My workplace has a clause, that says something to the effect of “you won’t present a negative image on the workplace”. In other words, no moonlighting at strip clubs, starring in amateur porn, getting drunk and ‘acting a fool’, getting arrested for most anything, stealing, perjuring yourself, etc.
It was therefore with some trepidation that I undertook this whole wine making thing. After all, this is the “Bible Belt”, and depending on someone’s particular level of religious nuttery, wine may be perfectly fine (Catholicism, Whiskeypalian) or it may be absolutely Verboten (southern baptist – someone please tell these people that Jesus turned water into wine, it can’t be that bad). So, I asked the boss.
“Are you going to sell this wine?” She asked.
“No – you need a license. Selling it without one would be illegal”.
“Have fun” she says… So, I embarked upon the grand plan to turn surplus grapes (I still have a freezer full of the little purple bastards. I’m so sick of looking at grapes) into a shelf stable, non refrigerated, potent potable with some slightly deleterious effects. It seems to have worked. My white grapes have converted to a mixture of yellowish tint, containing approximately 15% alcohol. My red grapes finished up around 18%, according to my vinometer.
Now, I didn’t mean for them to be this strong. I was hoping for a lower alcohol content, sweeter wine. I thought there may be a way to stop the fermentation at around 12%, and leave the rest of the sugar as sweetener. Oops. It’s about as easy to stop a fermentation in progress as it is to dam a flowing river without diverting it. Maybe possible, but with greater effort than I could spare. I have since learned that when adding sugar in the beginning (you have to add sugar to muscadines. They just aren’t sweet enough on their own), that I only should have added sugar to around 14% potential alcohol level. The rest could have been saved to the end. Once the yeasts have finished their job, and the wine stabilized, the excess sugar can be added.
Oh well, you live and learn, and get really drunk on my wine. Maybe some people will have parties and baby showers and birthdays and Saint Patrick’s Days and christenings (wait, skip the last part – I don’t know anyone who would do that), and New Year’s and Hell, anyone want a free Bottle of wine?
So by this weekend, it should be bottled. I’m wondering what else I can ferment, now. I need something in juice form from which I can make wine. Apple juice maybe?
South Carolina says I can legally make up to 200 gallons in a year. I have two five gallon fermenters, and given that wine ferments over two months, I can make six batches a year, which is less than half of my allotted production, so not to worry…
Wait, 200 gallons per person. My wife needs her own fermenters…