Frankenstein Wine

| 12/13/2013 3:22:00 PM

Tags: Grapes, Wine, Wine Making, Kitchen Experiments, Fruit,

Turn the Paige HomesteadersAmong the things that farmers do besides animal husbandry, growing crops, and learning how to maintain farming equipment, is the occasional practice of wine making. We are far from being on the cover of Wine Enthusiast magazine, but we figured out that it is possible to make good tasting wine out of almost anything that will ferment and we decided it might be fun to try. How hard could it be, right?

Frankenstein wine

Acting on our decision to commit to a three-month process, we accumulated several 6-gallon glass carboys and made a trip to the local brewery supply store for wine-making supplies. We followed the instructions on all of the equipment and familiarized ourselves with wine additives, stabilizers, filters, sanitizers and hydrometers. Naturally, when we shared our news with family and friends, we received lots of advice and requests from many self-proclaimed wine experts who had made a batch or two in their lifetime. The first recipe we tried came from my father-in-law and seemed quite simple. The process took only a couple of hours plus the three months of fermentation and aging, but the results were (to say the least) surprising.

Applejack wine

“Applejack” wine is basically a hard cider made from unpasteurized apple juice, sugar, and a packet of yeast. In my mind, I saw us as mad scientists, and I remember shouting “Look, it’s alive” when I saw the first sign of gases being emitted from the metabolic process. After the fermentation process was complete, we poured the liquid into to freezer containers and discarded the ice that formed the following day, leaving what we thought would be a beverage similar to wine, but boy were we wrong! After weighing the risk of poisoning ourselves with our own home-made concoction, we decided to imbibe in our first attempt at creating our spirit and toasted to our health. It didn’t take long for us to figure out that we needed further study on the correct method of using a hydrometer to test for alcohol content. Instead of a mild, wine-like cocktail, we ended up with a potent albeit potentially hazardous and highly alcoholic beverage that was off the scale for teetotalers like us! We have kept a bottle of it in the event we ever need to start a camp-fire, but the rest we gave away to brave souls who promised responsibility and signed a waiver (OK, I’m just kidding about the waiver).

12/16/2013 1:32:59 PM

Paige Homesteaders, my your first wine making experience was quite the adventure, wasn't it. I dabbled in wine making some 40 years ago with some success and always wanted to try it again but just never had the equipment or the time to do it. I tried orange (yuck), apple (palatable), and the best was Mulberry. My neighbor and I made it together. I know it was good because by the time I tried my bottle of wine he and his brother had drank the other 11 bottles. That was kind of the end of my wine making. I wasn't much of an alcohol drinker anyway. ***** I hope many more batches will be wonder full wine. Have a great wine tasting day.

12/15/2013 1:48:43 PM

You would have loved my grandmother. Her cookbook is full of hand-written wine recipes - from chokecherry wine to dandelion wine to rhubarb wine. My mom says that the "juice at breakfast was NEVER orange" - apparently they made juice and wine from whatever was right there on the farm. I'm hoping to brew a batch of rhubarb wine up next spring myself. Jim says no to the dandelion wine, tho.

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