Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The "Spirits" Of Family- Traditional Wine Making

     As I have mentioned before, I wanted my blog to be more than just about food or books.  This blog is supposed to be about my "Recipes I Live By" or recipes for life.  What does this mean you ask? Well it's what makes me, me!  I come from a very large, obnoxious, loud, boisterous, eccentric, creative, tight knit, wonderful family that I would not exchange for anything.  Not even all the money in the world.  My family is amazing.  We are so close that we do almost everything together, from traveling the world, dinners, to even the littlest thing of going to the movies.  We are each other’s best friends. We are each other’s confidants and counselors.  And even when we fight, we are the ones we each turn to when we want to attack back with a vengeance.  Anyways, wine making was in our blood.  Our grandparents made it.  Our great grandparents made it.  Even when we traveled to Italy as a family we discovered our cousins still living there still make their own wine. 

     For years my family has grown grapes in their backyards.  My parents live next door to my uncle and aunt and they too had grapes growing in their yard.  My uncle, my mother's brother, used to take the grapes and follow in his father's footsteps by making homemade wine as well.  It had been years since he had made any and it caught my curiosity to learn this trade that our family has done forever.  I approached my uncle and asked him to teach me the ways of wine making.  He excitedly agreed.  That summers end, him, my aunt, and my parents harvested the grapes off of their arbors to freeze and store for myself and my cousin to learn the trade of "Spirit" making.

     Once the first of the year hit we chose a weekend that was good for both of us and started the smashing process.  My uncle made us some "mashers" and so began the tedious process of mashing grapes for their juice.

          We then strained each bucket of juice into large crocks using cheesecloth as best as we could.  

         Once we had all the grapes smashed, that our little arms could handle, we added some special ingredients to help the fermentation process.  Ingredients such as pectin, wine yeast, and some others.  We covered each crock and kept by the furnace in the cellar for 5 days.

Then came the first round of syphoning, racking, and sweetening.
Cut to two months of sitting in the dark and sealed.

To another round of syphoning and racking and one more month of sitting in the dark.  We added some "finisher" to bring out more of a taste and stop the fermentation process.

Viola! The finished product.  The sweet grape smell just like the streets of Italy.  A beautiful rose color with just the right amount of "spirit" Not bad for my first time of attempting this family tradition.  We were able to get roughly 25 bottles out of 8lbs of grapes.  I have already been drinking on it with the help of family and friends.  Soon, our annual family reunion will be here and we will have plenty to share with everyone. I'd like to think that our grandfather, his father, and so forth would also enjoy our product. Now let's hope this year's grapes do just as well.

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