My best friend’s husband is a pretty darn crafty guy. He’s been remodeling their house, and sources things like 150-year-old barn wood (with square-headed nails still intact) and 75-year-old bricks from an old bank, or travertine floor tile that he got for a song from someone who bought too much for their remodel. He also makes his own wine, and is pretty serious about it. So serious, in fact, that on the Fourth of July this year he got up at 4:30 a.m. and drove about an hour outside of Austin to harvest grapes from a grower he knows.
The grapes were Chenin Blanc and Vidal Blanc, white wine grapes, and after they finished a full day of picking grapes, mountain biking and wine tasting, I joined them at their house for the grape pressing. Mr. Crafty uses a ratchet-style grape press that takes quite a bit of muscle – a hydraulic press would work better, but costs a whole heck of a lot more. So we all took turns loading up the press and ratcheting it down on the grapes. The juice was incredible – sweet and smooth. This batch stood overnight for clarification, then went into the wine making process. I can’t wait to try it!