The old tin bath has been taken down from the wall of the barn.
Used wine bottles are left to steep for a few hours in rainwater.
Washed and clean, ready to be filled with home-made Blackcurrant wine.
There is always at least one day during the Summer, when one feels enthusiastic enough to overcome the reluctance to get stuck into bottling wine…today, all the right chords were struck and the work began!
Cork stoppers were duly washed and left to soak and soften, till, finally…
the wine was securely bottled! All that remains to be done is labelling…Chateau Bealtaine!
Outside the back door, Summer continues in layers of sheer abundance…Feverfew splurges on masses of tiny, daisy-like flowers.
Midsummer has only just crossed over and the garlic is ready to pull, with the first batch of Garlic and Oregano Olive Oil infusing.
Summer just keeps on getting bottled!
There is so much food and flowers, it’s sheer Heaven!
Walking around the cottage is a feast for the senses!
Even the ancient Polygonum is covered with bright red flowers…one of the very few plants here that has nothing for the Bees…but a delight for me!
Yellow Loosestrife stands tall in the casual cottage borders.
Roses fall over in a drunken Summer stupor, heavy with scent and bees.
Petals cascade onto stone steps, ivory wraps for blushing fairies.
Valerian falls onto the gravel path, dropping seeds and heavy flower-heads onto the visitor’s shoe.
And the Summer that was bottled today, will be brought out amidst smiles and raised glasses in the depths of Midwinter.
Checking out the demijohns of various wines yesterday, I realised that some were ready to either rack off-that means transferring them to another, clean demijohn, or bottle up…so I spent a couple of hours doing just that, as well as sampling each one…well, it has to be done!Making wine from the abundant harvest of organic blackcurrants is one of my favourite summer tasks.
I also use Strawberries, Redcurrants, Rosehips and Jostaberries, all grown here at Bealtaine.
The wine here is Strawberry and Redcurrant.
After bottling it needs to be laid down for about 3 months minimum.
This improves the taste and helps maturity.
Most of the flower and fruit wines I have made over the years have needed this, with the occasional wine being drinkable straight from the demijohn!
The big freezer in the pantry is still in the process of being cleared out.
Kilos of Blackcurrants and Redcurrants remain, as well as the Rhubarb added this year.
Wines and jams will be on the ‘To Do List,’ for the coming week!
Keeping everything clean is very important in wine making and bottling.
I use a baby equipment sterilising fluid and find this cheap and effective.
A bowlful is enough, making sure that lots of swirling takes place!
I use one pound of sugar to one pound of fruit. each demijohn takes about four pounds of fruit.
I add 1 teaspoon of wine yeast and fill with spring water, which thankfully comes out of the tap here!
I use a hand corker as you can see.
It is effective and works well in corking the bottles efficiently and completely.
All in all the process uses absolutely no imported energy, as all the bottles are re-cycled from friends.