Ladybird Wine

With a sudden-ness that happens sometimes (often), when one is juggling more than three balls,  (I’ve stopped counting) the wine grapes  went from imminent to ‘Pick me right now’!  These grapes are a Vidal Blanc and this is our third vintage.  I only have 12 vines  and I have decided this year that I need at least 6 more.  We just squeaked through. So this spring I shall plant another row. 


Anyway with no time to call for help, (and very few weekends when I have any help) Our John and I set to work to  pick  and crush the 2013 tiny vintage.


I took these preliminary shots .. 


But as I had to pick and de-stem this year  I got way too sticky to pick Camera House up again. Production was down again this year, even with the peaheans locked up (they are free now much to their relief). But we were able to pick  and crush just enough to fill the two demijohns. I say just enough because this year the juice is being divided. John’s half will be processed with the addition of a bought yeast.  First he kills the wild yeasts then adds the controlled yeast. My half is going to go to work on its own, the organic way,  using the wild yeasts.   Our John is convinced that my half will end up being vinegar. But we will see.  I have faith in the wild-ness.

It was a long day but we have two big buckets of juice in the distillery room beginning  their year long journey towards my wine glass.

It is being called the Ladybird Wine because so many of the grapes had ladybirds living in them, and even though we were able to grade most of them out, they surely must influence the taste of the 2013 vintage and probably not in a good way.  But once again we will see. I am a patient soul.

Now to our  October challenge. Proposed by Sam my Senior Son. He would like me to start taking star pictures. Night skies.  We are blessed with a sky that is completely uncontaminated by artificial light.  Being far away for anyone. A brilliant sky not everyone has  though i suspect many of you can see a sky like this too. So we are going to learn how to take shots of the stars and then shots of the moon.  I have NO IDEA how to do this with a digital camera. So back to basics we go!

Naturally last night the sky was obscured by heavy clouds.  But that gives me time to work out the basics.  Star gazing. We can all do that! In and around our normal busy days and nights.

It rained in the night, a good rain for our thirsty gardens, and  ripe grapes behave badly when they drink too much water, so we harvested in the nick of time.

You all have a lovely day.

your friend on the farm, celi

47 Comments on “Ladybird Wine

  1. Lady Bird wine has a nice ring to it. Nothing wrong with having some organic white wine vinegar … unless you try to drink it of course 😦 We have lovely night skies but all spoilt by too many security lights and city street lights. Morning Celi have a lovely Sunday. Laura

  2. Hey Lady Bird wine should have plenty of protein in it! I used to live in North Devon and one year toured the ‘Scrumpy’ Apple Cider facility – you don’t want to know what might end up in your cider! Probably why it was so potent!
    Beautiful skies here too – will have to have a go at capturing them.
    Have a relaxing Sunday Celi – and tomorrow is the last day of your September Challenge hope you have something ‘special’ on the menu for it!

    • Roast lamb I think.. with all the trimmings, i have been saving the last little pumpkin , and there is great salad fare coming through.. We will have a feast.. c

  3. The only time in my life I ever had a hangover was from some of that Devon scrumpy. Where I live in France is cider country, too, and we’ve often helped neighbours with it (making as well as drinking) and you wouldn’t believe some of the stuff that goes in the hopper of the first crusher. Organic is accurate in these parts!

    I like the idea of stargazey photos. My son does them using something he calls lo-light and long exposure, but beyond that I am ignorant! Bonne chance.

    V xox

    • Yes that’s the one low light is what you have, so long exposures is what you use. I used to do them when I was using black and white film , not that many years ago, so I just have to learn how to do them on this camera i have now, so you can see them too. Though we may get a lot of black images seeing nothing at all for a while!! morning Viv. I liked your poem this morning.. c

  4. I’m sure the ladybirds will add character 😉
    You will probably need at least a 1 minute exposure at the widest aperture, with the camera on a sturdy tripod. Set the shutter speed to Bulb and use a stop watch. If that’s not bright enough, keep doubling the exposure until you get something. At least with digital you can see things straight away. Film was not so convenient.
    The down side to long exposures is you might get some movement of the moon and stars in the sky.

