Red, red wine…

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What is the definition of a good wine? It should start and end with a smile. -William Sokolin

One of Jim’s great passions is gardening. He loves being outdoors and I think other than the smell of fresh baked bread, he prefers the smell of a freshly turned garden. As soon as Christmas was over and before New Year’s Day, we had the seed catalog out and had the summer’s garden planned and plotted. Shumway is the seed company of choice though we will receive upwards of thirty catalogs before spring arrives.

Another thing Jim enjoys is making his own wine. He went online and read up on the ins and outs of wine making and then dove right in.

The first batch, a blackberry wine, resembled lighter fluid. I knew before I brought the glass to my lips that I would not enjoy what was about to occur. It started warm…then it got hot from there. If that had been me, I would have hauled carboys and bottles to the curb immediately. But fortunately, Jim was not to be deterred.

The result has been a most pleasant surprise. His second batch of blackberry wine was wonderful! And, since we live on the original farm of Anton and May Pohl, it seemed only fitting that the name of the wines that Jim produces is Pohl Farm Wines. Jim’s mother came up with the name and asked me to provide a photo for the labels she was getting made for Jim for Christmas a year ago. The prior spring I took my camera to the garden and photographed the blackberries as they were ripening.

Jim’s dad already had blackberry, strawberry and rhubarb plants going strong before we moved in. Since then we have planted blueberries, raspberries and grapes. This spring we’ll be adding apple trees. Along with these we have friends who supply us with other fruit.

With each batch of wine Jim creates, he names it for a person that the particular fruit reminds him of. The first, Anton, a blackberry wine, was named for his Grandpa Anton. After that came an elderberry wine, Leo, after his Grandpa Keepes, who also made elderberry wine, Cousin Joe for his dad’s cousin who donated cherries for a batch of wine and most recently bottled Dad’s Persimmon. Jim said that growing up, he and his dad would pick up and eat persimmons. No one else seemed to like them, so this fall, when persimmons were more plentiful that either of us could remember, we were able to pick up enough for several batches of pudding and wine.

Jim has several batches of wine started, including a strawberry that I’m really looking forward to trying. Someone recently suggested he try dandelion wine…too bad we didn’t try that in Evansville, when dandelions ruled our yard!

Some haven’t turned out too well, like a batch of rhubarb (which if you ask me was doomed to fail from the start…I don’t like rhubarb!). But most are wonderful and more importantly, making wine is something Jim truly enjoys.

The saying goes “If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”

Well…what makes Momma happy is a happy Daddy!

Wine…is bottled poetry!  -Robert Louis Stevenson

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