Unfortunately, he was traveling most of every month, and I was always writing when I wasn't helping my daughter. We never found the time to get going on our little winery. We read a lot--my hubby more than me--about viticulture, but we never found the time to get the property fenced, properly prepare the ground, select and plant the root stock, and all the other details.
Three years ago, we decided to buy wine grape juice and actually make wine. After all, we didn't know if we'd actually like the time involved, the fermentation process, and other elements of making and bottling wine.
We both like Merlot so we decided to start with Merlot juice. After reading extensively, he knew he wanted to "oak" it. We also wanted it to be a soft Merlot so we added some dried elderberries.
We made a few mistakes along the way, but we bottled that first batch of wine--23 bottles I think. Six months after bottling it, we tasted it and were stunned by how good it was. After another 6 months, we sampled another bottle. It was better than many expensive wines we've bought.
Today, I had a meeting with my cover artist so I took a bottle to her. We've given bottles to friends and family, and all who have drunk it have enjoyed it--even raved about it.
Naming Our Wine
After we had bottled our first wine, I was texting one of our sons and one of our daughters about it. I texted, "It's Merlot." They texted back, "What is Merlin wine?"
iPhone's auto-correct had changed it. I texted again, "Merlot," and this time it went through. The return text? "Merlin's Merlot? That's a neat name."
I gave up trying to explain via text message so we've just all called it Merlin's Merlot.
A couple of weeks ago, Larry and I decided we needed to start making wine again so by the time we run out of our Merlin's Merlot, we'll have some new wine ready to sample. This time he bought Pinot Noir juice. It was in the primary fermenter a little over a week. Now it's in a carboy, still bubbling in the airlock which means the yeast is still active.
In another week, Larry will rack it into another carboy. Racking means transfer the wine via a long tube and gravity into another big glass carboy.
He'll probably rack it a few times before he stabilizers and clarifies it. Then he'll bottle it, and store it in the back of the pantry at the ranch. That's where the next ingredient will be added to the bottled wine. That ingredient is Time.
Sometime in the fall, we'll open a bottle and see if it's drinkable so stay tuned!