After a little vacation, I figured it’s time to get Crafty Bitch back on the go. So, as my return-from-hiatus craft I wanted to make something that was not only fun and pretty but something with a lot of umph. So, I made a short list of my favorite things: 1. Makin’ shit, 2. Reading, and 3. Being a lush. So the logical conclusion is to make alcohol, which sounds incredibly hard, but if you can read (see number 2) you can do it.
So, I set out into the interweby to see if venturing into the wine making world was for me. But for some reason the only things I could find were frou-frou blogs and posts from sniffle-y wine snobs which used words that I had only ever heard on Fraiser. So I veered headlong and without any sort of preparation into the wine-making world, but I knew that my love of booze would triumph over my tendencies to let my interests wane and a general lack of determination with these sorts of things. Most people pick up hobbies that are intended to better oneself, but most people (myself included) begin to make wine so the world just gets a little bit drunker—that, my little meatballs, is a true hobby worthy of my time and effort.
With a little help from Santa Clause I came into possession of a beginners wine making kit from Brewery Lane (which, you might remember, is the store that provided me with the fizzy for my fizzy bath bombs). This is a neat and compact little kit that has almost everything you need for making vino. The most important thing is that you read your instructions carefully, as well as take a little cue from one of my favorite books and “Don’t Panic”.
Know your Shit
Juice- This is what becomes delicious, delicious booze.
Packets- they’re filled with stuff that do things that I don’t care to figure out (stabilizers, clarifiers, junk like that).
Plastic Carboy- A lot of my amateur wine-making pal-ios have turned up their noses at me when I say I’ve got a plastic carboy instead of a glass one. The big thing I’ve been hearing is that there’s a greater risk of oxygen diffusion. To these Debbie Downers I say, “Well, that’s just impossible because I don’t know what that means.”
Auto-Siphon- This is a nifty little piece of equipment that helps you transfer your wine from one vessel to the other. When I first heard of a siphon I, classy lady that I am, thought of pilfering gas out of a car—and that’s pretty much the kind of tool it is, which is convenient if I you up creating a gasoline substitute instead of wine. It’s not as unlikely as you might think.
Sanitizers- To keep the germies out.
Making it Happen
Basically, and there is some variation to this process, you read the instructions and then follow them. That’s about it. Even the complex instructions are easy– they’re usually something like put this here, stir, now put it here, stir, stir some more, etc. I know you’re thinking, “But what if I’ve never made wine before, and I bought all the stuff separately and I don’t have instructions?” Well, to that I would say, “Go get your money back and buy a kit.” I’m of the school that believes that you’ve got to learn how to fry up a grilled cheese before you conquer coq au vin. Anyway, the basic instructions go something like this:
1. Sanitize everything by following the instructions on your sanitizing powder.
2. Put your juice in the bucket followed by water and any other little extras that your instructions say to add (which are clearly labeled, thank Jesus).
4. Wait two weeks
5. Tranfer juice into the carboy using the auto-siphen.
6. Wait four weeks
7. Transfer wine into wine bottles
8. Add all the little finishing bells and whistles. I got some black seals from Brewery Lane (do I love them because of the great customer service, or the adorable pun-name? Who knows, who cares). Then I ordered some labels online that cost way too much and are taking too long to get here, before I realized I can get them locally at a place called Brew Craft. I made them myself with my trusty MS Paint:
There were moments when I felt like a backwoods moonshiner, because, clearly, the very technical fermentation process doesn’t work unless you are barefoot and stirring like a butter-churning fiend. I also listened to some Bill Monroe and Soggy Bottom Boys to keep in the spirit while getting my churn on.
I found making wine was a lot like making bread– people say it’s hard but it’s mostly a lot of waiting around. Then you present it to your friends and family with a smug look on your face that says, “I created this tiny delicious miracle out of raw materials and a dream, what did you do with your afternoon?” This is a super fun hobby that involves very little thinking, in fact, you’ll probably even kill quite a few brain cells. Plus, it’s extremely rewarding (and I mean actually rewarding, not rewarding-by-obligation, like earning a degree, or volunteering). And if you find it’s something that you’re actually interested in, you can, you know, start to use your brain and actually learn the ins and outs of it. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some lovely winos who would like shower heaps of praise upon me. That’s code for “I’m breaking out Buster the Big Glass tonight”.
Song of the Day: