Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Frontenac Wine

When I was a kid, I would go cold, break into a sweat, and feel lock-jawed, at the mere hint that I might have to speak in front of other people. Being 40 has it's advantages. Having been on tv a few times too, the last few years, having been part of various podcasts, having managed businesses, danced in the street and before audiences, most if not all my fear of public speaking has dissipated.

So I have this camera. This early generation digital that was given to me for some work I did, for a maiden, mother and crone. I've been working with the camera, not very seriously, not overly diligent about scripts, or editing, or making certain I have enough memory on the card to do what I intend to do, if I am intending anything. I film in the least data dense way, so as you will not burn up too much of your data-allowance watching me experiment.

This was a challenge from the blogger @ Epiphany Now, Luciddreams, Aaron McCarty; and Roamer, Nick Raumm; both of whom I consider integral to the SUN (Sustaining Universal Needs) project I have been working on, with the Doomstead Diner. Nick challenged Luciddreams and I to make a video-log or equivalent, to present on the SUN Website, to prove that we are serious about building a sustainable community. So I'll start with something I know about, living in the Midwest.

The Frontenac grape is a hybrid, between a Minnesota wild variety, and a French hybrid, introduced by the University of Minnesota plant breeding program, in 1996.

See that one bead of sweat, dripping .

I pulled out most of the stems before I put the juice and skins in the bucket.

As this is the somewhat tedious part, it helps to sing. This is a fragment of a song by Blittzen Trapper, Furr (the camera shut off, the memory card full, an auspicious #), to go with the half wild theme. I finally let go of the straining when the bulk of the pulp had been removed, and poured the remaining juice through the kitchen strainer.

I'm not sure why I shut the camera off after the first part, in this next song. But if I hadn't, the recording would have stopped sooner than it did in the third music video. Whatever of my huffing and puffing, I think I sync nicely with Jeff there at the end. Though if I had shut off the first part sooner, I would have the true crescendo to show you. LOL :) 

Oh yeah. I remember, I felt it necessary to rinse out the greens-keeping bag, as it had become so clogged with fine grape particulate.

Sen'iments. LOL Blessings.


Jason Heppenstall said...

Good stuff, William.

I brought a load of grapes back from Spain a couple of weeks ago. There must have ben 500 bunches growing in the garden of the house we just sold - so I pinched a few.

I got them home, picked them, crushed them and then had them ferment for a couple of days … and then ran out of time before I had to head off on my next road trip.

The result … today I poured them away into a hole I had dug at Fox Wood. No wine, but at least the micro organisms will feast on them and my solid fertility just went up a notch.

Nick said...

Great work William!
Now you made me seem like a total blowhard as I've yet to complete my own challenge, ughhh. Off on a tower building gig though until next monday. I'll have to video tape my 20 gallon kraut athon I got coming up.

William Hunter Duncan said...


Bummer about that wine. I don't imagine wine grapes grow so well where you are? Oh well, fitting, like a gift from a former land of yours, to the land where you live now. The micro-organisms no doubt, pleased.


As I recall, you have until the 21st, which is in like, um, two days. That would be the equinox too, btw. LOL. Looking joyward to the kraut athon.

Roger Ebert said...

So what's the Alcohol Content of the Vino? How much do I have to imbibe to get a decent Buzz? :)


Jason Heppenstall said...

"I don't imagine wine grapes grow so well where you are?"

Actually, there's a vineyard down the end of my road. Not bad wine either!

I also brought back about 10 kilos of figs to make fig wine. When I got them here, however, they were wriggling with maggots! More food for the land … maybe they'll start growing there next year.

William Hunter Duncan said...


The alcohol content can get kind of high, up to 17% or so, because there is so much sugar in Frontenac grapes, a brix count around 28 or 29. That is why it is ok to add a gallon of water or less to 5-6 gallons, to cut it a bit. Otherwise, one bottle and you are well on your way to drunkenness.


My mistake. And if you say that wine is not bad, then it is probably better than what I make! LOL.

Luciddreams said...

Very cool William. You sing pretty good to. Wendy said it was the "William concerto."

Anyways, I'll be making a large batch of hotsauce soon. I'll be sure to record the process from harvest to sauce and put it up on Epiphany Now.