Tales of an Old Winebibber

After weeks and weeks of waiting (impatiently) for our wine to ferment and clear and all the other things wine has to do, we’re finally ready to bottle!

The first five days were spent on the primary fermentation. Afterward, a week of secondary fermentation. Then, it was the final week. Clarification and clearance were making their appearances. At last, we’re chasing out all the carbon dioxide. Wine folk call that clarifying. I called it stirring. Vigorously. For a long time. Oh, but honey, we’re on the way now!  

Now the wine flows from the secondary vessel into the bottles that are ready for corking. We’re using natural cork as we don’t much care for those new-fangled plastic things you find in bottles these days.

[Klaxon blaring. Emergency! Emergency!] The corks won’t go into the bottles! Seems a critical bit of research was lacking. The corks had to be soaked for a couple of hours because they aren’t coated with silicone. So, took a break. If we have to take any more breaks, folks’ll think we’re in the Union!

Okay, where was I? The corks have soaked and been rinsed; ready to go. Down the long, narrow, dark stairs, to the basement, we went. My mind was racing. I still hadn’t quite kenned the correct operation of the corker. It seems rather simple, doesn’t it? Perhaps to you, but it was nigh onto witchcraft as far as I was able to make out.

We reexamined the dastardly thing and, what do you know. It was as simple as falling off a log! Now, we’re off to the races!

The first thing we had to do was to decant the wine into the bottles. That was a quick and simple operation. I filled, and Zeek corked. Next thing you know, we’re ready for sealing the corks.

Now, there’s a smile-generating thing if I ever saw one. It’s a sleeve of some sort of material that reminds me of cellophane from back when I was a kid. You know, when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Anyhow, one of each of the sleeves was dropped onto the neck and passed to me. I waved a heat gun around like a magic wand, and the sleeve shrank onto the bottle’s neck! It did! Ain’t it an exciting time to be alive? I ask you!

Now that task was done, we took a break and did a bit of work on the label. If I do say so, I think we did rather a wonderful job. What think you?

Zeek will have these printed in color for me tomorrow and next weekend we’ll be slapping labels on all our new children.

This has really been an adventurous journey. The only thing I ever knew about making wine was from Dad. Aaron Paul Wright could make some wine that would make you hear angels singing. But, he made his in a “sanctified” churn. An auntie, whose name shall not be mentioned, prayed over the churn and asked God to sanctify it so it would never make wine again. Oops, sorry I got a bit sidetracked there.  

A little spring water, some sugar and yeast, and whatever was handy for a bit of flavor and Dad was in wine mode. He kept it behind the woodstove in the living room for a few weeks and then poured it off. I wouldn’t be afraid to say that damned wine was 20 percent alcohol! He put his up in fruit jars. So, in honor of Dad, one quart of our wine went into a Ball canning jar.

Thanks for sticking with me, y’all. Hope you enjoyed the pictures. I appreciate each and every one of you. Keep popping by, let me hear from you, and I’ll keep trying to amuse you a bit.

Y’all come back now, you hear?


About Ol' Big Jim

Ol' Big Jim, has been a storekeeper, an embalmer, a hospital orderly, a medical biller, and through it all, a teller of tall tales. Many of his stories, like his first book, New Yesterdays, are set in his hometown of Piedmont, Alabama. For seven years, he lived in the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, Amman, Jordan where he spends his time trying to visit each one of the thousands of Ammani coffee shops and scribbling in his ever-present notebook. These days, you can find him back stateside, still filling notebooks.
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9 Responses to Tales of an Old Winebibber

  1. Really interesting Jim, wish I had the patience. I do enjoy drinking it though.


  2. What a super thing to do, Jim. Thanks for sharing your winemaking.


  3. Bonita says:

    I really enjoyed this post brother dear. But I do need to ask, where were the juveniles required to bottle the wine? 🤣. One time Dad had a batch to go bad and I told him it was because we were all groans he didn’t use any juveniles in his process. 🤣🤪🤣. Hope it turns out well and I can’t wait to taste it, you know Reisling is my favorite.


    • Ol' Big Jim says:

      Bloody hell, I forgot I needed the kiddos! I intended to bring you a bottle Saturday, but forgot it completely. I’ll get one to you next time you’re down. Besides, you need to see my new wine cooler!


  4. Winery looking good, our Jim. Love the labels


  5. Quite the project, Jim. Nice job, and I think you’ll reap benefits from your work. 🙂


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