For my very first blog, I thought I would elaborate a little more on the early days and the true meaning of manual labor.
On the about page of our website I told you about my Mother-in-Law bringing us a bowl of cherries, but it is important to tell you where they came from. See, those came off of my wife Amy’s grandparent’s cherry tree on their farm in Taos, MO. I remember picking off of that tree for 3 seasons after that – we missed one season because the frostbite got the trees and they didn’t produce. I bet in total we picked over 50 gallons of cherries off of that old tree.
They have since past on and the property has sold, but I hope the new owner keeps that old tree standing no matter what they do with the land. That single tree brings back very fond memories of hard work and big rewards. Without the fruit off of that tree Giggling Grapes would not exist.
I also told you that we made Blackberry wine. Those too were all handpicked from different places in Linn and Taos, MO. I had a friend that would let us come pick all the blackberries we wanted from his huge cattle farm. All he asked for in return was some bottles of the finished product.
Amy and I, along with our kids and mother-in-law, would spend the evenings and weekends picking blackberries, getting cuts and scratches, getting ticks and sweating like crazy. Each of our kids will tell you this is what they hated most about making wine. I called it family time, but nobody else saw it that way.
Over the years we have picked elderberries, cherries, and blackberries. We have also tried and failed at making pumpkin and watermelon wine. I remember our first wine barrel. I went to Coopers Oak Winery in Higbee, MO and bought a 35 gallon rum barrel. We made blackberry wine in that barrel and during fermentation it pulled the rum out of the staves and made a very stout blackberry wine. We sold that barrel after that. The wine turned out around 18.5%. It’s been quite a journey and I look forward to sharing more of it with you in future blog posts.
Stay tuned for our next blog and I will tell you a little about bottling wine the hard way. If you have something you would like us to blog about please let us know.
Awesome story, Cletis. Many great memories for your family.