Wednesday, 5 June 2013

The Wine Barrel in Madoc - Making Wine For The Renewal

    When Christopher and I decided that we would celebrate our 20th anniversary by renewing our wedding vows, it seemed so far into the future.  It felt like we had limitless amounts of time to get it all done.  I had lofty (perhaps the correct word is actually delusional) ideas for the fairy-tale beach wedding.  In my fantasy I floated down the sandy isle looking celestial, as everyone gasped at my outstanding beauty (did I mention that in this fantasy I look in my head to be about 20).  Reality is quite a bit different.  I have searched for what feels like an eternity for the right dress.  It just proves my point that they do not make pretty clothes for we the plus sized consumer!  If I wanted to be bedecked in rhinestones and large print flowers in a dress of shiny nylon I could have scored several perfect dresses.  Finally I have found the perfect dress, but because they do not make pretty plus size clothing I have had to purchase a "normal" sized dress and will have it altered by a professional.  

    The easy part of the whole wedding renewal was making wine for the reception.  Back in the end of April I went to The Wine Barrel in Madoc and started a batch of wine.  I went into the back of the store and poured that starter powder into the large white bucket.  That was it!  No measuring, no wondering, just add powder.  Now the job was to let it sit for a month.

    Christopher and I thought long and hard about the wine selection.  We should go with a white and a red wine.  We were prepared to do this, but we don't like white or red wine.  We like the glorified alcoholic fruit punch.  Why were spending that money on something that is in our own honor, that we would not even enjoy?  We began to think about the wedding renewal.  Everything that we were planning was about "us".  We decided to make a wine that was about "us", essentially we went with the alcoholic fruit punch (actually we went with a Sangria Zinfandel Blush).  

    Last Saturday morning Christopher and I made our way over to Madoc to bottle our wine.  I was excited.  I'm not really sure what I expected.  Somehow making my own wine in my head amounted to the I Love Lucy episode where Lucy is in the huge vat stomping grapes.  I had visions of wiping my brow as we filled all those bottles.  The reality was as it usually is was... real.  The process could not have been easier.  I was pretty excited to see that huge bottle of "our" wine (it's called a carboy... are you impressed with my winemaking knowledge).

   We began our wine making journey by cleaning our bottles at the bottle cleaning station.  Our wine making guide (the super nice lady who works there) was cheerful and helpful, and guided us all the way through.  We cleaned the bottles with this nifty little machine, and then we were ready to move on to filling those bottles with that delicious alcoholic fruit punch... I mean wine.

    I have to admit that the pump / wine bottle filling machine is pretty neat.  The whole process went really quickly.  The next step was corking.

   After all of the bottles were corked we got to decide on our shrink wrapper (I say we, but more in the royal sense because "I" picked out the pretty blue wrapper).  There was a huge selection of colours.  Many brides and grooms match their wrappers to their wedding colours.

    The last step in the speedy process was to heat the shrink wrappers in the fancy machine below (take note that the fancy well manicured hands below do not belong to me.  The big tip off should have been how nice they look.  My hands were the ones cleaning the bottle.).  We then boxed the bottles and were ready to go... the whole process start to finish took less than half an hour (I mean the bottling process).

    The traditional white or red wines need to age before you can drink them.  Ours is a fruit /wine and we could drink it right away.  It will get better with time, but tasted pretty darn nice after it had been chilled.  To make our wine took just a few minutes and with purchasing bottles (you can just refill them) it cost us less than $4.00 a bottle to make.
    That afternoon I invited my mother to try some of our wine.  I took out the cork screw, ready for action.  I am such a high class wine drinker that I am unaccustomed to corks, my wines are twist tops.  I twisted that corkscrew into the cork, and then began to pull.  I pulled, but instead of taking off the cork, I somehow pulled off the handle of the cork screw.  I tried to no avail to remove the cork.  Finally I asked my Dad for his help (Christopher had been called out to work).  Dad rigged up some giant pliers and began to hammer up the top of the corkscrew, while I held the bottle fearing for glass shards in my eyes.  Finally after much effort, he did it, and with no glass shards (however I am pretty sure that I would have just strained out the glass shards).  The wine was delicious!
    So now I find myself scouring the Niagara Mist brochure, making a mental list of my friends that might like to go in on a batch so that I can stock my basement with every flavour.  There is a good chance that I may just have found a new obsession!

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