Uncle Rod came over Friday morning and we commenced to bottle our first vintage of Windhaven wine! It’s been bubbling and brewing for the last 6 weeks or so. Ready to get into bottles. I got all the bottles clean and sanitized before he got here. Rod gets the bottles from a local distributor who sells used bottles for 50 cents a bottle and a bag of corks for a buck or two. Pretty good deal. I still have to soak off the old labels and design up a new one for us, but well, time got away from me…
First the bubbler was removed from the big 5 gallon carboy. Then Rod has a nice little siphon that is in a old cork that he placed into the brew. You don’t want to move or disturb the carboy too much as the settlings are all on the bottom. It’s the used fruit and yeast from the brewing process. He siphoned off a wee bit and we gave it a sample.
It was maybe a little early to start drinking…. haha…. but we needed to make sure it was worthy to bottle! Just a little half glass to sip. My first impression… it’s very thick and very sweet! But good… the first thing that came to my mind is how delightful it would be a slush!!! A grownup slush but oh my gosh… yummy! It has an incredible kick to it! I felt a little silly after that half glass! Now, I’m not a big drinker but I could tell, this was definitely grown up drinking material. My goodness! It’s gonna need a warning label for sure.
After getting the siphon ready, Rod likes to decant the wine off into a big pot or two. My cheese pots came into good use for sure! This way you can leave the settlings in the carboy and they can settle again in the stock pots before bottling. I guess you could use some cheesecloth and strain it again, but since I used solid fruit juice concentrate and not raw fruit, it was not that bad at all.
With everything sanitized, we just used a ladle and a small measuring cup to pour the wine into the bottles with a funnel. It was really easy. The only thing was to watch not to overflow the dark bottles. You want the wine about right to the top of the shoulder of the bottle.
The corks work better if you put them in a little pan or bowl of water. It helps to get them in smoothly to the bottles with the cork machine. We used reused corks. You had to watch to make sure you got a nice cork from the bag, something that was not punched all the way through. You can buy new ones, but these were a deal and perfectly good. Only one cork was bad and we knew it the minute we bottled because it sort of hissed as it let air escape from the bottle.
Rod has the cork machine and so I just borrowed it for the morning. It is a clever little device for sure! It’s adjustable and works so slick! We bottled 23 bottles in just a little bit. We were done with the whole process within an hour. It was so easy! I thought it would be a little more involved, but it’s really not. It’s just like with the beer. The most work is just the whole process of waiting around!
I went on Friday afternoon into Toledo and went to the brewing store in the old south end of the town. It’s called Titameyers and they have garden, feed and brewing supplies! My kind of place!! Oh yes, and a lot of pet supplies and wild bird feeds! Neat place. They didn’t have the 12 ounce long neck bottles that I normally get, but they had these adorable little 6.5 ouncers! I got one case of them for my last batch of beer that needs to be bottled… our Rooster Red Ale! Can’t wait to see how they turn out. They are so perfect. I’m not a big beer drinker and sometimes a 12 ounce is just more than I want. Now these little guys would be perfect with a meal! Or just because. A late evening nightcap. They say a little brew is a good thing for you. The natural yeasts and such are good for you. I think I could get used to a little medicial nightcap of a nice home brew… hmmmm….. I think I might bottle that batch tomorrow if I get a little time. The hard cider and the nut brown ale are done, and wonderful, and every week they age a little more, the better they are getting. We used one of the nut brown ales in a crock pot of cabbage, carrots, potatoes and onions and just let it cook for hours and hours. It smelled so good and when we had it for dinner it was super delishous… just so good and so basic. Can’t wait to use it on a piece of our own pork… I think a hard cider with a shoulder of pork would make some amazing pull pork BBQ for a late spring celebration… hmmmmmm…..
I can’t believe how much wine that carboy made!! 23 bottles!!! Considering my total investment was only $25, that’s just a little more than a dollar a bottle! Shesh! Okay, I’ll admit, it’s not some fancy French vintage and all, but as a good home buzz and a sweet delight? My gosh, what a savings! I want to try a peach wine soon. Of course, it is going to take me about 23 years to drink all this… thank goodness I have lots of friends that would like to sample my brewing prowess! Just gotta get my labels done and ready to apply! Oh, and I need a name for it.
I think it needs something to warn of it’s very sweet nature. Nothing has really come to me yet, but I think it will. Does anyone have any ideas? It’s very sweet. I think it would be amazing drizzled over some nice French vanilla ice cream and maybe some fresh berries? Oh my… or with a crazy amount of fruit to make a nice sangria… or a slushie…. or it would be delightful as a spritzer… with some carbonated water or say, 7up mixed half and half with some ice? Oh, nice! Or just as a little after dinner desert wine. I’m going to do some reading up and learn if there are other recipes that might make a dryer wine. I noticed different types of yeasts at the brew store… like champagne! I wonder how hard it is to make a bubbly wine. I would suspect it’s like making a beer… I’m not sure. But I sure am going to look into it. This wine experience was fun and it was so nice to learn from a local master! Thanks Uncle Rod!!!Pin It