Yesterday I bottled 120 bottles of wine from my 2012 harvest. Apple, peach, rhubarb (my favorite) and grape. I drink one glass of wine every night in the winter. In the summer, I drink one bottle of beer (which I also brew–won 2nd place in the Colorado State Fair one year). I am not a wine connoisseur; I make wine because I enjoy working with my farm’s produce and also because I can’t afford to buy the quantity of wine and beer that I drink (one glass a night adds up fast!). My wines are “cottage wines” made in 4-5 gallon batches in plastic buckets. Using glass carboys would be better, but it would cost a small fortune to buy 8-9 glass carboys, which is generally how many buckets I have going at a time. I like sweet wines, and although my goal is to produce lovely clear liquids, sometimes fruit wines are difficult to clarify. But they taste great!
Wine-bottling day is long and tedious. Most of the time is spent washing buckets and bottles. My kitchen is converted into an assembly line: wash two boxes of bottles and drain; fill each bottle from the bucket; cork the bottles, put the bottles in boxes; repeat.
Wine-making day, which occurs on the day of harvest a year or more before wine-bottling day, is also long and tedious. The fruit has to be juiced and each recipe sized to fit the quantity of juice that you end up with.
The effort of making my own wine pays off every night when I can sit back and enjoy (literally) the fruit of my labor.