In the kitchen

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Our friend Angela inspired us to make wine.

She made one batch that was super yummy and then another which she was about to drink when she went and got herself pregnant despite having 25 bottles of wine in her basement. Talk about poor planning. (KIDDING Ange.)

We felt the best act of friendship would be to take over the wine making for now (and by "we" I mean Sandi. I mostly photographed, oohed and aaahed and, only when absolutely necessary, complained.)

Making wine, which you do from a kit, isn't really as romantic as it sounds. There is no Tuscan sun setting, no pasta boiling on the stove, no Italian opera playing, no french-kissing going on. Although I suppose perhaps that is just because we didn't plan well...

Basically, you get a kit with all your basic stuff- grape juice concentrate specific to the kind of wine you want to make and some things to add in to make it all go well and then you sit and wait and then you move the wine around from container to container until it eventually goes into bottles and you feel less like an alcoholic with a gargantuan vat of wine in your house.

Here's where it starts in the non-glamorous 6 gallon bucket:

Sandi, manipulating the "oak bag" which is to replicate the conditions when wine is left to ferment in oak barrels. I think there are oak chips in said "oak bag" and you basically leave it to steep. (Can you use the word "steep" in wine making?)

Then you use a hydrometer to check whatever it is that a hydrometer checks. (As this post goes on, I realize I should have had Sandi write it.)

Now, because you want everything to be completely sterile (and you NEVER want Maya doing anything crazy like dropping my Gatorade bottle into the open bucket of wine while she is helping. Yes, you heard me right- our two-year-old was HELPING make the wine) so when it is time to "rack" the wine (move it) from the bucket to the giant glass carboy, you should never do so by syphoning.

Unless you have to.
And if you do, you pray that you at least get a buzz.

Wait a while. Specifically wait until you have only had 5 hours of sleep, have taken a 23 mile bike ride, worked and gone to a dinner and movie with friends and it is 10:30 p.m. Then, and only then, should you bottle your wine.
This is when you try to remember that it is "wine" you are making and NOT "whine." AND try as hard as possibly not to lay your head on the counter in disgust because then you will look unsupportive and like a crybaby.

If at all possible, use the willy nilly system we had going so you can enjoy beautiful sprays of wine all over your kitchen. They were splatter patterns that would make any CSI agent or coroner proud.

Best to put corks in the bottles to keep yourself from drinking them all in one night.
Then stand back proudly, and show off your work.
We bottled 27 in all. I stayed up for the first 25. Yup, you heard me right. I pooped out for the last 2. I tell you, I had no staying power that night.

Now, for those of you who don't know, Sandi is not one to do anything half-assed. She likes the best and she likes things to be classy. I now understand this about her and so when she says, "I'm thinking about getting real wine labels" to me I know my line is, "What a great idea!" rather than, "Can't we just make them on Print Shop?"

And so, we had labels made.

Our line of wines (there will be line- she has already started a peach Chardonnay) is called "Duo Ragazze" or "two girls." Get it?

So now we have 27 bottles of newborn wine that must age until sometime in December. All in all, with the purchase of the bottles, the starter kit (which you have to buy for each batch of wine) and the start-up supplies, it still only comes out to $6 a bottle to make 2 batches. And the per bottle cost will decrease now with each batch now that we don't have to pay for the start-up supplies.

If you don't hear from us for a while, come a-knocking. We will probably be sitting in our hallway in unwashed clothes, drinking wine, thinking we are in Tuscany.

1 comment:

Katie said...

this is AWESOME news!!! the level of coolness of our friends has just jumped waaaaaaaay up. ;o) we'll be over in december for a taste test. after all, you need critics! (perhaps a testimonial printed on your next batch of labels...)

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