Receipt for making Domestic Wine from the Autumn Blue Grape.
About the latter end of September or about the first white frosts, gather the grapes which with us grow along old fences and hedges—pick all the grapes from the stems that are juicy, allowing two bushels thus picked a little heaped, to the barrel. Mash them well between your hands in small parcels, either in earthen pans, or some convenient small vessels—put them when mashed into a tub together, and add a little water so as to soak the pumice....[Pg 141] After stirring them well together, squeeze the pumice out from the liquor with your hands, as clean as you can—then strain the juice through a hair sieve. If the juice seems not all extracted from the pumice at one soaking and squeezing, put water to the pumice and squeeze them over again; take care not to add too much water, lest there should be more than the cask will hold. If after all the ingredients are added, the cask is not full, it may then be filled up with water. To the liquor thus prepared, add two pounds of good, clean, rich low priced brown sugar, per gallon, stirring it in the tub till all the sugar be dissolved; let it remain in the tub, and in a day or two it will ferment, and the scum rise to the top, which must be carefully skimmed off—then put the wine into a clean nice barrel—do not bung it up tight. There is generally a fermentation in it the spring following, when the grape vines are in blossom, but racking it off just before that season will prevent its working too much. If it is wanted to be soon ripe for use, put a quart of good old brandy after it is racked off, to the barrel, and give it air by leaving the bung quite loose.
This mode of manufacturing wine for domestic use, is convenient and not expensive to those who have it in their power to ma[Pg 142]nufacture maple sugar. But the nice housewife or husbandmen of ingenuity, will, I fancy, devise some more neat mode of compressing the juice from the grape—as pressing it by the hand, would seem less cleanly, though the fermentation generally cleanses sufficiently.
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