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Friday, June 27, 2014

Okie Wineos'


Okie Winos

   We had no idea of how to make wine when we were kids but that didn't stop us from trying. I hate to admit it but both Stanley and I developed a taste for wine at an early age. It wasn't because we really liked the taste; we both like the taste of beer a lot better back then, it was mostly because it was cheap. We could get a whole fifth of wine for less than seventy five cents when the cheapest beer around cost ninety nine cents a six pack. Of course back then coming up with seventy five cents was a chore sometimes, but, if we couldn't buy it, no problem, we'd make it! I mean, how hard could it be? I had already tried making home brew beer, not so good on that one and moonshine whiskey, even worse on that one but all you had to do to make homemade wine was mix up some fruit juice and let it ferment, right?

   The first time I tried it I gathered up a bunch of possom grapes. I figured that since wine is made from grapes any kind of grapes would be a good starting place. I mashed them all up and dumped them in a gallon jar along with a half cup of sugar ( somebody told me that sugar would help them ferment along with taking some of the bitterness out of the grapes). I poked a small hole in the lid so there wouldn't be any danger of it blowing up while it fermented ( learned about the blowing up when I tried the home brew) and since I didn't want anyone to know I was trying this I hid the jar inside a hollow log down by Salt Creek.

   I checked on that jar every once in a while but I didn't open it for a month. I had no idea of how long it might take to ferment but I figured that should be enough time for it to turn into wine. It did turn into something but you'd have to be an out of your mind alcoholic to even think you could call it wine! It sure didn't smell like any kind of wine that I had ever seen but dumb as I was I still had to take a sip. Saying it tasted bad enough to gag a maggot would actually be giving it high praise. I swear that when I finally quite gagging and was able to pour it out the grass died in that spot. So much for my first attempt.

   Next I gave watermelon a try. I mean really, has anyone living in Oklahoma NOT heard of watermelon wine?? Everyone knows about it, right? Sooo, how many of you know how to make it? I tried just the juice with water and yeast this time. I didn't figure it would need the sugar cause watermelons are sweet anyway. I remembered from when I tried to make the homebrew that you need to store it in a cool dry place, so, back under the house I went. I had 5  of them gallon glass jugs this time because I was sure this was going to come out right. I will admit that I got a little busy with hunting, fishing and running all over hell and half of Georgia and down right forgot about them. You have any idea what happens to watermelon juice, yeast and water after it sits under the house for a couple of months? Grandma's dog Pat was next to me sniffing around when I opened the first jug. She got one sniff, made a pitiful whimpering noise and took off! She didn't come back home for two days. Of course i didn't notice what she had done at first because I was on my hands and knees hacking my guts out. What happened to that SWEET juice? I really didn't want to but I had to pour out the rest of it because for one thing I need that jug and for another I had to check to make sure that something hadn't crawled in it and died! Needless to say I decided to move on to something else. No one could say that I gave up on things, even when I should.

   Next up I decided to try peaches since I knew where there several peach trees around home and I could get them for free. This time I asked a few people about how to make wine. That seemed like a good idea, but maybe I should have asked the people who knew how to make wine instead of the people that just drank it! That time I cut the peaches and boiled the down to a syrup then strained the juice. Next added less water and just a cup of sugar (I know peaches are really sweet but so was the watermelon!) I didn't put lids on the jars, I wrapped the tops of them with cheese cloth so they could breath (wasn't sure you were supposed to do that but after blowing up all my bottles by trying to cap my homebrew when it was still fermenting I figured it was worth a try) I put em back under the house and kept track this time. I left them under there for a little over a month then took em out and strained them again (at least they didn't make be sick this time) Washed out the jugs and refilled and capped then. After another month I snuck a jug out and headed off sown in the woods to try it out. the first sip told me that I had finally got it tight! No it wasn't as good as what you'd buy in the store but it did have a nice sweet taste, kind of like coolaid. I was just down right tickled with myself and could wait to share it with Stanley. Might have been a good idea if I'd stopped right then and gone to share it but it tasted soooooo go I just had to have a little more, and more, and more. I didn't mean to but it seemed like after just a couple of minute over half that jug was gone. The really odd but good thing was that i didn't feel drunk at all! I actually felt like I'd been sitting under that tree doing nothing but drinking coolaid. i felt that way right up till I tried to stand up! I went from being sober as a judge to drunker than a dog in less that five feet! I was only bout 5'5" then but I didn't even make it all the way up past the 5 foot mark before i was back on the ground trying to hold on to that old tree and waiting for the world to quit spinning. The world finally seemed to slow down just a little, unfortunately right about the same time my stomach decided it didn't like what I had put in it and every thing came back up. It must have really not like it because it try to bring up more long after there was nothing left! i must have passed out just a little because the next thing I knew I open my eyes and the sun was a lot lower than I remembered it being which was the least of my worries. I was still trying to be sick with every other breath and at least 15 miners were inside my head with jackhammers trying to get out! I managed to get to my feet, after 4 attempts (it was more like climbing up the tree instead of standing up) and headed back home. That was probably one of the hardest walks I've ever made! I'm sure I had never been that sick in my life and it didn't end when I finally staggered home. The first thing out of Grandmas mouth was where have you been all night? I guess my passing out lasted a little longer than I'd thought!

   I hate to admit it but that was my last attempt at making wine. But, never fear! if any of you have a desire for some good homemade wine - don't call me. Well, do call me and I'll give you Stanley' number!