  5. The star gazing shots sound like a wonderful idea Celi! We have wonderful night skies here in the Ozarks. I just stand and stare as they are so beautiful! Can’t wait to see your pics! xo

  6. C, I would love to have helped you and John with the grapes. What a pity there is an ocean separating us.
    I have absolutely no idea how to shoot pics of the stars but I have learnt a wee bit about shooting the moon – you may remember my post –
    Have a happy week ahead.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  7. Lovely grapes make lovely wine, I’m sure, and I bet you will have two drinkable but quite different tasting wines. Reminds me of a very old Hungarian winemaker who told me he and his wife never took vacations. He said, “If I neglect my wife, she may be angry for a few days but then I bring her flowers and she forgives me. If I neglect my vines, they hold a grudge for the whole year!”

  8. You would love the Aurora Borealis “The Merry Dancers” here in North Dakota!!! The first time I ever saw this amazing display of soft colored lights bouncing, arching, spiking, leaping, then waving, rolling to swaying as if waltzing to beautiful music you could see with your eyes, it took my breath away! It was a sight I felt priviledged to experience! My hubby surprised me with this incredible viewing one evening. I had never anything like it before! Year 2013 should be truly spectacular later this fall and winter!!!!
    The night sky here is amazingly beautiful in every season!!! Clear and crisp! Like being in a huge dome with views of constellations so close you feel like you can touch them!
    I always wish upon a star! “Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight, I wish I may, I wish I might, have this wish I wish tonight!” Then I make my wish! I love magic… 😀
    The harvest moon is so huge here you can see the man’s eyes gazing at you!!! In the fall the sun gently drops upon the prairie like a tremendous fireball… I love it here! I notice everything…I want to always remember all the best experiences in my life.
    Can’t wait to see your photos!!! So exciting! I will get some good information from you too!
    Good luck with your wine! I am thinking I will make a small amount of the organic without the store bought yeast as well! I am wondering…how do you get rid of all the sediment when you crush your grapes? I have tried so many ways to filter mine. This is why I no longer crush and still I have sediment. Not like I did before…but there is always some. You might have something really delicious! How fun!!! 😀 I am really hoping your’s is a great success!!! I am curious too…the old timers never used store bought yeast! LOL

      • Hey Bulldog! I don’t! I have so many friends with blogs and it is quite occupying! LOL This winter I really should start one…I check in to see what everyone is up to when I have a spare moment. Everyone is so very interesting to me, especially when sometimes I don’t see another live human being til errand day when I go the city or have breakfast at the local cafe and commune with other farmers! Then there are the other vintners and gardeners in the surrounding area I enjoy sharing with! LOL
        I have a ton of friends from the old RecipeZaar. Some of the most fascinating people I have ever met from all over the world! I have learned so much from them all!!! This is where I learned about photographing food and how to plate and use light! My name over there is HotPepperRosemaryJelly! LOL
        Now it is and I do check in from time to time, but I have found my old buddies on facebook and we still chat almost everday! And then there are my Garden Lovelies!!!
        One of my favorite bloggers is Lavender and Lovage! So many wonderful interesting people and so little time! 😀
        I would love to post my photos of where I live! I don’t have a front porch, but I do have a lovely sun parlor!!! No mosquitoes!!! 😉

  9. Mary…that is so true!!! Never neglect your vines or your gardens or your fields for that matter! LOL

  10. By the way…I like your wine press! 😀 Does yours filter???? How much juice to you get from a gallon of grapes with your press???? Just curious!

  11. Being in Chicago, I NEVER see a night sky filled with stars. What a great idea from son Sam. I can’t wait. And I love knowing where the Fellowship live. I didn’t know North Dakota enjoyed the Aurora Borealis. Wow!

  12. Lady Bird!!! Excellent name choice!!! Sounds light and lively! I am so worried about bugs I go through every single grape and berry!!!! I have an eagle eye when it comes to them…right now I am dealing with all these horrible little fruit flies! This is the year for them…and grasshoppers…and crickets….and picnic bugs! The only bugs I like are dragon flies, butterflies, bees, and that’s about it!!! LOL

  13. Oh the tyranny of sons….it’s just another way to keep you from getting a good night’s sleep (couched in the lovely idea trap)! On a different note…Ladybird Wine is a beautiful name and sounds like fairy champagne!

  14. I’m excited about your night sky photos. We get that milky way experience at my cabin because it’s very far from city lights. That’s going to be so much fun for you. 🙂

  15. If you haven’t found a good source for identifying objects in the night sky, I suggest an app called SkyWeek (Android and iOS). It describes what, when and where to look for stars, planets and the Moon. For instance, “In the eastern dawn Tuesday morning, look for the thin waning crescent Moon forming a triangle with Mars and Regulus. Best view: at least an hour before your local sunrise.” (I’m much more apt to follow the viewing directions for late twilight and pre-dawn rather than those for midnight or 3 am!)

