This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
A friend of the Horticulturist remarks, that we have repeatedly given in our pages the view, that the domestic manufacture of wine is favorable to temperance, and requests us to insert the other side of the question, taken from a late paper. We do so without expressing our own judgment in the matter.
As the time for making wine is approaching, I will endeavour to comply with your request, though I can not give any thing new more than I have heretofore written.
In order to make good wine it is necessary to have a good cellar, clean casks, press, etc. First of all, have your grapes well ripened; gather them in dry weather, and pick out carefully all the unripe berries, and all the dried and dam. aged ones; then mash or grind them with a mill, if you have a proper mill for the purpose. Be careful not to set your mill so close as to mash the seed, for they will give a bad taste to the wine. If you wish to have wine of a rose color, let the grapes remain in a large tub a few hours before pressing. The longer time you leave the grapes before pressing after they are mashed, the more color the wine will have.
For pressing the grapes, any press will answer, provided it is kept clean and sweet.
After you have collected the must in a clean tub from the press, have it transferred into the cask in the cellar. Fill the cask within ten inches of the bung; then place one end of a siphon, made for that purpose, in the bung, and fix it air tight; the other end must be placed in a bucket containing cold water. The gas then passes off from the cask without the air coming in contact with the wine, which would destroy that fine grape flavor which makes our Catawba so celebrated. When properly made, the must will undergo fermentation. Keep the end of the siphon that is in the water fully four inches deep, so as to exclude the air from the wine. When it has fermented, which will be in fifteen days, fill the cask with the same kind of wine and bung it loosely for one week; then make it tight Nothing more is needed till it is clear, which, if all is right, will be in January or February next. Then, if perfectly clear, rack it off into another clean cask, and bung it up tightly until wanted. If the wine remains in the cask till fall, about November, it will improve by racking it again. Be sure to always have sweet, clean casks. Do not bum too much brimstone in the cask; I have seen much wine injured by excessive use of brimstone, generally by new beginners.
For my part, I make little use of it.
You can make different qualities of wine with the same grape by separating the different runs of the same pressing. The first run is the finest, if you want to make use of it the first season; but it will not keep long without losing its fine qualities.
To make good sound wine that will improve by age, the plan is to mix all up together. The very last run will make it rough, but it will have better body and better flavor when two or three years old, and will improve for a number of years. The first run will not be good after two or three years.
I have fully tested the different ways of making and keeping wine these last twenty-five years.
[We have to thank Mr. Mottier for laying before our readers the results of his long experience in wine making. Ranking as he does among the very best and most successful wine makers in the country, his brief directions have a marked value; their brevity, indeed, is their only fault. We should be glad, as would also all our readers, to have him go into minute detail,, and we trust that he will hereafter do so. We have heretofore borne cheerful testimony to the excellence of Mr. Mottier's wine; we should be glad to see wine equally good much more common than it is, that the "doctored" importations might be driven out of the market. The reader will observe that nothing is said here about sugar or brand v. Mr. Mottier uses neither. - Ed].
At a recent meeting of the Farmer's Club, some interesting facts in regard to wine-making were elicited. Mr. Fuller has recently been to Cincinnati investigating the subject of grape-growing and wine-making, and from his account we make the following interesting extracts:
While trying some wines a few weeks since at the residence of J. G. Schneike of Cincinnati, who has experimented with as many varieties of native grapes as any other man in this country, he made some statements which may be interesting to the members of the Club.
He said he considered the following the best six wine grapes for the vicinity of Cincinnati, and should rank them in the following order: Delaware, Herbemont, Minor's Seedling, Lincoln, Catawba, Union Village.
With the Diana he had had but little experience; but from the wine he had made from it, he was inclined to place it next to the Delaware, in the place of the Herbemont, as that had been found to be very uncertain in its crops, as the vines are too tender for that climate.
The Delaware wine was the richest, and preserved the real bouquet of the grape, and it improved by age. The vintage of 1859 contained 8 1/2 per cent, of alcohol.
Herbemont is very uncertain. No good wine was made from it from 1850 to 1859, when the crop was good. The wine is very good, quite delicate, and will not bear transporting to any great distance. Alcohol 5 1/2 per cent.