Sunday, November 16, 2008

We like hard work—when it involves wine

Saturday for the Figs was all work, no play. But when the work involves our homemade wine, we do not mind! Husband and I belong to a small wine-making group that is a spin-off of a larger group we belonged to a couple of years ago.

We pick grapes from the vineyard of someone we became friends with through our old group. We pay him for first crop; he lets us pick second crop for free and generously allows us the use of his de-stemmer and crusher. The day we pick is one of my favorite of the year. I love knowing when we open a bottle of our wine that we have been through the whole process: picking, crushing, pressing, racking, and bottling, plus all the watching, waiting, and adjusting to happens along the way. Because of a late frost, we picked second crop late this year, and we were out of town on our Cayucos trip when our group picked. We missed not only the hard work but also the fabulous picnic and camaraderie we all share. But we're still in for a share and had the opportunity to contribute some labor Saturday morning as we pressed our 2008 Zinfandel.

The crushed grapes start out in one of our high-tech fermenters, also known as a plastic garbage can.

Next, they go into the presser.

Blocks get stacked on top and screwed down to press out the juice.

Near the end, it helps to have a little extra weight to hold things down while someone cranks (proof that I didn't just stand around and chat).

At the end it's hard to believe that 950 pounds of grapes, three trashcans of crushed juice and skins, compacts to less than half a can of skins, which will make great compost for our host.

The wine will stay in the barrel for about two years.

Looks peaceful, doesn't it? It's resting. And at some point we will be as well.


J said...

That is so cool! Though I must admit, I was a little disappointed not to see any grape-stomping :)

Purple Flowers said...

The last photo of the barrels is very pretty. It does look like the wine is resting.
My family use to make wine years ago, and there always seemed to be such pride at the holiday table when they would pour the wine and talk about what year it was made etc.
I remember my Father bringing wine to our neighbors. I think that is such a nice gesture of goodwill and friendship.

dmmlandcruiser said...

It must be very satisfying to drink once it is ready knowing how much love went into it!

Deb said...

How way fun is that? I would love to try it!

Hey, I have a little gift for you on my blog! Enjoy.

Jen Yu said...

wow wow wow! How cool is that?! Were your hands stained for several days after? I wish I could have been there to photograph you gettin' all in it and stuff :)

KK said...

Look how cute you are cranking the wine!!!!

adozeneggs said...

Looks like big fun, but I bet not as fun as drinking it!