Its been busy at home recently, its the prime time for making the home made wine as the summer fruits are coming to an end and the autumn fruits are emerging; and the apples are coming on stream. Since August its been full steam ahead and from the beginning of the year its been busy, it began with the elderflowers and the elderflower champagne made a large batch of 70 gallons which was rapidly consumed through the summer and was an especially good brew according to those drinking it.
Through the summer batches of 2 gallons of wine have been made from all the fruits on my acreage and to date over 100 gallons of country wine from various fruits have been made.
Rhubarb champagne has been made and as many people don't eat rhubarb and its been in abundance this year her indoors has frozen a lot and the rest has been turned into champagne and rhubarb pies, its surprising how many people wont eat rhubarb but will drink it.
Now autumn has hit its autumn fruits time and the rose hips, blackberries, and apples are in abundance they are all being fermented into wine as well as being frozen or made into pies, you cant beat a good apple and blackberry pie.
Then we had a visit from an old cider maker friend who asked how we make our cider and he had a practical demonstration as we don't mess about, we went with a 4X4 and large trailer and a teleporter and stripped the trees as we could get all the apples and the quantities we got were in tonnes, so he asked how we would press so many. He assumed we would chop them up and put them through a garden shredder and then into an old apple press, how wrong he was, we use technology.
From one project I salvaged an old fruit shredder and the kids cut the apples into quarters by hand, cut out the pips and throw them into the chute of the fruit shredder which chops them up, they drop into the press which is lined with a delivery bag which is like the builders ballast bags but three times taller, this has a muslin cloth inside it. Once shredded they drop into the press and lots of apple juice runs out and through the drain into the 1000 litre plastic barrels we use, it has a 3" outlet due to the quantities we press, then the magic, once full the muslin was laid over the apple pulp, then the bag was laid over it, then thick timbers cover the bag, then a large steel plate, then forget screws and large pipes as we fit a hydraulic ram and with 50 tonnes of pressure it soon presses the juice out of the pulp. Once we pressed the eating apples and got 3000 litres of apple juice we pressed the cooking apples and got nearly 4000 litres and the cider makers went mad, all this was pressed in one afternoon and they were busy collecting both juices for blending to make their ciders for the winter.
With all those pips and a number of both cooking and eating apples left they were thrown through the shredder as pips in cider gives arsenic which gives scrumpy its distinctive taste and venom and the whole lot remaining was pressed for scrumpy.
So why make wine? its a relaxing pastime which doesn't place time constraints on you and gives a well stocked cellar by getting you out into the fresh air fruit picking, it isn't expensive at less then £1 per bottle when a cheap commercial wine costs about £5 per bottle and tastes cheap, your wines contain no additives or preservatives such as anti-freeze and (TOM) it doesn't give you a hangover.