Every year when we were little my dad would take me and my siblings to my grandparents house to pick grapes, they share a couple of grapevines with their neighbors. My grandparents live less than a mile away, and we enjoyed our time spent with them, but we would dread going to pick grapes! The bees, the bugs (especially spiders), the sticky grapes, not fun. However, as an adult, I enjoy picking the grapes, it is kind of tranquil and calming. My dad, my grandma and I picked some grapes just the three of us this year, my siblings did not join us. My mom stayed home because she was sick and Grace was napping, so my husband stayed home with her. It was a peaceful hour, just catching up with grandma and enjoying some quality time father-daughter bonding; these are the special moments that everyone should cherish with family.
My dad & grandma were perfect models, haha.
By the time we were done it was after dusk, so we just dropped the grapes off at my parents house and I went home. The following day I met my dad at his house after work and we began to pick the stems off all the grapes, this was the most tedious and boring part, but it goes by quickly if others help out. Once the grapes were de-stemmed, we rinsed them off, put them in stock pots, and cooked the grapes on medium heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring and mashing often. The next step would have been easier if we had a cheese cloth, but instead we used two colanders, one with fine holes and one with coarse holes. We stacked the colanders, one on top of the other, over another stock pot and let the juice drain. We used a masher and lightly put pressure on the grapes so all the juice would drain.
stock pot was filled with water, just to the top of the grapes
Again, we did not have a cheesecloth, so we doubled our colanders and let the grapes drain while mashing as needed.
Finished product! Just waiting to be placed into jars.
Even though I have green grapes in the picture, we only used purple grapes to make the juice.
When we were done with that step we sealed the juice in jars, chilled, then began drinking! It turned out so good.
Homemade Grape Juice
Destem all grapes, then rinse.
Place in stock pan and fill with enough water so that the grapes are just covered.
Cook on medium heat for 20-30 minutes. Occasionally stirring and mashing.
When complete, spoon into the colander and let drain. Mash lightly.
Add 1/4 cup of sugar at a time, to taste, stir. Do this while the grape juice is still very warm so it mixes in.
I LOVE all types of sparkling wine, champagne, prosecco, moscato – any wine with bubbles is my favorite. When we were in Napa on our honeymoon my favorite wineries were Schramsberg, Mumm, and Domain Chandon, they also had some of the most scenic properties in Napa. My husband and I both greatly enjoyed all three wineries even though sparkling wine isn’t his favorite. I highly recommend all three wineries (including the tour of Schramsberg’s winery for a tasting in their caves) for anyone who makes it to Napa.
But, before my drink of choice became sparkling wine, my choice of drink was a Shirley Temple, or Kiddie Cocktail. I still tend to order them when I go to restaurants, especially when I was pregnant, so I was thinking combining the two would be the best of both worlds.
With New Years this week sparkling wine seems to be the go to drink, especially for the midnight toast. Last night at my parents house we opened a bottle of prosecco with dinner and I decided to try out the sparkling Shirley. It is very simple with just three simple ingredients.
4 oz Sparkling Wine
1 tsp Grenadine
Sugar, as a garnish
Rub a little cherry juice around the rim of the glass, place the glass in a bowl with enough sugar to coat the rim. Once the rim is coated, place a cherry at the bottom of the glass. Fill with sparkling wine, add one teaspoon of Grenadine, or fill the grenadine cap if you don’t have a teaspoon available, and pour it into the glass. Drink, enjoy and toast to a New Year!