Sunday, September 17, 2017
The Grapes Are Ripe
I quickly grabbed my critter gitter, AKA my spading fork, and start jabbing at them. A few minutes later the yard was free of raccoons and I was amped on adrenaline. Fighting raccoons always stimulates my fight or flight response and I was absolutely jangling. So sleep was out for awhile, but it was obvious I had to get the grapes in if I was going to get any wine made this year.
The grape I chose to grow is called Marechal Foch, and I chose it because it handles cold really well. It's grown in upstate New York and Canada, so that should give you some idea of the kind of cold they can handle. What I didn't know when I bought them was that the grapes themselves are very small, and are subject to bird pressure. Nuts. Then it occurred to me that I didn't know what the wine was supposed to taste like. I looked online for where I could either taste some or buy some nearby and luckily there were two wineries fairly close by that had it, so one day early this summer Steve drove me out to Newberg, Oregon to the Purple Cow Winery where I had my first taste of Marechal Foch wine. Which I did not like. Double nuts. Didn't stop me from buying a bottle to put down; the vintner said that it would be much better in eight years, which puts us at 2025. Then Steve drove me to August Cellars, where the Marechal Foch I tried there was a little better, but that was because it was older. I bought a bottle that was ready to drink now, but it is lying under the dresser in my bedroom with the Purple Cow because I am not opening the August Cellars until I've lost ten pounds. Which means by the time I get to it, it will probably be a LOT better.
So it looked like I was going to have to find a place to store a bunch of wine while it sat awhile becoming drinkable. The only person I know with a basement and plenty of room is my sister-in-law, and she lives five hours away. That would certainly keep me out of the wine while it aged. Fortunately, I ran across a PDF on how to make wine with Marechal Foch and Millot grapes, and it said that you can make a blush with them. I really like a dry rose, so I researched making blush wines, which sounded like a lot less trouble than a red, so that's what we did.
The must is happily bubbling away in one of Steve's stainless steel fermenters in the kitchen. It's been bubbling pretty steadily at the same pace for a few days now, so it's not slowing down yet. Once the bubbling has stopped, the fermenting is over, and we'll let it sit in there for another month before we go to bottle.
Whether we bottle wine or vinegar remains to be seen.