Sunday, July 11, 2010

self sufficient in good cheer

A few months ago we found Mustang grapes on our property. This wasn't a big surprise, since they grow wild all over Texas and the surrounding states, but it was quite exciting for us. If you could see our annual wine bill, you'd understand why (I'll never tell). We went to check on their progress yesterday and found them just beginning to ripen. A few were turning color, but most were still green. As we walked in a big loop across the south pasture, however, our spirits lifted - we found a second area of grapevine that we didn't know about, and these were overflowing with dark, nearly black ripe grapes! Never mind that it was midday in July, and hot as Hades - it was time to gear up.

We set to work harvesting everything within our reach. These vines are wild and untended, and over the years have grown high into the trees, so a good portion of them are simply unavailable to us, I'm afraid. Even so, we filled a five gallon bucket about three quarters of the way full. We took our haul back to the house - tired, baked, and pouring with sweat. Due to some confusion over whether or not we could freeze them for later use, as well as some legitimate concern that they wouldn't fit in our freezer (it's packed right now), we concluded that we'd have to start our first batch of wine immediately. Did I mention we've never made wine before? We quickly scoured the internet for a brewing shop that was still open, and hauled butt into town for equipment.

I'd like to give a shout out to Foreman's General Store. This really might be the best place ever. They sell gardening supplies, service lawnmowers and sell home brewing and wine making supplies, among countless other things. It's like a brew shop, hardware store and feed store all in one. The proprietor was extremely helpful and was kind enough to shepherd us into our first foray in brewing. We came home with loads of equipment, ingredients, instructions and a sense of adventure.

Late into the night we sat together on the sofa, stemming and sorting the grapes while watching The Godfather (seemed fitting, no?). When we finally had a bucket full of nothing but good fruit, we washed, bagged and did, in fact fit them in the freezer. The wine will wait until we're able to harvest the rest of the fruit, but we'll be ready. Cheers!

1 comment:

  1. OOOOH, you're gonna love homebrewing! I've not done wine (yet), but we make beer at home and it's tons of fun. I can't wait to hear how your wine turns out!