Right now is one of my favorite times of year. Even though it’s sad to see summer quickly fading away, the silver lining to those impending autumn storm clouds is the abundance of free food around the neighborhood. Plum trees in schoolyards are kindly giving up their fruit, neighbors are begging you to take away their giant zucchini, and my secret goldmine of blackberry shrubs are bursting with purply goodness.

But wait, there is a downside to all this bounty: We still have blackberries from last year’s gleaning in the freezer. Luckily, Finn McSpool whipped out the kitchen scale and discovered we had just enough to start a batch of blackberry wine.

Those of you who have been with me for a while will remember my surprisingly good results from my very first batch of pear wine not long ago. Since then, I’ve made a couple gallons of wine from my own grapes, tried a winemaking kit (never again), had to dump out a failed batch of mead (sorry, bees), and am currently drinking my way through a round of pear-apple wine. It’s been a whole lotta boozy fun, but this is the first time Finn McSpool (who has been quite the do-it-yourselfer lately) lent a paw…for better or for worse.

Orvieto, Italy, Italia, Umbria,
Finn playing the wine connoisseur in Orvieto, Italy.

First off, it’s been a while since my last round winemaking, so Finn read over the directions and my notes from my previous wines that came out successfully to see what we had to do.

Knowledge attained, Finn let me do the hard work of sterilizing everything while he just stood around for photo shoots (so much for helping).

Finn, realizing he wasn’t quite doing all he could, decided he wasn’t being fair. After all, it was his idea to start this project, then all he does is—

-Finn! No!!

-What? I watched an educational video last night on winemaking and this is what you’re supposed to do.

I Love Lucy episodes are NOT educational videos. Get out of there and go take a bath!!

At least he kept his book dry.

We won’t even talk about all the Beastie paw prints I’ve been cleaning up ever since.

Anyway, once the kitchen was moderately clean again, it was time to toss the berries into their straining bag, add some water, add a campden tablet, then wait 24 hours for the sulphur to do its sterilizing magic. The next day, we dumped in a bit of yeast and then waited. And waited. And waited.

-Finn, if you want to take a peek, we can remove the lid. Besides, do you really want people to know you’re looking through something called a bunghole?

Normally, I don’t start wine until the less-busy days of winter when the house is rather chilly and my yeast takes a lot of coaxing to get going. But with the warm summer weather, these yeast cells were super happy and were vigorously munching away at the sugars. When I pulled the lid off to give Finn a better view, it smelled delicious even if it did look a bit gory.

I’m not sure if I should be worried about that maniacal look on Finn’s face.

After just a few days, much of the yeast activity had quieted down and it was time to see if our wine was ready to be locked away in a jug.

-Time to put on your chemistry hat, Finn.

-I haven’t got a chemistry hat, only a kilt.

-It’s just an expression. Never mind, you can just watch.

I don’t know if Finn is near-sighted or what, but he wanted to watch as up close as possible as  I took a hydrometer reading. Yep, the yeast had done most of their work and it was now time to pour the wine into an airtight jug to finish up.

-You mean there’s nothing left to do?

-There’s a few things we need to do in a couple month, but yes, Finn, that’s about it for now.

I thought Finn went off to read, or pout, or pose for another photo shoot, but it turns out he went to the store to get something.

-Peaches!? Thanks Finn, I love peaches.

-No, these aren’t for you. These are future peach wine.

-Hmmm…I think we have some strawberries from the garden in the freezer.


So, now we have two gallons of future wine bubbling away in the basement: one blackberry and one peach-strawberry (which smells soooooo good even if it looks a bit medicinal right now).

-Finn, the jugs aren’t workout equipment…sigh….

Hope you enjoyed this foray into fruity wine. See you Wednesday…unless I forget to put on my eclipse glasses, then I won’t be seeing anything.

9 thoughts on “It’s Wine Time for Finn McSpool

  1. Hahaha! Oh, the rest of the Beasties are so jealous of Finn’s boozy adventures… Don’t blame me if a bunch of them show up on your doorstep on uncorking day! His improvised peach and strawberry wine sounds delicious as well – since posting a bottle over probably isn’t an option, I might see if I can convince my dad to give this recipe a go… 😀

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    1. Awww, a Booze-Filled Beastie Invasion would be the cutest invasion ever (and would make for a great blog post). If you convince your dad to be your own personal vintner, I think I used about 3.5 pounds of peaches and 1 pound of strawberries. Although it may not be the same without Finn supervising the process. 😉


      1. Probably not… But I’m sure I can rustle up some little monsters who fancy stomping about on fruit in the name of booze creation! I’m going up home tomorrow, so I’ll start dropping some hints… Cheers for the recipe!


      2. I forgot to mention that those amounts were for a one-gallon batch (details, details, recipe, schmecipe). Good luck finding some willing fruit mashers.


      3. Aha! Thank you… Fruit mashers won’t be a problem, but decent peaches might be! We’ll have to see what the “reduced to clear” section of the supermarket holds…


    1. I think the alcohol content is pretty close to “real” wine…about 12-14%. I always forget to take that final hydrometer reading to get the exact amount, but some batches are pretty darn potent. The wine kit I tried though…total crap. Tasted absolutely blahhhh and I swear the alcohol content was lower than grape juice.

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