Yesterday we bottled another batch of wine, a white for summer drinking. This time we split the batch roughly in thirds. After bottling about a third of the wine straight from the kit, we split the remainder into two, flavouring and sweetening each one separately. We now have ten bottles of chardonnay, eleven bottles of passionfruit chardonnay (sweetened), and eleven bottles of strawberry chardonnay (also sweetened).

As you can see, we had a glass of passionfruit chardonnay left over, so I chilled and enjoyed it last evening as I did some edits for a tech article that should be published online later today or tomorrow. The wine is drinkable now, but we’ll give it a bit of time and then begin popping corks through the rest of the summer… a nice fruity wine suitable for patio sipping.

I learned another good home vintner’s tip yesterday too while I was playing my “Head Vintner & Bottle-Washer” role, the latter task having occupied more than its share of the entire process. We had several boxes of bottles collected of our own plus from friends. The labels we use soak off quite easily, but the same cannot be said for those on the bottles of store-bought wines, so a good bit of soaking, scraping, and scrubbing is required — elbow grease is often required before their first re-use. On about my twentieth bottle, I completed the scraping process, scrubbed away the last of the label adhesive, and dumped out the water from inside. As I went to set the bottle aside to start on the next one, I noticed what appeared to be a mass of wadded up paper or clump of dirt stuck just below the neck of the bottle. Just before I grabbed something to start poking at it, I had a closer look and discovered that whatever it was had at one time had a foot with tiny claws on it.

I didn’t know that mice would climb into wine bottles and get stuck there, but it was the first of two that we found… we’ll be checking more carefully from now on, and should we take further deliveries of donated wine bottles, we’ll be asking if they were stored someplace where mice could get at them. Those two bottles went straight to the recycling bin, along with three whose labels came off but left behind a tenacious adhesive. And poorly-designed Piat d’Or bottles which had been donated. What were they thinking? Those bottles are impossible to stack, so out they go. Despite their appearance, all the bottles in the photo actually stack quite nicely without threatening to dump the entire batch on the floor (I picked the oddest assortment for the photo; most of the bottles are intentionally fairly uniform now that we’ve got enough stockpiled to begin sorting). They reside in a basement closet, stacked in milk crates on their sides, with no mixing of batches permitted in a single crate.

The closet’s not full yet. We’ll have another white ready to bottle soon and drink starting in October, a Müller-Thurgau (previously mentioned) purchased as pure juice+grapes rather than as a kit from concentrate. I’ve got a Barolo to start soon as well, a kit, but with juice rather than concentrate. If I get going on it soon, it should be drinkable around Christmas — in the meantime I’ll be running low on red. We’re down to our last few bottles of the Gewürztraminer we bottled in January, which reminds me, the remote for the DVD player is now missing.

Anyway. Bacchus would be proud.

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