Today I bottled two cases (24 bottles) of cider wine that we pressed from our apples on the island last October. That was the contents of one carboy put into one 5 gallon oak barrel for two months and a little better. As I'd hoped, the wine had just a tiny bit of fermentation left in it, which will help make it more champagne-like when we drink it. The taste was dry rather than sweet, but not unpleasant. Last year's vintage was sweeter. Next I siphoned the fermented wine from last year's second carboy into the emptied oak barrel, and added 1/2 lb. of sugar. Last, I washed out the siphon hose and the carboy. The 24 bottles are sitting down cellar where they will rest for a while and I'll see which corks are coming up more than a little, and then take these out and replace them. Then I'll label them and we'll store them down cellar, perhaps trying a bottle in the fall when bottling the second batch that's in the oak barrel resting down cellar now. The wine usually needs six months or so in the bottle to develop its full flavor; before then it doesn't taste as flavorful and is said to be "bottle-sick." Altogether it took me nearly two hours of pleasant work. Luckily the wasps were not out in large numbers to sample the cider wine, as they sometimes have been in past years.
The weather gradually turned shortly after my last post, the foggy mornings giving way to sunshine earlier and earlier in the day, with only a couple of days of rain in the past week. I've been eating greens out of the garden for salads every day, but with the warm and sunny weather they will bolt soon. The second plantings of greens must have gotten washed away, and a third planting will follow shortly although these don't usually work at this time. The potatoes have never been larger or nicer; I'm digging new potatoes the size of my fist and eating them every other day or so. The eggplant, pepper, and tomato plants are growing well but behind the calendar and it'll be interesting to see if they're able to ripen. By now I'd normally be eating Sungold cherry tomatoes but this year they haven't even set yet. The deer have been circling around the gardens, browsing the fields. My fence work seems to have paid off so far.