Hand Picked Grapes for Wine

Yesterday we hand selected our second round of grapes for mushti (grape juice with a kick), wine and raki. We have no fancy equipment here just a large plastic tub and a hand crank crusher. In our vineyard we have small merlot clusters of grapes the ripen first, then our yellow and pink hafisali, and last our largest grape called Çilek, a native Albanian grape for our wine. How do we know when the grapes are ready? Taste and texture. We grape needs to be sweet and plump all or mostly all a rich dark purple.

 Çilek, a native Albanian grape for our wine
Çilek, a native Albanian grape for our wine

Each day we will smush the mush twice a day. In two days will pull mushti, a grape juice with a kick. We will store strain and filter the juice into plastic bottles and store in the freezer. We will smush the mush once a day for another seven days and will strain and filter the wine, rest for two days, strain and filter again, rest again for two days, and filter and bottle in five kg bottles to rest for six weeks before bottling in wine bottles. The remaining mush will rest for ten days and then we will distill for raki.

By the first week of October we will pull the last round of grapes for wine and start the process over as described above.

In our orchard, the fig trees

are still producing, we have made two rounds of fig jams and even tried our first rounds of drying the figs. We have stored some in canning jars others in plastic freezer bags and freezing for winter treats. Our jujube date tree is ripening everyday we enjoyed a handful of crisp dates this week, true indication fall is nearly here.

Last weekend we even juiced a few pomegranates. Still early will likely start harvesting to juice them in another week or two. The quince, persimmon and a apple tree are still ripening for for fall harvest.

In the garden, our okra, melons, and climbing beans are still thriving. The peppers, eggplants and tomatoes are still producing but slowly dying off. The cabbage and leeks are growing more everyday and my sweet potatoes are nearly ready to harvest soon. We are down a few baby chicks this last week but the three survivors are doing well. We hope our egg production this fall will increase. We went from seven eggs on average a day to one or two.

In other news, my first fiction novel was submitted to an editor this week for creative review. I am creating a few cover options, the title is still a work in progress but what do you think?

I will add more details soon, don't forget to subscribe to Homestead Albania for the latest news and updates.

And if you have any questions leave a comment below! Cheers!

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