Living out in nature as we do, we have learned to listen. As we go about our daily tasks, our ears stay cocked for unusual or unfamiliar noises. It satisfies curiosity, for the most part, but sometimes it keeps us safe.
Lately, I’ve been hearing a small noise in the cabin that brings me a great deal of satisfaction: the quiet ticking of a bubbler. It reminds me that I’m trying to make wine once again, and that so far, it’s going quite well.
This will be our long put off third attempt at making wine. Despite previous setbacks, I have high hopes. This recipe is dead simple, possibly foolproof. One basic step distinguishes it particularly from most other instructions I’ve seen: it suggests starting your yeast a few days ahead of time in a bottle of sugar water.
This simple advice allays one of my biggest fears. I’ve never been comfortable with buying ingredients, putting them together, and adding the yeast—it all seems a bit risky. By simply starting the yeast ahead of time, I know that at least that ingredient will work. It’s an obvious precaution, the same thing Michelle does when making bread, after all. I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me before, or why other instruction books didn’t mention it. Maybe it was just too obvious?
This extra step paid off particularly with this batch, as the first yeast I used came from a previously opened packet. It turned out to be dead, but I discovered that under better-controlled conditions, before committing the rest of the ingredients. I had a second chance to get another yeast packet working well before I added anything else.
If this batch is successful, it’ll be very good for us. Michelle and I like our table wine, but, like coffee, cocoa, and black tea, it’s an expense that’s hard to justify in this lifestyle. Unlike those others, though, it’s something that we might make ourselves at considerable savings.
For now it’s looking hopeful. There’s little to do for the moment but make sure the bucket stays reasonably warm, wait, and enjoy the gentle murmur of the bubbler as it works. I think I can handle that!