A fine time for a wine vine

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A fine time for a wine vine

Postby Faith » Tue Aug 15, 2017 7:00 am

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1st Saun, 717
"Want some ginger?" Faith held out a dried slice of ginger with a grin. She knew that ginger was one of those food stuffs which was not a proper food stuff at all, in his eyes. Along with sprouts and cucumber sandwiches, two things which she had not yet managed to persuade him to at all. Ginger was something which she usually agreed with him on, but it held the nausea at bay and so Faith could imagine developing a real taste for it.

At least for the foreseeable future.

As they made their way to the land which was part of Cally's, the farm where Paul had been working with Padraig to enhance the growth of their produce, Faith held on to his hand and resisted the urge to skip. However, they had agreed that they'd keep the pregnancy they had discovered just the trial before quiet. She didn't want to tell anyone, far from it, yet she found it difficult to contain her pleasure. Thankfully, she was a very disciplined individual who had spent a lifetime showing a particular face to the world. That meant, of course, that remaining composed should be easy.

"So, I think we might have to admit that it's my birthday, you know," Faith beamed and tried not to, but couldn't quite manage it. "Though what excuse we're going to use for me grinning like a loon for the rest of the time I have no idea." Faith then had a thought which she recognised as most unlike her and she shrugged, "We can worry about that tomorrow."

The land, just outside the town, was a pleasant walk although the Saun weather had come in with a bang and they walked through the blistering heat. Faith's hand in his was at a constant temperature of slightly cool, which prompted a slight grin from her. Still, she had to focus at least a little and so she considered what they had. "So, between the land I bought last season and this, we've got more than enough now for a small vineyard. Five acres is apparently a good size, so Paul tells me."

As they arrived, Paul came out to greet them. Taylor was with him, the serious and quiet young man nodded to them both, but let Paul do the talking, for the most part.

"So, most of what we're deciding to-trial will be in the office, which is no bad thing in this heat. Come in." The 'office' of the farmlands was one of the houses which Faith had built a few seasons ago. In there were maps and books and records. The other room was used as a store.

"I've looked at the land and considered it. We need to make some decisions," Paul said with a smile. "If we're growing grapes, we need to look at the space between rows and between vines. If we make that the optimum, then we get maximum quality and yield."

"Alright, that's what we want, certainly," for all that she had been concerned about simply grinning, Faith was very much business-focused. "So, it will depend on the crop?"

"Partly," Taylor replied. He didn't speak often, but when he did he was worth to listen to, the man knew what he was doing. "But also it will depend on the soil. Nutrients, irrigation, that sort of thing. Maybe even flavour changing or something more unusual. Which is where you come in." The last, of course, was directed at Padraig. Faith nodded, thoughtfully and looked at the resident alchemist.

"What do you think? I think I tend towards grapes, at least at first." Faith considered, a frown on her face as she thought about it. "Branching out seems to make more sense once we know what we're doing."
"To be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."
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A fine time for a wine vine

Postby Padraig » Fri Aug 18, 2017 1:22 pm

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"We've been over this," Padraig reminded her, dryly but teasing as they wandered over the newly developed land that was a part of Cally's. "Ginger is not food. It looks weird, it smells weird, it tastes weird. Not food." And yet he realized that for Faith, the stuff was Immortals sent when it came to managing her nausea. So as far as that went, he was grateful. But not enough to be willing to ingest it himself. Just as cucumber was a cigar shaped abomination posing as a vegetable and sprouts were just grass, ginger was not food. "Admit it?" he asked then when she mentioned her birthday. "Don't think for a trill that we're going to limit ourselves to just acknowledging it." He had plans, after all, and was counting on his grandfather to hold down the fort while he was away from the house. And on Katie, for other things.

It was hot though. Though just a three letter word didn't begin to cover the extent of it. "You know, I think my next alchemy project should be clothing that will remain cool on the body, no matter the temperature it's exposed to." So, five acres. And a vineyard. "Good to see you again Paul. Taylor," Padraig said before they got started. Of all the sciences he studied, botany wasn't one of them. And he certainly wasn't a farmer. Still, chemistry and physics knowledge in this case was helpful to understanding the subject matter. "So I'm also guessing that in terms of yield, you ought to get more product from grapes, as opposed to tree fruit?" he asked.

After all, a tree might yield an abundance of fruit, but the number of trees were limited by their root systems and the space needed in between trees. Grapes of course were much smaller, but the spaces between plants could be much smaller. "If you're talking about wine, then yes, I'd say that grapes would be the better place to start. For that matter, if you're considering unique flavors, are you only interested in impacting the flavors at the root, or in addition, during the storage process?" As he understood it, the barrel that a good beer or liquor was stored in, also played a part in the flavor of the brew. Cedar, oak, aged, or so on.
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A fine time for a wine vine

Postby Faith » Fri Aug 18, 2017 8:14 pm

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"I mean with other people." Faith explained, about admitting it was her birthday, but she smiled and shook her head. "I hope you haven't gone to any trouble, Padraig. You've given me so much, I don't need anything." Looking at him as she spoke, her gaze was entirely earnest. She knew what he was like and what he was prone to doing. "I have everything I have ever dreamed of a hundred times over. I only have a birthday to celebrate because of you. Please, tell me you haven't put yourself out or inconvenienced yourself at all." She looked at him and sighed, fully aware that she might as save her breath to blow on her soup. "My life is a gift and you make it all possible. If I bought or made you gifts every trial till our last I would never come close to what you have done for me. Why are you being so difficult?" He had that look on his face, as she spoke, the one where she knew that she was on a march to nowhere by trying to explain to him a simple truth. So she smiled and squeezed his hand. "Thank you."

