According the latest and greatest of my blogging schedules, today is meant to be Writing Wednesday during which I share with you my writing world, offer up writing advice, or present some other writerly type of babble.

Unfortunately, this week, other than plodding my way through the second draft of The Maze (the third book in my Osteria Chronicles series), there’s just not much going on in my literary life. However, there has been an exciting event in another realm of my existence, so instead of Writing Wednesday, I’m taking a turn for the boozier and making this Wine Wednesday.

As you may remember, a few months ago I thought I’d make use of my garden’s overabundance of grapes by trying my hand at winemaking (if not, read all about it here). Since winemaking instructions tend to be either completely vague or overly technical and since I only had enough grapes for one batch of wine, I decided not to waste my juicy little orbs on my first attempt at being a vintner.

wine, winemaking, winemaking equipment, hydrometer, carboy
Glassware, delicate instruments, chemicals! It’s like science porn!

Instead, I bought some pears from the local greengrocer for my first gallon of Dionysian wonder. Cobbling together the few instructions that made any amount of sense, I managed to get through all the many stages of fermentation, transferred the wine into a jug for more fermentation, transferred it again and again to keep it pretty, and then waited and waited and waited.

wine fermentation, wine carboy, wine airlock, pear wine, wine, winemaking
Wine starts off looking pretty damn gross.

Three months had finally passed and I figured Baby was grown up enough to move out of its jug and be separated into bottles. I don’t know how my wine felt about it, but I was scared. My tastings during each transfer (not always voluntary as I am a bit of a spaz with getting the siphon started) revealed that the stuff was turning out REALLY good. What if I contaminate it when I put it into the bottle? What if the bottles explode and I lose all my wine? What if the corks rot and ruin my batch of boozey goodness?

wine fermentation, wine carboy, wine airlock, pear wine, winemaking, grape wine, wine
Jugs o’jewel-toned goodness. (Pear on the right, grape on the left)

I read some more about the bottling process – again cobbling together information from instructions that ranged from lackadaisical simplicity to rocket-science complexity. None of this made me feel any better about the process, but it had to be done at some point. I cleaned my bottles, bleached them, and then cleaned them a couple more times just for good measure. I gave my corker a test run and figured I might as well go for it.

The bottling went surprisingly smoothly. And let me tell you, hammering fat corks into a narrow bottle neck is a great way to work off your frustrations…although I think I did scare the cats with all the pounding.

winemaking, bottle wine, cork wine, pear wine.
No explosions yet….

It’s been a little over a week since bottling day and, so far, none of the bottles have exploded. They’ve now been turned on to their sides and are living in a chilly corner of my bedroom. It will be another three months of waiting before the final taste test. In the meantime, I’ll have to create some snazzy labels.

I also need to get busy drinking some store-bought vino to create some empty containers for my grape wine that is now waiting its turn to be bottled. Put that on the To-Do List!


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15 thoughts on “Writing Wednesday Takes a Turn for the Boozier

  1. I made my first ever batch of cider three months ago… When I last tried it three weeks later it smelled and tasted just like nail polish remover. Every time my eyes land on that the Demi John sitting in the corner of my kitchen, I have all these thoughts of failure running through my head. Reading you made me feel a bit braver, I might try it again… Tonight. 🙂

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    1. Don’t worry…I started a batch of mead a few weeks ago and it smells like rotting plastic. I keep hoping it will magically fix itself, but I think I’m going to have to admit defeat and admit to wasting three pounds of honey ☹☹.

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      1. People who have opinions and can think articulately for themselves more than two thoughts at a time tend to not be popular I’m afraid, unless they have Booze (or big boobs?? Or both??). Unfortunately the general public doesn’t recognise what it can’t understand… 🙂
        Intelligent people either have to numb themselves down so other people can relate to them – via drinking – or they end up living in solitude, because no one can relate to them and the other way round… They grow tired of other people… 😀


  2. Oooh, exciting! My dad’s been making his own wines for as long as I can remember, so if you have any questions I can steer them his way! And I’ve made my own beer before too… Although I don’t think either of us have ever tried mead or cider! Don’t worry about the crazy complicated instructions – I think as long as you have all your gear super clean and sterilised, the battle is already half won. Oh, and don’t add too much water to the mix, like I did with my first batch. It was… Um… Drinkable. 😆


    1. Hmmm, so now I have you as my personal travel guide to Dublin and your dad as my personal winemaking advisor. I love having staff! I did try beer making a few years ago (I think it’s a requirement to living in Portland). It seemed to cost quite a lot to end with something that tasted pretty much like watered down beer – and had about the same alcohol content.

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      1. Heehee! Sharing knowledge is half the fun of being a crafty person 😀 As for the beer making, I think it probably takes more equipment than I am prepared to buy/store in my already overstuffed Beastie lair to make anything remarkable. My second batch was better than my first, but I was just using canned concentrated cereal gloop as the base for my brew, so it was like making beer cordial! Maybe wine is the way to go… At least you’re using real fruit! That means it’s healthy 😀

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      2. It is VERY important to get your daily recommended servings of fruits.

        I used the cereal glop too. I even tried using two cans to try to boost the flavor and alcohol content. All I ended up doing was wasting quite a bit of money on another batch of bland beer-like liquid. Far cheaper just to go to the store and pick up a six pack!

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      3. Ha! True… Although my second kit came with a sachet of powdered hops, which looked suspect but really gave the brew a lift once I’d dumped it all in! 😀 When’s your wine ready for consumption?


      4. I’m thinking of holding off for another three months. Just bottled my grape wine yesterday so it’s going to be quite the tasting event…better book your tickets before they sell out!

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