As we live in a remote area there is a government funded programme whereby we get free hens so that we can supply our own eggs and chickens.
Our day old chicks arrived in a cardboard box. 5 dual purpose hens (egg layers and broilers for eating) plus 5 cockerels (for eating). Only after a few days they had already grown.
We kept them in a box with a heat light whilst I built a hen house for them. As they grew older they spent the day roaming free on the farm and at night they are locked in the hen house to keep them safe from wild dogs, neighbours’ dogs, foxes, opossums, snakes and ocelots.
But the biggest step forward for us was when the government inspector visited to see us and our winemaking facility. It passed with flying colours and now I am registered as an Argentine winemaker. This allows me to make wine for public consumption and also allows me to sell my wine either to buyers or directly to the public. Our wine label has been approved so all we need to do now is to harvest, ferment and bottle! Before I can sell a single bottle our wine will be chemically analysed to ensure compliance with the tough Argentine standards which, to me, is an excellent check and idea.
My selling limit is 4000 litres (just over 5000 bottles) a year, but this year we are going to do a small trial run to get some practice in the various stages (and get used to all the paperwork needed) before we try to elaborate our whole Malbec grape production.
We have been regularly checking the sugar content of the grapes and when they were ready we harvested around 300Kgs of grapes from 1 sector of the vineyard. These are now fermenting gently. We were about to harvest another 300Kgs for a second run but cold wet weather swept in, so we will wait a few days before harvesting and kicking off another fermentation.
Fingers crossed, if all goes well, our first trial run should give us around 360 bottles of finished wine to taste.
Each day we are taking a number of measurements and we are plotting a graph so we know when to move the fermenting wine onto the next stage.
The problem with winemaking is that it is a long and slow process and it is difficult to wait so long before wanting to try a bottle or two, or three…