Saturday, 27 September 2014

The downfall of having grape vines.

It's grape harvest time in the cottage garden, this year and we have had a bumper crop.  So what on earth happens to all the grapes other than make wine ?
Making wine does sound a good idea.

Grape jelly, grape juice, grape sauce, grape ice cream, champagne, grape oil used in cosmetics. How on earth can I use the grapes in cosmetics ? 
Haven't a clue, but there it is on the net, so someone has used them. 
I suppose we can always eat the grapes just as they are. Okay for the black variety, but the green one's tend to make you screw your eye's up a bit.

Our kitchen wine rack it has to say is rather empty of wine bottles. It's filled with coffee jars because I might need them, a tin bus that had toffee's in it one Christmas time and not forgetting the egg coddler. That never gets used, but it's pretty.
Then there are the famous pair of salt and pepper mice, that for some mysterious reason, went walk about and disappeared after our youngest Grandaughter Marley Wynn made a visit during the Summer.  They made an appearance eventually and turned up again when Freya was having a massive clear out of her toy box.

Toy box clear outs don't happen often. Freya is always down on the beach, the love of her life to dig as many holes as she can before the tide comes back in. Toys are for rainy days.

How to make wine ? 
It doesn't sound so hard. Delving into the net again, I found some basic instructions.
The following is a list of essential equipment to make 30 bottles of wine.

Will our wine rack take 30 bottles ?

The list of equipment.
30 Litre bucket with lid, grommet and amp. Airlock
25 Litre Fermenter with Large Cap. Bung and amp. Airlock
Large Auto siphon (for 25 litre buckets'fermenters)
Hydrometer with Case
Steriliser 100g

I'm lost already and no one has even mentioned grapes yet.

What do I do?

The two most important aspects of making wine are Cleanliness and Temperature. Firstly remember everything that comes into contact with the wine should be cleaned and sterilised. Secondly maintain a constant temperature between 21-26°C (69-79°F). It is much better to be on the cool side and constant than hot one minute and cold the next. Airing cupboards are definitely no, no's.

Steps to making a good wine (follow the instructions!)

  1. Clean and sterilise all equipment.
  2. Add the concentrate and water to the sterilised fermenter/bucket.
  3. Add the yeast sachet and leave to ferment watching the temperature. The yeast will turn the grape juice (and sugar) into alcohol. Carbon dioxide is given off while this is happening and you will see bubbles coming through your airlock.
  4. Once fermentation has been completed the wine is stabilised (to prevent any re-fermentations) and finings are added (to clear the wine).
  5. The wine can then be siphoned off the sediment and transferred into bottles.
  6. The bottles need to be either "corked" (there are several corking devices available) or sealed with plastic stoppers (not very good if keeping wine more than 6 weeks). Shrink tops and labels can then be added.
  7. Leave the wine if you can to mature and enjoy it!
The last wine we made was years ago, there were bottles and corks and stuff bubbling up all around the house. It never was left to mature. At least the few surviving bottles that never exploded were okay.  Dandylion wine, we never had grapevines at that time.

Grape jelly sounded a sure bet.  Better than dealing with exploding bottles and messing around with buckets, besides, it sounded a whole lot quicker.
Bowls of grapes, washed and then the grim task of snail removal.

This took time, removing stalks and something floating around that didn't look like a grape.
The odd snail popping it's head up from the kitchen sink after nearly escaping down the plug hole.
Battering the hell out of the grapes to remove the juice. I'm sure that should have been crushing, but I battered the little blighters, grapes not snails I have to add. Time was ticking and I had other things to do than play around with grapes. 

So what I want to know is, what happens to all the snails that can be found on other people's grape vines ?
Do they mingle in with the wine ?
There are some strange thoughts that go through your head when crushing grapes. 

Any normal person would have suspended the crushed/battered to bits grapes and left then standing overnight in a muslin bag so that the juice found it's way out.  I haven't got time for that. 

After all the sorting, bashing, straining grape juice, boiling it to a sugary pulp, the final result.
Two jars of something that should resemble grape jelly (or not). Two and a bit small bottles of grape juice. Lots of bashed to bits grapes that have now all gone into the garden compost heap.
The grape juice is in the fridge if anyone is interested in trying it. The jars now reside at the bottom of a cool cupboard. Next year what happens to all the grapes at harvest time ?

Anyone who wants to help themselves to our grape harvest is more than welcome. 
Making grape jelly really isn't my thing. 
It must be on par with Area 51.
Below the sign that can now be seen along the road going into the nearby town of Totnes.

 Freya is over at Cat Flap Cavalier as usual.

 See you all very soon. :-) x x x


Lynda (Granny K) said...

I've only ever made wine from 'grape concentrate' from a tin bought in Boots during the 70s. Never used fresh grapes. Good luck!

Chatty Crone said...

Oh my goodness - that is a lot of (Wonderful) work - even if it results in a small amount - lol. Now I did not know that you had a vineyard - how cool is that?

Sue said...

Think you better get some aspirin in for the wine headaches:)

Caroline B said...

I'm on 15 jars of grape jelly so far, with another sack of grapes to sort through. I'm pruning our vine severely after this!

♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥ said...

We bet your grape jelly will be wonderful on some warm toast. Mom remembers when she was a little girl, the German lady next door had grapevines that overhung in Mom's yard, She used to love to play house with her dolls under the vines but the old lady was always scolding her to stay away from her grapes. Mom tasted a few and said they were definitely screw up your eyeballs in flavor:)

Woos - Phantom, Ciara, and Lightning

Murphy said...

All that hard work has a wonderful pay off!

Your Pals,

Murphy & Stanley

WoolenSails said...

We have grape vines all over the place, here. The ladies in our neighborhood where I grew up used to pick them and make jelly. Love the smell when we go hiking, but haven't seen any yet.


Faye Henry said...

Hahaha you are hilarious, my dear friend... Hope you enjoyed the bashing a wee bit at least.. Bet the jelly is good, too.. xoxoox

Tweedles -- that's me said...

We have lots of grapes too! We just eat them. We've never found any snails on the grapes,, that sounds terrible.
Happy grape harvesting!

Allie said...

Well you cracked me up with this post - we have an enormous grape vine along our fence and we leave it for the birds and bees! You're ever so much braver than I. I don't think I'll ever sip wine again without wondering how many snail parts are in it....and Totnes, Area 51 REALLY???? I must come to England.

Unknown said...

Yikes plenty of snails round here alas. Our grapes have gone to the birds this year sadly. Have a serene and easy Sunday.
Best wishes Molly

How Sam Sees It said...

I'd love to try that - grapes or wine! BOL. I've heard grapes grow fine here in AZ, but have never tried them.

Monty and Harlow

Sue Doran said...

Naughty grapes, how VERY dare they be so bountiful! :-)

Anonymous said...

It is nice to know that you actually use the grapes . How cool to be able to drink wine made by yourself. My mum used to make wine out of a local berry that used to grow in India. We were allowed to taste it once it was done and I actually liked it. However we were not allowed to drink it.

Shashi Nayagam said...

Sorry my comment went as anonymous. It was only me my finger just hit the wrong button