have a glass or two today to toast the arrival of Spring and the demise of the gin wine.

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