I put off bottling the five-gallon carboy of LaCrosse grape wine for a goodly amount of time. Besides the fact that I have other, smaller secondaries awaiting bottling, I was aware of the number of firsts involved in this particular batch.
It is wine No. 58, in our record-keeping book -- yet, at the point I took the deep breath and began bottling it, this last Sunday afternoon, it was No. 1 in terms of being the first grape wine we would have a chance to sample. It was also our first batch of wine to be made in so large a quantity; and it was our first batch to go into one of these hefty and quite attractive glass carboys.
On top of all that, never before I had faced so much bottling.
Doing grape-picking for Vernon Vineyards for a while, in the fall, had already made me realize what potential there was, in fruit-gathering. So I had started thinking in terms of tackling quantity, someday -- when a grape-picking opportunity arose, late in the season -- after the first snows, in fact ... although the day Martha and Lorna and I were out among the vines was sunny and warmish and lovely.
As chance would have it, the day before, at an auction in Sparta, we had picked up a ten-gallon stoneware crock, Red Wing -- an older one, with the large wing-stamp.
The timing was such that we bought the crock one day and poured into it some five or six gallons of fruit-pressings the next, and started this LaCrosse wine on its primary fermentation.