My family and I have started a new hobby: wine making. We don’t have access to fresh grapes until this fall so we are using kits from Wine Expert. We have an Australian Syrah in the carboy and a Chilean Malbec in the primary fermentor (a plastic bucket). Next month we might try a chocolate raspberry port.
Wine making is like playing with a chemistry set. The potions include percarbonates, bentonite, metabisulfate, sorbate and fining agents—yummy! The equipment isn’t too expensive if amortized over several batches: hydrometer, digital thermometer, wine thief, carboys (not pool boys), siphons, whips and tubing of various sizes.
Directions are straightforward; chances of major explosions are slim; empty bottles are free if you have the right sort of friends. In the process you pick up the vintner’s arcane vocabulary and learn the difference between: hips and shoulders, bunts and bungs, legs and lees, racking and fining.
If wine making is an art, we are at the finger-painting stage. Practice might not make perfect but hopefully it will prove the difference between a sociable drink and salad dressing.
Jesus made as much as 180 gallons of good wine in an instant. It will take us about six months to produce 30 bottles. The first vintage from Toe Tag Winery should be ready by Christmas.
When was the last time you started a new hobby, tried a new sport, sampled a new cuisine, visited a new country, studied a new subject, bought a new toy or made a new friend?
Even nuns try on new habits once in a while.