Making Gurwustraminer Vino

So, the French Cab I made in the spring has turned out absolutely fantastic. My wino friends say it is every bit as good as a 50 buck bottle at a nice restaurant.

With that success under my belt… Thought I’d try a white…

So here I am… I started this batch back in hmmm maybe June… I put the juice in the bucket, added the yeast, added elderberry dried blossoms, and measured specific gravity and all that.

Around the first week of September, I transferred the wine from the fermenter to a glass carboy. Tried to not get the gooky yeast paste from the bottom, and tried to not get the floaty flower blossoms. A bit of sludge and a few blossoms made it through the siphon , but no big deal breaker there, not enough to let it settle and do it again. Plan was in about 10 days to check the specific gravity daily and when it stopped changing, to clear the wine. Yeah!

Then… I forgot about it… As in really forgot about it. This morning Morning, the 29th of October… 8 weeks plus later, I went into the bathroom we never use… And saw my vino…. I’m not sure how 8 days tuned into 8 weeks… But it did.

So today is the day we add isinglass to clear the wine. Awhile back I bought this really cool wine whip gadget that you use on an electric drill. Last time I used it… Well I didn’t follow the shopkeepers instruction of go slow…

when using a wine whip….

Go slow longer then you need to, cause once the wine starts spinning… The CO2 will come out in a rush… After the initial offgassing, you can speed it up.

And, I found out that wine shop guys do know what they are talking about… oh boy, will it ever rush out. As a result of my first whipping attempt last January, I am now the proud owner of a designated wine making T-shirt complete with Custom Cabernet modern art splotches all over it.

Not wanting to add to my custom wine art tshirt collection, this time I drilled my whip slow, and slow… And slow… Then faster…faster… Nothing, no rush of gas… Just the wine is staring to look cloudy and muddy. Oh gosh, what did i screw up? I thought this was “clearing the wine”. I check my directions, check the Internet and call my store guy expert. Turns out that I’d left the wine sitting so long that it had off-gassed by itself. And the cloudiness is great and desirable at this point. The isenglass needs those old yeast particles floating around in order to make the tinier floaties bind to the big globs to make even heavier bigger blobby clumps which will soon sink to the bottom. This is how you get the wine really clear. Or, the wine guy suggested that I could buy a mechanical filter and skip the clearing. It only costs… (didn’t hear this part as I was admiring his ability to smoothly cross-sell and musing about having him train my shop employees on that very great and little understood art form.)

So I’ve whipped, isenglassed, and put the carboy back into the never used bathroom to sit for yet another indeterminant amount of time, before I rack it… I wonder if I’ll be able to give bottles away for Christmas?

[Republished with permission from myself, from Wine on the Porch, Oct 29, 2011]

Textile Artists and Jacobean Laundry Hampers

I’m drinking home-made cabernet sauvignon wine and thinking…

Funny thing happened today in my store. A nice lady came in and brought her daughter. I knew the nice lady was a potter and after much chatting I had the opportunity to ask the daughter what she did. She said she had a studio. She told me she was a textile mixed media artist. I thought that was a cool way to say “I like to make things and I don’t limit myself to just one kind of thing”.  I do too. My computer geekazoid cum sewing room with surround sound and an easy chair with shakers mounted on it serves as my World of Warcraft throne.

The wine has made me mellow and reflective. Three months ago, I got a new sewing machine. “The Husband” says I bought a new car and it looks like a sewing machine. Probably cause I bought the best. Best doesn’t come cheap you know! But what is a 40 something, no kids, good income, compulsive multitasker personality supposed to do? Why give some to charity and also give some to myself of course! I gave myself a Bernina 830 LE with all the bells and whistles to go with it.

I’ve been playing with all the cool gidgets and features. I took a class to get to know my new baby inside and out. Then I made two hawaiian shirts for me and my husband. I made a couple of little passport size purses for quickie outings where you don’t want a big heavy purse (like going to the bars or dancing).

The Bernina “car” embroiders, so I embroidered the employees names onto their Saturday shirts. I made photo frames for a baby shower coming up. I made a present for the bride for a wedding coming up (won’t post the pics of those until I give them away). I started a quilt.

And, I bought a LOT of fabric for a lot of things I want to make along with sewing accessories, patterns, notions and frew-de-fraws.

A “frew-de-fraw” is what my grandmother called the neat interesting stuff that you don’t really need but you want cause you just know you will be able to use it somehow and so it fills the draws.. and lo and behold you sometimes really use it. Once in a blue moon.

But my total justification for having bought this fine useful peice of high tech equipment for my tech toy geek room is… practical! useful! and need I say beautiful! I fixed, nay made, a hamper. I’m so dang proud of myself.

Fancy replacement laundry hamper
Jacobean Laundry Hamper

This was a fun useful project. The old store bought hamper liner blew out (literally clothing went pffft and popped out the side when the side seam blew out). Instead of making a boring old muslin replacement. I decided to dress this up a bit. Upholstery fabric in a great jacobean pattern fit the pattern. Now I won’t mind leaving this out when company drops in unexpectedly.