Posts Tagged ‘winemaking’

So, for those of you not following my social media, particularly Instagram and Twitter, I got a home winemaking kit for my birthday last year. So far, I’ve made two batches of wine with it. The first is plum wine, while the second is pumpkin wine. Yes, you can make wine from pumpkins. You can make wine from all sorts of fruits, vegetables, and other materials you normally wouldn’t think of for winemaking. Anyway, I haven’t tried any of the wine yet. And winemaking, as it turns out, is a lot like writing fiction. I’ll explain both in a moment.

First, let me give you a quick rundown of the winemaking process. You basically take all the ingredients, including the crushed/chopped/quartered/otherwise cut up main ingredient (ex. grapes, plums, pumpkins, etc.), put them all into a big container with fermentation yeast and oxygen, and let it simmer for a week or so. During this time, the yeast breaks down sugars and releasing flavor from the main ingredient. This is primary fermentation. Then you put it in a smaller container with as little oxygen as possible, where it undergoes secondary fermentation. This can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, changing containers every couple of weeks until the wine is clear. At that point, you bottle it and let it age for a year before drinking.

This is the pumpkin wine I finished making earlier this week. Looks good, right?

That’s why I haven’t had any of the wine yet. The plum wine won’t be ready until January, and I just bottled the pumpkin wine earlier this week, so it won’t be ready till next Halloween. I hope it tastes good when I finally taste it. Otherwise, I’m going to feel very bad for anyone who drinks the wine with me.

Now, here’s a pop quiz: using multiple ingredients to create a single thing? Going through multiple processes to further refine it? Taking at least a year to work on before it’s ready for consumption? This does describe winemaking, but what else can it describe?

If you guessed fiction writing, congrats. You win a glass of wine from your own stores. But yeah, it does sound a lot like fiction writing. The ingredients for the wine are like the plot, the research, and the words; the primary fermentation is the rough draft; the secondary fermentation is the subsequent drafts where you clean up the story; and the year after it’s bottled is the time until publication, during which you may do further refining for the story until it’s out.

Plum wine, just before it begins primary fermentation, when it’s just a bunch of disparate elements in a bucket.

And, like writing, winemaking takes time and trial and error to get good at. Like I said, I haven’t tried the wine yet. I tried both the plum wine and the pumpkin wine before secondary fermentation, but at that stage the wine is tart and full of yeast and other matter floating around. It was alcoholic, yes, but was it good alcohol? No. Just like a first draft is technically a completed story, but it’s not something you want to immediately release into the world! I mean, all those errors and plot holes you might miss before giving out the story!

But getting back to the wine, I have no idea how either batch will taste once I open them up. They may be completed, but will they be any good? It might take years of trying and failing before I make a good batch of wine. And that’s kind of like writing, too. You can write a story and go over it many times, but you have to keep writing until you’re any good at it.

But maybe that’s why I enjoy making wine. I mean, yeah, I love wine, especially sweet wine, but I also like the process of it. I like taking my hands and using them to create something that people can enjoy with me. I like that it takes hard work, precision, trial and error, and your love of something to create it and bring it together. And I like the many possibilities it presents.

It’s like writing to me. Only I don’t intend to sell this stuff: that requires a license, and I’m not going to jump through hoops for that!

Also, I’m going to need a wine rack and more empty bottles before I make any more wine. Otherwise, I’m going to run out of space for it all in my condo!

Anyway, I just wanted to share my thoughts on wine-making and writing with you guys. I’m going to do a little late night writing and then hit the hay. Good night, pleasant nightmares, and fifteen days and thirty-four minutes to Halloween. Anyone else vomiting spiders in excitement?