Friday, July 27, 2012

Family Tradition

So, yesterday's post has kind of blown up a little after a friend posted a link to it on Facebook.  But everyone has been really nice about it, which I appreciate.  What I am hearing is that there is a majority who just wants to talk about things in a civil way, but they can't be heard over those who don't.

Anyway, yesterday was the first day that I didn't get in a full workout.  And I felt it during this morning's, let me tell you.  It's not like I have to have a reason to miss, but yesterday's was pretty good.  It's time to start the process for wine making.  My family doesn't have a big vineyard or make it for consumption of the outside world, but we have been making it for many, many years.  I can remember many of the wine-making days of my childhood, where we spent more time running up and down the stairs than we did actually helping.  It was always a big party, with various friends and family members helping pick the grapes from the stems and get them into the holding barrel.  It's not been a great season for the grapes here, with it being so dry.  So, instead of waiting for a Saturday when everyone could be there, we had to take care of things right away.  And by we, I mean my dad and me.  Don't worry,  I took some pictures (with my phone).

We didn't have the 13 or 14 bushel I remember seeing as a child to pick thank goodness.  We only had five, and Dad had already taken one down by the time I got there.  This one has been Instagrammed, so it's extra fancy, the rest?  Not so much.
 This is one of the better looking bunches.  The grapes were falling right off the stems, which isn't really a desired effect.
 We hand-pick our grape from the stems.  I'm told you don't have to, but it makes for a lot more sediment to strain out when you get to the cooking down process.
 This is the grinder.  It's looks a little like a medieval torture device, but it totally does the job.  And what is the job?
 It takes the grapes and pops them out of the skins and juices them into the bucket before they go into the big barrel to rest. (And ferment.)
 And this doesn't look like a big barrel, but it is.  I can't even see into it unless I stand on my tip toes.  The grapes will hang out in there for a couple of days until it's time to cook them off.
While the picking was a family affair, cooking them off is not.  It's something that the various men (Grandpa and Bob in my childhood, my dad and uncle today) do.  Mostly it involves a lot of arguing about how we did it last year.  When we were young, I remember sitting on the upstairs vent and listening to the good-hearted grumbling coming up from the basement.  

 Making wine may be a lot of work, but drinking it makes it totally worth the effort!  And our family's is something special!

I'm going to spend the evening watching the Olympic Opening Ceremonies!  (And most of the weekend!)  Hope you have a great one!


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