February 20, 2016
By Richard Burke
I’m constantly amazed at what can come from a garden. Here, in the middle of February, the day after we sat in our little corner of the world (a protected patio which has its own micro climate) warmed by solar heat, I’m stirring the brew in my basement.
It started about 10 years of years ago when I planted an Evans Cherry tree in the back yard. We’ve enjoyed its fruits ever since.
The brew in the basement is the result of our (mainly Marlene) picking about 35 pounds of cherries last July, pitting them and putting them in bags into the freezer so they’d keep until winter – and, by the way, boost the sugar content.
This week, I pulled 20 pounds of them out, put them into a jelly bag and let them thaw in the primary pail ’til the next day. I squeezed the bag to start the juice oozing (the cherries were still cold enough to make my hands uncomfortable), added water, yeast nutrient, pectic enzyme, campden tablets and a litre of grape concentrate – not easy to find, it turns out, but available at the Grapevine. The mixture sat for a day, then I added yeast.
Now, three days later, it’s positively boiling – well it seems like that; it’s bubbling as the yeast gobbles up the 10 pounds of sugar I had added earlier.
Next week, the mix gets racked into a carboy, the process repeated a couple of times until the wine is clear. Then, I’ll bottle it and let the 30-plus bottles age six months to a year.
Thanks to Mike Stefanscik for his recipe (his measurements are in ice cream buckets) which I blended with a couple of other recipes I found online.
The wine’s a wonder – and right from the garden.