Go Local Week 9 - Use Your Bounty - DIY Wine!

I have this amazing (and very beautiful) cousin named Lauriel. She has an amazing husband named Andrew. Together they take on the most amazing adventures and feats. I'm so very happy that through the world of blogging we have been able to connect in a much more meaningful way than would otherwise be possible. When Lauriel first signed up to be a guest blogger she thought she'd talk about learning to can and preserve food. Then she mentioned something about making wine and I jumped on that as the subject I really wanted to learn more about. I've never made wine, and I don't know if I have the patience to let the fermentation process work it's magic, but this post is tempting me! (Right along with the lemon berry concoction they just posted about!). You'll love this post! And you'll love their blog called Building the Basics where they talk about their desire to build a homestead and be self reliant, books, music, art, running, gardening, Lauriel's love of new office supplies, pets, etc. They also show lots of pictures of the animals they share their time with including their newest addition, Lucy the Great Dane Puppy. She is cute. They are cool. Go visit!

And now for the wine......

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We have a new obsession in our house, learning about ways that we can be more self-sufficient. We have a long way to go, but we are always looking for ways we can make the products we like to use. Last year, probably while enjoying a glass a wine, we started talking about making our own alcohol. We researched a little bit, and discovered that after buying a little bit of equipment, home winemaking is fairly easy and can be done with tons of different produce. We’ve become a little bit obsessed really.

There are lots of books with recipes and directions, we have a few. We have also found Jack Keller’s Winemaking Website to be very helpful and it has millions of recipes! We also use Winemakers Depot to buy many of our winemaking supplies, they are an internet supplier who happens to live right near us.

So far we have made wine from:

A mix of apples growing in our yard

Peaches from our yard

Local apple juice from Haggen

Locally roasted coffee

Strawberries from Boxx Berry Farm

Cherries from Eastern Washington

Dandelions from our yard

Each recipe varies slightly, but they all follow the same basic steps.

Start with fresh flowers, vegetables, herbs, or fruit like these strawberries Add them to a food safe container and mash the fruit
Add the remainder of the ingredients. In this case, the recipe called for raisins. Usually you also have to add water, sugar, and a few other special wine ingredients. After the wine has cooled to room temperature, you add the yeast. The wine stays in this container for around a week, needing daily stirring. It smells great during this stage and makes a lot of noise as the yeast is eating all of the sugar.

Place wine in a carboy with an air-lock for several months. It will need to be re-racked several times, usually about every 30 days, to separate the wine from the sediment. Re-racking just consists of siphoning the wine from one carboy to another and leaving the bottom inch of gunk in the old carboy.

When the wine has cleared and the fermentation has completely stopped, it can be bottled. We used old wine bottles and beer bottles and made our own labels. We like the size of a beer bottle because it holds just enough wine for 2 glasses, just enough to celebrate a special occasion!

Then comes the hard part, letting it age at least another 6 months to a year. Winemaking is a long-term investment, no quick product here. Just this week, we opened an early bottle of our first apple wine that was left over from our makings last year. We finally got to drink our first glass of our own wine, it was delicious!

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Those frosty glasses of apple wine are beautiful, are they not?!
What is tantalizing YOUR taste buds this local summer?!
We had farm fresh eggs with hashbrowns made from my russet burbanks for breakfast this morning. Then we topped the meal off with some slicet pluots and apricots from the farmer's market. Eeee-Yum!

Comments

  1. Wow! That looks really good! Seems like you've got some pretty creative peeps in your family! We're finally pulling stuff out of our garden in Seattel:
    http://knittingknot.blogspot.com/2010/08/gl-challenge-to-you-its-just-zucchini.html

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  2. Yum...homemade wine! We've got a friend who makes his own wine, and we love enjoying it with him.

    Here's what's cooking with garden-fresh veggies at my house:
    http://feedingthebigguy.blogspot.com/2010/08/eggplant-asiago.html

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