Thursday, October 15, 2015

Adventures in Winemaking - Part 1

All of you who read my blog know that I love wine. Something you may not know is that my husband John (who has a background in Chemistry) loves to brew beer. To me, the next obvious step would be to take his talents, and my love of wine and make our own homemade wine.

A few years ago, we made a really lucky discovery. John's parents live on a farm out in a more rural part of central Virginia. It just so happens that they have a row of beautiful GRAPE VINES on their property! Imagine my excitement over this discovery and then multiply it by a thousand and you'll have a good gauge of my reaction. Not only do they have grape vines, but they planted them over 25 years ago. Established grape vines are even better!

I was a little bit disappointed to find out that they were Concord grapes but figured it would still be a fun way to get ourselves into making some homemade wine. About 2 years ago we cleaned up the vines (or so we thought) and waited patiently. Nothing. Remember my excitement over finding the vines? Well, getting ZERO grapes resulted in the exact opposite reaction. Sheer disappointment.

So, we did a bit more research and kindly asked for my mother-in-law's help to care for the vines - she can seriously grow a rose garden in a desert. We cleaned the vines up again this past fall - doing it the right way this time around. With her help, we cared for them all throughout the growing season. We made sure we kept the bugs away as best we could and pruned when necessary. I waited all summer with bated breath to see what would happen.

And guess what?! WE GOT GRAPES!! 

Here's me in my best grape harvesting outfit.

It's hard work snipping those grapes off the vines!

Unfortunately, we got to the harvest about a week too late and we did lose a lot of our grapes to the bees. Lesson learned. Grapes wait for NO ONE.

Look at our beautiful grapes!!!

But, we did get grapes and I can't wait to share this journey with all of you as we attempt to make our very first batch of homemade wine.

Stay tuned for Part 2 - coming soon!!

1 comment:

  1. The grapes look fantastic! I have my associates in Beverage Management and there was a huge emphasis on studying wine, I really am in love. How were the grapes maintained when you stumbled upon them? I had a similar experience in Kentucky once and it was actually very relaxing to clean up the ridiculous mess that was left behind and revive it back into something beautiful.

    Irvin Moss @ Shop Brewmeister