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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Crushing grapes on the back forty - Week 1

Whether a seasoned pro or complete novice, when it comes to winemaking (or anything else for that matter), all are welcome at Siciliano's.

By Steve Siciliano

There was a lot of activity in the store’s back parking lot this past Saturday. At nine o’clock sharp folks began rolling in with cars and pickups packed full of grapes to take advantage of the free use of our winemaking equipment. The seasoned winemakers who had used the equipment in the past needed no guidance in operating the crusher/de-stemmer and basket presses. While they crushed and pressed their grapes I chatted with them about the quality of this year’s harvest and about how the wines that our equipment had helped produce in prior years were developing today. Many others, however, were winemaking novices who had never experienced the pleasure of watching a hydrometer bob in a test tube of freshly squeezed grape juice.

I love working with new wine makers. They all seem to have a tinge of doubt that they will actually be able to make wine out of the green and purple bunches they hauled to the store in five-gallon buckets, bushels and laundry baskets. But after we show them how to crush and de-stem the grapes, how to use the presses, and how to take hydrometer and acid readings, they leave confident knowing that they too can be winemakers, and good ones at that.

Just a reminder, folks, our winemaking equipment will be available free of charge between the hours of 9am and 4pm on the first four Saturdays in October. In addition to the crusher/de-stemmer and basket presses, the equipment also includes an apple/pear crusher in case anyone wants to make cider or perry. And, as always, members of our staff will be happy to assist you in any way we can.

Just imagine the good times that lie within

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