In the quest to experience less chaos and find more Zen in my life, I have concluded that I really enjoy the making and bottling of wine. There is something calming about the bottling process. It has a rhythm to it, like music. Think waltz: rinse, sterilize, drain; fill, cork, cap; heat-shrink, label, box; one, two, three; one, two, three; one, two, three.
Perhaps it is because it requires less thought, and the action of it is more by rote. Perhaps it is because the rhythm of it reminds me of music. Perhaps it is just the extreme and complete 180 from my normal frantic pace. Whatever it is, it gives me a sense of calm and tranquility. It also gives me a tasty bonus when the time comes to uncork and enjoy!
Last Thursday I bottled a batch of Amarone. It is a double-fermented, dry, Italian red with a wonderful fruity overtone. It is a bit raw coming out of the carboy, but 12 months from now, I will be singing its praises as it slides over my palate and down my throat like expensive silk.
When I was finished with bottling, I proceeded to make three batches of Christmas wine. It is so easy when you make it at a great micro-winery like Your Vine or Mine in Painesville. I mix it right there. They take care of the day-to-day work, like filtering. Six weeks later, I come back and bottle the wine. Fruit wines, like the ones I make for Christmas gifts, are ready to drink as soon as they are bottled, but I like mine aged a little, so I make it in early August, bottle in mid-September, take home the spoils, and my Christmas gift list is 90% crossed off! Where else can you find a decent gift for friends, family, and co-workers, etc. for less than the cost of a movie ticket?
No one turns down a bottle of wine. Even if they are a teetotaler, they can re-gift it or serve it to dinner guests. I can’t tell you how many times a wine recipient has told me that after serving my wine, a guest wanted to know where to buy a case. That kind of review speaks for itself! Designing your own label is fun and creative. It gives the gift a personal touch.
Of course, if you want to make a straight wine, like a Reisling or a Merlot, then you need to do it now to give the wine sufficient time to age before the holidays. Otherwise you have to tell the recipient to wait until a certain period of time has passed before they can pour it for dinner.
This is the fifth time I have made “holiday” wine, and I have to say it has gone a long way toward relieving the stress of finding the perfect holiday gift. I highly recommend Your Vine or Mine, where you can find your own little bit of Zen, and take care of your holiday gift list at the same time!