Wine Gas

We enjoy eating at a restaurant as much as the next guy. Having a list of alternatives presented, choosing the tastiest one, and having someone responsible for cleaning up afterward is a treat like few others. There are some drawbacks, like any decision in life, but when the time comes for us to splurge on a meal out, we let the good times roll.

One thing the restaurant experience fails to impart is the pleasure of handling food… especially the smells. An onion we’ve grown ourselves presents such a lovely presence as its texture is explored under the knife, as it’s odor escapes and slices through your nose.

wineI thought about these things this morning when I came downstairs for breakfast. The kitchen smelled really good, and I hadn’t even done any food prep yet. About a week ago, one of our neighbors brought us a couple of baskets of grapes he’d grown on his vines. These were Fredonia grapes, which I’d never heard of. There happened to be just enough to make 2 gallons of wine, so we cleaned them and got them placed in mesh bags and into the primary fermentors.

One of the chemicals my recipe book calls for is a Campden Tablet. One is crushed per gallon of wine and is added to the primary fermentor with all the other ingredients except the yeast. After 24 hours, the yeast is pitched, and then the waiting begins. If a batch of wine is going to fail, it is at this point. Sometimes the yeast doesn’t take hold.

This morning when I came downstairs thinking about other things, the smell of fermenting grapes hit my nostrils. The smell is very nice but hard to describe. And I got to thinking about all the folks out there that enjoy a glass of wine, but miss out on the process of making that wine. The colors, textures, and most of all for me, the smells, are such an important part of the experience. In this case especially, where the grapes came from a good friend and neighbor, the experience is enhanced. If this batch comes out (we’ll know in about 6 months) then our neighbor, who also likes wine, will get a bottle or two, and he’ll be part of the process.

Talk about enhancing the flavor… the memories of the process of preparing the grapes, the smell of the first wine gas, the friendship involved in the exchange of the fruit, and the first sip of the finished product; it doesn’t get much better than that.

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