Monday, August 23, 2010


I cracked open a bottle of Cranberry wine this weekend. I bottled it last spring. I liked it - I really did. I chilled it well. It tasted slightly sweet, and slightly cranberry....but only slightly winey. It was watery. I suspect it needed more fermentation, or maybe more sugar to ferment. I'm not sure yet. I'll have to do some research. Anyways, I'm only a tiny bit disappointed, because I honestly do like it. I could sip on it all night and not get sleepy:)

Also this weekend, I moved the blackberry must into it's secondary. It overflowed the airlock. This has not yet happened to me. It was so active it just shot over the top. I emptied the airlock, cleaned it up and stuck it back on. It seems to have calmed down. The brew is bubbling nicely.

~Salut, Linny

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Black to Basicberries

Ok, so here's the thing with dandelions - they all get mowed over. With my last blog I had visions of Dandylion Wine fermenting in a jug. It wasn't to be. When I went to collect the dandelions they were gone....all gone. Everyone just mows them up. I kept my eyes on all the fields and just never found anymore. Maybe next year.But, here's the thing. This summer produced a bumper crop of blackberries. The blueberries were plentiful too. The hubby and I picked 2 to 3 quarts just from the 4 wild blueberry bushes along our road. The family won't let me have them to make wine though.

Blackberries I pick on my lunch hour at work. The state arboretum is right across the street. I've gotten permission to pick berries, chokecherries and gather fallen apples.

Without further ado - Blackberry Wine.

I started with various recipes I found on the internet. I make good use of this handy-dandy 1 gallon fruit wine chart from brew supplies that is pretty awesome.

My Must Recipe:

3 to 4 lbs blackberries
2 lbs sugar
I campden table
Pectin Enzyme
Yeast nutrient
9 cups water

As always I start by boiling all my stuff I'll be using. I crushed up my Campden tablet.

Add everything to the berries. (I use bottled water. We have good clean well-water, but it's heavy in iron).
Next I moosh it all up with my hands. This was pretty fun. I thought about taking my shoes of and dancing through the berries Lucille Ball style, but my bowl was too small.
Cover with a cloth and that's it.

The must is now doing it's flavor releasing thing. I'll stir it once or twice a day. In 4 or 5 days it'll be ready for stage 2. It will get strained into it's jug, yeast added and hopefully go nuts.

Stay tuned.....

Salut, Linny

Monday, May 10, 2010

There's a Reason.......

There's a reason wine is made from grapes - grapes make the best wine. It's really that simple.

Since I had decided that my wine-making would consist of my own grown or foraged goodies (or purchased from locals), I had given up the idea of making regular old grape wine. Grapes are not a great crop here in Maine.

Still I picked up a near-death grapevine plant from the bottom sale shelf at a Lowes...of all places. It's been in the ground a couple weeks now and looking quite happy. We'll see how it does. I might search for a local source for grapes, but I decided I really didn't want to use concentrates.

My grapevine:)

Sorry blog, I made these decisions without you. Don't be offended.

Some Other Stuff

I bottled the cranberry wine. It was cloudier than I would have liked. (I think I need to rack more often). But what I tasted, tasted pretty good. I started this wine on Thanksgiving so it's only about 5 months old. I'm excited to try it next fall.

Here's my label I made for the mead. :)

I'm not sure what the vintage date should actually be? When I set the stuff to fermenting or when it's bottled or what. I'm guessing when it's bottled, however you can bottle a wine years after the fermentation....hmm. I'll have to do some research.

~Salut Linny

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Face of Spring

I do a lot of window gazing at work. At the moment, outside my window is a brilliant sea of dandelions.

I work in an renovated old hospital building (a mental hospital) with a big front lawn. A couple years ago the grounds crew were instructed to go au'natural and let the bulk of the lawn grow to seed. It gets plowed to hay a couple times a season by a local farmer. Despite the grumbles of pollen and ticks, it's quite pretty - right now with the whole big yard blazing gold it's somewhat spectacular (in an unspectacular way of course).

I'd only heard of Dandelion Wine from the title of the Bradbury story of the same name. The book is one of the forgotten masses that I picked up to read, at least once, but never finished.

Anyways, google be damned, seems Dandelion Wine can be quite a delight. I think I'll attempt it.

Stay tuned....

~Salut Linny

A Long Expected Blog

Omg so sorry blog, I've neglected you!

There's a reason for that. This is a wine blog and while the wine sits there's not much to write about.

I've bottled up the mead. I guess I could write about that. I used a very crude method of slowly pouring it off into a spouted 2-cup measuring cup and then poured it into the bottle via funnel. Corking was fun. I bought an Argentinian double-lever corker. Worked slick.

Being the cheapskate that I am, I used recycled beer bottles. Washing them in the dishwasher removes most of the labels (though I'm not sure how much the dishwasher liked that). Then I boiled them.

Mead's done and will sit til at least october (except the one partial that I think I'll consume this evening while I game:).

Not much of a picture, but here's my first lot of bottled nectar:D I need to make some fun labels.

I'll be bottling the cranberry wine shortly.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Racking the Red

I racked the Cranberry wine this weekend. It tastes pretty dam good already. Hope I can keep from drinking it til next Thanksgiving. This, my second time racking, went much better than the first. I picked up a short racking cane at the brew-shop. The bend in the rod stands only about 2 inches out of the top of the jug - still I couldn't get enough head pressure to keep a siphon on it. This time I didn't mess around trying. I just used the hose and siphoned down to about an inch of the lees and then slowly poured off the rest.

It worked out good. I barely lost any wine - but got most all the sludge off the bottom. I have a picture somewhere of the lees. I'll find it. Here:)

They were a purplish-puce color. Kind of ugly. The wine remains a beautiful cranberry color. It looks like it should have bubbles, but I'm not sure that I'm up for adding CO2 yet. At some point I'll try fizzing some drink.

Peace Linny

Monday, December 14, 2009

Bartering - Alive and Well

My good friend Sailor Ted has agreed to trade me a 5-gallon carboy for a pot of chili.

I picked up all the chili ingredients, but only realized once I started browning up the burger, that I was out of onions.

So, Ted shall have his chili tomorrow. I shall have my carboy by Christmas. I'm guessing AFTER Christmas before I get out and get my grape juice. But THEN I shall brew my first REAL batch of wine.

Help me: Should I start with a Merlot or a Cabernet Sauvignon?