Friday, December 21, 2012

More Wine Gear

I lucked out on a kijiji ad.  4 more glass carboys, lots of bottles, bottle tree, a filtering machine, hydrometer, thermometer, corks, foil caps, hoses, racking cane.  The ad said everything you need to get started and they were not kidding.  I think the only thing I'm missing now is a bottle brush.  And a place to store all of this stuff.

So, obviously I need to start more wine. 

Elderberries are the obvious choice.  Obvious, because my primary goal in wine making is to make sustainable table wines to replace the soda pop consumption here.  Elderberries are the only local fruit I have in sufficient quantity at the moment.  Except they're buried at the bottom of a very overstuffed freezer...  I'm not sure I'm up to digging through that with only 4 days left 'til Christmas.

Second choice is pumpkin.  I've been reading recipes, recipes, recipes, recipes, and thinking that this might be an excellent treat around Thanksgiving.  It does take a few years though, lol.  I'm not sure if I have the patience for that.  I mean, someday, when I have an assortment of wines in the cellar, but right now?  I think I may need something a bit quicker.  I do have pumpkins in the cold room though (a friend gave me a couple she bought for Hallowe'en decorations, and the monster squash from the greenhouse).

I'm also tempted to make apple wine, since apple juice has been on sale repeatedly for 93¢ a can.  It's also a quick wine- drinkable at bottling, better aged 1 year.  Apples may never be sustainable for me though.  If I make it, and we like it, I may be committing myself to an unsustainable practice.  But then, I've already done that with the peach, haven't I?

I think I can do three batches at a time- that is to say, I think the buffet cabinet the peach wine is sitting on is strong enough to hold 3 carboys at a time.  I'd have to rearrange the house somewhat to find a suitable place for the other two carboys. 

And some folks might be inclined to think I've lost my mind if I had 5 carboys bubbling away all at once...


  1. I think we need to call you the little old winemaker. Good job on your great find! Just a heads up, I hope you have some good ventilation in your "wine room". Once that stuff starts to work it gets pretty smelly, like 'have you ever been around a silage pit' kinda of smell. Lets just say, if you or your family get the stomach flu, do not go in there! I know from experance, not a good thing.

    I left a comment on your wine blog that said I chinkened out on the blackberry wine and went with the very easy blackberry liquor (vodka). So far so good!!!

    1. Thanks! Well, I can certainly create good ventilation, if necessary. There are two windows and a door. I haven't noticed any smell from the peach at this point though.

      Yes, I read that. (and replied that it sounded yummy!) I think I have the comments fixed to not need moderation now. I started that one on wordpress, just to see if I liked it and to cut back on the photo storage space usage on blogger. So far I'm finding wordpress very awkward and difficult to navigate. I haven't figured out how to save emails as drafts yet, so my pics this morning published when I sent them through. Ug.

    2. I Like the snow on wordpress. That's cool-no pun intented.

  2. Won't you have a bigger problem with wine consumption by the kids than you do with soda consumption. I solved the problem of Coke consumption--I did not buy any. Water was good enough.

    I have got to figure out what a carboy is. And, why is it called a carboy?

    1. What problem is that?

      I don't like soda because it's made with fake sugar, chemicals and preservatives. It also costs me a lot of money. I believe the wine will be a healthier, cheaper alternative.

      Of course, as I've mentioned previously, we only drink one glass of soda per day, with supper.

      The boys also take a can with them for lunch at school, because the cost of juice is prohibitive. Wine would not replace that can, but spending less on soda at home, I might be better able to manage the cost of juice for school.

      Just in case you were wondering, underage drinking under parental supervision is permitted, with some restrictions, on one's own property in the province Ontario.

      And why not make juice instead of wine? I'm working on that as well. I've made a variety of juice concentrates this year, and will continue adding to that repertoire. Juice, however, generally requires more fruit to make than wine.

      Good for you for not drinking coke anymore!

    2. Not drinking Coke lasted for about a week! I try. I really do.

      Yes, I wondered about the underage drinking causing a problem. I think in Texas, children can go in bars and drink the parents drinks.

      It's too bad that schools make the cost of healthful drinks high. Can they buy milk and water like in schools here? It is complicated getting nutrition in kids away from home, especially at school.

      Dinner would be the last place I would drink Coke. I like tea or water with my dinner. Actually, I don't like Coke with vegetables, but with a hamburger, I will drink Coke.

      Just now, I figured out what a carboy is--5 gallon or 6 gallon glass jug. I have a source for gallon glass jugs. Can wine be made in small amounts? I got the jugs for storing water. I think I have 8 now.

    3. Well, we drink water/tea/coffee throughout the day, and prefer something sweet and cold with supper.

      It's not the school that makes the cost prohibitive, it's the manufacturers and the grocery stores. I don't buy drinks for the boys from the school- the milk program at school is much more expensive than buying milk in the grocery store. I'm sure the highschool still has a pop machine, and probably some selection of juice type drinks in the cafeteria, but it's much cheaper to bring drinks from home. Drinking out of the water fountain is free.

      What I'm talking about is the cost of real juice. Cheapest is apple juice, which has luckily been on sale for 93¢/can of late. I've been stocking up. A can is 1.05L. A 2L bottle of pop is 99¢. So apple juice is nearly double the price of pop, and other juices are anywhere from $2-$6/L. It gets very expensive very quickly. Then reading the labels on those other juices, a lot of them contain as many additives, chemicals, and fake sugars as pop- so what's the point?

      A 2L bottle of pop is 8 glasses- 2 days for the boys. Three and a half bottles per week- for a total cost of $3.50.

      Pop and store bought juice are not self sufficient and sustainable, so for me, home made wine with local, free, foraged fruit is the goal.

      Sorry, I missed that. Yes, a carboy is the big glass jug. Some people use plastic jugs as well. I don't like plastic.

      Yes, lots of people make 1 gallon batches of wine, especially when trying out something new. You just need to find a suitable recipe, or cut the recipe down. You also need a more stable temperature- the temperature of larger amounts of liquid don't fluctuate as quickly.

      Sorry to hear giving up coke didn't work out for you.

  3. I have never tried, but you could make rhubarb wine next summer. Rhubarb should grow quite well where you live.

    When you mentioned the pea pod wine in an earlier post, it reminded me of the old British TV show Good Neighbors and the Wind Break War episode.

    1. Yeah, my rhubarb patch does ok. I made your rhubarb juice last summer, and we really liked it!

      My dad made rhubarb wine once, lol. I don't remember it, but my mom started telling me about him adding sugar, and more sugar, and more sugar... and it was awful, lol. Not to say that rhubarb wine is always bad, or always sour, but I don't think dad had invested in proper equipment or really knew what he was doing. Needless to say, they don't have a lot of faith in my wine adventure at this point.

      I think I watched that- or a remake of it. I definitely saw pea pod wine on a British tv show that I watched on youtube, anyway. By the looks on their faces, it was not great stuff- but would make an excellent candidate for vinegar.