Sunday, September 3, 2006


Last night was so nice. Bobby and I showed up at my parents' house around 6:30 to find my them and my brother Keith patiently destemming and crushing the grapes they'd grown to make wine out of. They had about an 80-20 blend of cabernet sauvignon and pinot noir. Unfortunately, they didn't have a grape crusher, and you'd be surprised how difficult it is to crush those darn things. They had started with a potato masher, but found it inadequate, so my dad, Keith and my brother Aaron had gone to the hardware store to see what they could find, and eventually came home with a giant potato masher. Unfortunately, that didn't work either. So by the time we'd arrived they'd been working on this for hours. Mom and I started making dinner while dad, Keith, and Bobby finished crushing grapes by putting them in casserole dishes and smashing them with spatulas. I don't know for sure about the others, but Bobby still has purple stains on his knuckles and fingernails. And some blisters. I had no idea it would be that much work. But this time it worked, and so by the time we needed someone to man the grill, we had plenty of bodies available.

Once the grapes were crushed the next step was to measure the sugar and acidity level of the juice. The sugar level is going to determine the alcohol content (more sugar, higher percentage), and the acidity is going to affect, well, the acidity. But this was our first time, and the directions were apparently written by someone that assumes you read all the directions before even starting (rather than our way of completing the steps as we read them the first time), so instead of adding 10 ml of this reagent 0.5 ml at time, we did the whole thing at once... oh, then make sure you add three drops of this reagent before you start adding that first reagent. So needless to say we had to start over.

We were an amusing bunch though, I must admit. You put that many scientifically minded people in a room together and then ask them to perform a little laboratory experiment, and it's like giving a baby candy - we were all on our knees crowded around the pool table discussing the anticipated color change. Because you need at least three people to determine when the liquid has gone from pink to green.

We learned that we would have wine that was low in alcohol content and high in acidity. I'm not expecting a fantastic bottle, but it was a good time. Aaron and his wife Patricia came by for dinner, and we all sat down to eat. Mom had made these jalepeno poppers from scratch, and they turned out to be quite hot. Even with dad, Bobby, and Aaron being the type that like food so hot it makes them sweat, everyone was about having a heart attack from the spiciness. I, being one that prefers mild salsa, didn't have any, so I was essentially enjoying the show. Troopers that they were, they all attempted having more. The second one Bobby ate about made him cry. It was amusing listening to them all snifle.

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