No more wining
Grandma’s instructions called for grinding fruit, a rather laborintensive task. To speed things up, Dan used frozen juice concentrate. And he increased the sugar to give it a healthy kick. Or maybe not so healthy.
Naturally, the sweet smell attracted bugs. Just as a famous tequila sports a worm in the bottle, Corky’s wine often contained a dead fly, at least in its early stages. What a way to go.
Dan ditched the quaint little bowl-and-cheesecloth method in favor of 50-gallon buckets and an over-sized strainer. It took a year of tweaking for him to perfect the process, but perfect it, he did.
From then on, visitors to our dining room saw containers of wine in various stages of fermentation. Spotting a jug on the china hutch, one guest declared, “I don’t remember seeing milk that color before.”
Dan kept tabs on production: which vat needed stirring, which needed straining, and which was ready to bottle. He saw differing results depending on the season. When heat and humidity reigned, a foamy monster greeted him when he removed the cover.
He scoffed at that famous line, “We will serve no wine before its time.” My better half leaned more toward instant gratification. Thus, his wine was unfit to drink in less than a month.
At three bucks a gallon, his hobby proved relatively cheap. Every weekend, almost without fail, he produced a batch of his “Homemade Hooch,” as he dubbed it.
His friends called it the “Red Menace”. This was due to the fact that they generally caught heck from their wives after indulging.
When he noticed a surplus, Dan would generously give away a bottle to relatives. It puzzled him that no one ever asked for a second one.
No matter. He enjoyed his wine and that’s all that mattered. He cared not about protocol, pairing his wine with white meat, red meat, or no meat at all.
Then one day, he gave his bootleg the boot. Weary from years of wining and generally feeling lousy, he poured every last ounce out. Having been plugged earlier, the drain cleared out and then some.
And these days, my honey feels human again. He kept the recipe though. You never know when we’ll need some Drano.