Thursday, May 18, 2006

Making Wine While the Sun Shines

For some time now Stig had been talking about the idea of buying a big buch of grapes from the markets and turning them into wine.

It seemed like a cool idea and eventualy the day rolled around when it couldn't be put off any longer. I went on a recon mission with Mouse the weekend before and then there was no turning back, the date was set.

I was supposed to go help Stig pick up the grapes but, being me, I decided to chuck a sickie the friday before 'G-Day' to build a wine press. Also, being me, I manged to fuck up Rob's drop saw, lost 2 hours trying to fix it and consequently had to send Rob out in my place while I finished the press Saturday morning.

So, there we were with 16 cases of grapes, a wine press and some enthusiasm. A good thing we had the enthusiasm because after pressing 3 baskets of grapes in the press (about 3 baskets per box for those challenged by my personal metric system) the main beam on the press broke and we had to squish the little bastards by hand.

The Broken Press - Day 1

I fixed the press that eveing and shored it up with extra timber. The next day it worked a treat for the first six or seven pressings and then it just siezed up (I still have to cut the nut open to find out why).

Rob and Stig work the press

Turning the press was hard work and it seemed that tasks were assigned along traditional lines.

Mouse and Tina wash grapes

Which left the menfolk to squish more grapes by hand.

Rob and Tops squish grapes

Since this is a family operation we had some child labour too.

While Alex didn't manage to fix the press he did manage to collect all the nuts and bolts that had been scattered about in the adult's attempt to fix it.

Oliver provides moral support for Tanw. Go dad!

In the end we were left with a pile of grape juice and an even bigger pile of compost. Only time will tell if we get any wine for our effort.

Two 60 L tubs and three 20 L fermeters of juice. This photo seems blurry but perhaps that's in anticipation of times to come.

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