Monday, 1 August 2011

Will's Hootch

Anyone who has known me for the last few years is likely aware of a certain hobby of mine; wine making.  It has evolved from a relatively small kitchen attempt with a single wine kit to a little more refined effort in my basement "winery," as I like to call it. The winery was used, I think, as a canning cold room by a former owner of our house. Today it is still a cold room, but one which now also has a large old stainless steel bar sink that I acquired, a couple of countertops, and a converted walk in closet with floor to ceiling wine racks. All the decor in the room is wine related. There is even a poster entitled "Will's Hootch" which has my picture on it as well as a caption borrowed from an old M.A.S.H. episode that says, "This morning was a very good year." At any given time there is up to four batches of wine on the go. Each batch yields between 28-29 bottles. The most inventory I've ever had at any given time bordered on about 240 bottles. None of the wine is ever sold, as that would be illegal. All is either used personally in my family or given away as gifts to friends.

As a Christian, I've often thought about the story of how Jesus turned the water into wine (John 2: 1-11) at a wedding in a place called Cana. Oh, I know that there are some people who believe that the wine Jesus made was a non-alcholic form of fruit juice. Personally I don't believe that, but I'm not going to argue the point here as I already did that in another blog post called What Would Jesus Drink? But I digress.

I would like to risk a little parody. Christians are called to follow Jesus, and at the risk of being sacrilegious to some, one of the ways I've followed Him is by also making wine for a wedding (wink, wink). Some people have been amazed at how much wine I make (4 batches @ 5 gallons or 23 litres each), but I like to remind them that Jesus made 6 batches "each holding twenty or thirty gallons" (John 2:6). My efforts are pretty small in comparison (grin, grin).

But seriously, there is an important difference. I make my wine from a kit containing concentrated grape juice and add some water; Jesus made it without the kit and used only water. My wine usually takes between 4 weeks and 10 weeks per batch to make, depending on how long I want to let it bulk age before the bottling process. Jesus made His wine instantly and His didn't require any aging at all. As a matter of fact, the emcee at the banquet where all this happened went so far as to say that the water turned into wine was the best wine of the whole wedding. Mine didn't get that kind of praise.

Imagine turning on the tap and out came the best wine ever. Now if only I could do that, then wouldn't that be something to write home about! Anyway, there you have it. Hobbies can be an enjoyable thing.

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