I'm pleased to report that I managed to remember to add the clarifier and carry out the few intermediate steps in the Artful Winemaker's foolproof wine making kit and finally got around to bottling the brew the day before Thanksgiving. I think that's a little over 28 days total, which means that the wine making kit better be foolproof since I didn't follow the instructions to the T and I neglected to install the seal on one of the funnels. How I missed that instruction is beyond me, but the wine was clear, smelled like wine and so I went ahead and followed the directions for bottling.
The first step in this process was to install one more component (a funnel) into the Artful Winemaker's fermentation vessel, which was designed to seal the substantial sediment away from the spigot's inlet. In spite of my somewhat clumsy nature, I managed to get the seal installed on that funnel and get it inserted into the wine without stirring up that sediment -- whew.
Next, I dissolved the sulfite packet in water and rinsed the artificial corks and the wine bottles, taking care to slosh the solution all around to be sure that no stray yeast cell or bacterial spore could escape certain death. After that, it was simply a matter of filling the bottles with the spigot, and inserting the bottle closures. I was ready to call it a day, but my Partner in Culinary Crime noticed that the box of supplies included lovely bottle labels and foils to cover the corks.
So she carefully applied labels to the bottles and I installed the foils before setting the entire case of foolproof homemade red wine in the corner of our yet-to-be-completely-completed-mudroom-addition turned temporary wine cellar.
We cracked a bottle of the stuff on Sunday, just three days after bottling and wow, were we pleasantly surprised. Our homemade Cabernet was entirely drinkable (and looked great in PICC's crystal wineglass) and accompanied our supper of turkey tetrazzini quite delightfully. I was really amazed at the outcome of this experiment and found the foolproof wine to be much more enjoyable than the Franzia boxed Cabernet sitting on the kitchen counter and the bottle of Bogle in the wine rack. I enjoyed the entire process so much that I ordered a couple of kits to send as gifts.
Photos Courtesy Karen Keb
Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on Google+.