  16. Ladybird wine…I love that name…how wonderful to be able to make your own wine and give it your own lovely names…I love wine…I drink it every day…my excuse…I’m Italian! 🙂 I don’t think there is anything more magical than being able to stare up into a star filled sky unencumbered by light pollution. I can’t wait to see your starry starry night photos! I too make wishes but only when I see a shooting (star)!
    I have a suggestion for a new challenge for all of us in the Fellowship…most of us sent in our back or front porch views, which was so lovely to see where everyone lived, so I thought wouldn’t it be nice if we could all see each other’s faces?? I think it would bring us all even closer together…it’s always nice to have a face to go with a name! But, they would have to be somewhat current…no photos of us when we were 20 somethings…unless of course, you are a 20 something! 🙂
    What do you think Cinders? In the future I see a gathering of us at the Farmy…how big did you say the Coupe was?? 🙂

  17. Perfect name for your wine….my parents live in a place where you can see the stars ( pitch black and only the stars and sky!) and last year we were all there visiting and we saw the “Perseid” show that always occurs around the first week of August.( upper illinois in Galena which was beautiful!)…oh you are so right, to see the stars out there at night is something you don’t know you miss until you see them! A memorable moment that I hope to see every year first of August!

  18. Ladybird wine, sounds so elegant and suitable for long stemmed fine crystal! I look forward to the sky at night through your camera lens.

  19. Celi – looking at the grapes it almost seems the beginning of botrytis [noble rot in this case] is there? You have not had frosts so don’t know how close to a sauterne, tokaji or your beloved ice wine you’ll get, but good luck and keep us posted! Love the name and since you obviously can grow grapes in your micro climate, hope you have room to put another few rows in actually 🙂 ! Yes, poor peacock/hens at a certain time of year, but a glass of what you love is more important!!!

      • Celi: the ‘good’ botryis, to the best of my knowledge, does ‘happen’ after ‘dry’ – after wet it tends to be just ‘nasty’ mould??? Oh what extra fun tho’ and I do NOT think yours will turn into vinegar!! A learning experience anyways . . . 🙂 !

        • Ah, that is a bonus then, we might have some good botrytis, I did see traces of a while mould, but i only remember the smell, not what it looked like, i will look it up! Love the learning and now off to bed for me.. ni ni darling girl.. c

  20. Ah, wine! That definitely sings. Love it. And one of the reasons we moved out of North Jersey to Maine was to be able to see the night sky in all its glory. I really want to be able to take photos like this. Good luck! We will be watching with you :*)

  21. Ladybird wine! You are so good at naming things, and I’m very interested in the experiment. I love the October challenge. Star gazing is dear to me, and is one of the pleasures of being at the bach, far from city lights. Of course you won’t have the southern cross in your sky (sigh) but I’m sure there will be plenty of unknown exotic stars for the kiwis to enjoy. Good luck.

    • The skies are very clear here too and it is not too cold yet to be standing outside for a goodly length of time. Our john has a telescope and is fairly conversant with the stars so maybe we can get to name some as well.. c

  22. My mum and dad make vast amounts of wine every year from grapes they buy and have delivered from Italy and never add yeast. It’s a dry red wine and is greatly enjoyed by all – so I have every faith in you. They “take it off” and decant it according to the moon, happy to find our more if it helps! We are off to England at the end of this week but here Up the Mountain have some amazing starry nights. I will have to see if I can follow Mad Dog’s advice and take a snap before we leave. Mind you, Down by the Sea, we get some beautiful starry nights too but there is street lighting there 😦

  23. I had to use a fungicide on my hollyhocks this summer (helped with the hollyhocks) and early next spring before my Blue Valiants leaf out I am going to use a fungicide on them. It has been really dry here. Drought conditions for two planting seasons now. I have found that the humidty with 90+ heat is the culprit with this particular grape and of course the hollyhocks. I shouldn’t have watered. I just didn’t know how deep they would find moisture. We have sandy soil. I hate to use chemicals…sigh…I will probably have to use it on my rosa rugosa as well. I may just pull up the Valiants.

  24. You are truly a patient soul, always waiting for dough to rise, crops to be “just so.” The night sky shots will be terrific! We have too many lights here, and rarely see stars. I can’t wait!

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