Of Grapes and Wine

Busy, busy times. Taught preserving at the Agrarian Kitchen on Friday, and on Sunday had our daughter Courtney’s wedding reception here on the farm. It was such a pleasure to spend time with Matthew’s family and Courtney and Matt’s friends too, and our own family of course.

It was a very informal affair – Robert lit the bread oven he built last year and everyone made their own individual pizzas and he baked them. Plenty of cake, and drinkables too of course.

This afternoon we were invited to pick the gleanings of grapes in a nearby vineyard. It was simply idyllic overlooking the beautiful River Derwent as we picked in the late afternoon sun.

It just so happens that some dear friends from Melbourne recently sent over to us a generations-old Italian wine press, a family heirloom. We feel tremendously privileged to have it, this newly acquired and highly treasured addition to our family.

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It will not sit idle to be sure – tomorrow there will be a stomping and pressing of the grapes for our first attempts at making wine. It looks like we have about 100 kilos of grapes in all.

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We hope for great things of course, and if enthusiasm has anything to do with it, we will do alright.

I will keep a bucketful or two aside to experiment with myself – grape jelly, lightly enhanced with flavourings perhaps (or not?) and a grape paste to serve with cheese.

There are more grapes to be picked at a friend’s house down the road tomorrow, and Stephanie and Nat have bucketfuls with optimum sugar levels for wine on their vines in New Norfolk. We won’t mix the varieties of course, so there will be three separate wines in the making after tomorrow’s efforts.

Again, how can we help but acknowledge how privileged we are to live in such a Valley of abundance?

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