La recolte des raisins

As you will no doubt be aware, we are drowning in grapes. I have no idea what to do with them all. I can’t find a co-operative who’ll take them off my hands for vin de table – so Steve decided we should make wine. I guess it’s only sensible. This is laden with problems as it is.

One: I drink a glass of wine a week. About. Mostly, I leave my glass half full on the floor and kick  it over a few days later. I cook with it quite a lot – most soups and stews benefit from a good shot of wine. Steve drinks a glass a night. Currently, in the land of the grape, we drink a couple of bottles of 2.50 euros wine a week. Always white. That’s a crap set of behaviours for French inhabitants when the rest of the nation drinks red wine by the bottle, and it’s a crap set of behaviours for a girl whose father and step-mother hosted a lunch where the guests drank 12 bottles of wine between 8 people on Sunday. Before tea. I feel like a let-down. Still, my liver is in good condition!

Anyway, it seemed like I couldn’t make enough juice to use up the produce of 150 vines – so Steve decided we should at least have a go at wine-making. Nothing ventured, nothing gained and all that. Plus, it won’t cost anything and we might have something at the end of it. Who knows?!

It seems, however, that the entire home-brew English-speaking world only does ‘kit’ wine at home, or ridiculously complicated chemical calculations to work out what you need to kill off, then add, then how long, and temperatures and so on. I just needed something simple, but no matter what search I did on English-speaking Googles, I couldn’t find anything. I had some insight into Campden Salts and Wine Yeast – but nothing beyond.

It took one sensible google on to find home brewing (sans ‘kit’) to be alive and kicking – comme les Romans, je pense.  Surely, back in A.D. 1, they didn’t have Campden salts and hydrometers and so on.

So, we washed and sanitised a bin. We picked 5 buckets-full of white grapes, de-bunched them and we’ve now left them overnight for creepy-crawlies to come to the top and for Mr. Gravity to do its work and begin to soften the skins. Tomorrow, we shall get to work with a couple of potato mashers and a bit of net. I shall upload pictures as and when.

I’d guess, if each bucket holds about 10 kg of grapes, we’ve got 50 kg grapes – not sure how much we’ll get from all this. Watch this space!!

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