His next alchemy project? "Why not just like the cloak you made in Rharne with my blood? That keeps you at a comfortable temperature in hot or cold. We had a nice time doing that, it was almost normal remember?" Looking up at him, Faith leaned against him and smiled. "I'll help. I'd like to."

But on to the farming part and Faith nodded. "Yes, we need to have more land if we're going to have an orchard. I'd like to, an orchard, a vineyard, the farm for produce and livestock, a lake for fishing and the bees. That's the ideal" Paul looked at her like her head was about to drop off and turned to Padraig.

"How? How do you manage to .... when we have all that, she'll have thought of something else, you know." He smiled at Faith fondly as he spoke and she returned the expression. They had developed a friendship over the time that they had worked together and Paul shook his head. "You're a mad woman, you know that?"

"Maybe, but each aspect, each area is a new skill for the trainees to learn. They have to be at the heart of what we do. Besides, eventually, I want it to be big enough because we will have more people here." Paul raised an eyebrow and even Taylor, who was normally quiet, glanced over. Faith shrugged and said nothing. Padraig knew, she had a thousand ideas of what to do. Padraig's question was important, though, and Faith's answer was immediate.

"All of it. In every way that we can. I want it to be the best it can be. I was thinking about the yellow dragon wood? You know how the smoke smells of cherries? I want to find out what that does in the barrel, but also, might it be a difference by having pressing machines made of different woods?" She looked at Paul and grinned. "So, assuming that we're starting with grapes and we'll have a yield of.. how much?"

"If we space them three foot apart, we'll have a yield of just shy of five thousand vines per acre. I'd say that's likely to give us, without any help from this chap, a reasonable yield"

Taylor spoke up, then, although he was looking more at Padraig than Faith. "What are you thinking in terms of equipment and storage? How can we do this smart?" Faith glanced at Padraig and wondered if now was the time to ask him if he'd read those books, all that time ago back in Andaris.
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A fine time for a wine vine

Postby Padraig » Wed Aug 23, 2017 9:24 am

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"Of course I haven't," Padraig reassured her, arm around her waist and a kiss to the cheek when she worried that he'd troubled himself over her birth-trial. It was true that he'd been very busy and the logistics that had gone into the planning for the evening had sometimes themselves been tricky ones. But trouble or inconvenience? Nothing could be farther from the truth. "An inconvenience is when I can't find my left shoe in the morning. You have never, and never could be an inconvenience," he told her. What he had planned would require quite a lot to pull off. But he had help and hopefully that help was currently busy fulfilling its role.

"Am I now?" he teased when she accused him of being difficult, and grinned again, secretively. "Of course you can help. I was thinking that yes, I could do something similar to the cloak, but with clothing more appropriate for hot weather...even socks and boots while I'm at it." Working with leather was different than cloth so far as imbuements were concerned, but not so troublesome that it couldn't be done. Otherwise, cool or not he'd look rather silly walking round Scalvoris in what appeared to be a cloak more appropriate for the cold season.

A lake for fishing and a...farm for bees? "Is that what you call it? That's not ambitious at all is it?" he joked when Paul bemoaned Faith's grandest of plans. He wouldn't have expected anything different. So, storing the wine in barrels fashioned from wood that could impact its flavor and aromas made sense. But the pressing machines? "I don't see why not," he considered. But storage and yield? "I've been doing a little reading in my spare time," he said, revealing that yes, in fact he had been studying the process a little.

"Storage is best in a dark, cool place, vertical from floor to ceiling to save space. As for yield," he added. [i]"Apparently you must crush six to eight hundred grapes to make a single bottle of wine. Anywhere from three to ten clusters of them. But it's the vine and row spacing, vintage conditions, variety and age of the grapes that all play a part in how many grapes per acre." He couldn't begin to call himself an expert on the topic of wine making. Not even close. But after all, he'd only just begun to study the topic.
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A fine time for a wine vine

Postby Faith » Sun Aug 27, 2017 8:18 am

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He was thinking of something like the cloak? Faith nodded her head and considered what he was saying. Maybe, she considered, the thing to do was for her to make him some light cotton clothing, which would be more than usual for Saun, but could also be worn under heavy coats and so on for Cylus? If she made those, then that would make sense and as she made them, he could enchant them with the alchemical mixture which included her blood as she did. She needed no such thing but the baby would. They could do things like blankets, sheets, clothes and so on for the baby with the same thing, she suggested. But maybe a little further down the line when the pregnancy was more developed. It would give them a chance to perfect the techniques, she said and leaned against him with a smile as he kissed her and hugged her against him.

When they got to the farm, Faith looked at Padraig and grinned, "I believe it's an apiary for the bees. That is the correct term for a group of beehives. We've got a lot of the equipment already, we'll be producing honey next season." She listened attentively as they spoke of the yield expected and Faith considered that she needed to know this, if she could.
"Well," Paul said to Padraig's statement regarding numbers of grapes, "with the spacing we're planning, we should have about four and a half thousand vines per acre. Then, it depends on the yield per vine, of course. On average, though, we'll get two or three bottles per vine."

Taylor nodded his head and added, "Also, we need to consider irrigation and pest control. Paul and I can get the vines set up, it's the turning the grapes into wine that is our weak area."

Faith looked at Padraig and smiled. It seemed that he had been reading up which meant that they had someone on hand. There was no doubting it in her mind, if Padraig put his mind to it, he could make excellent wine. "I'd like us to focus on wine and mead here. But later, maybe, spirits and I'd like to brew our own beer and ale. Later, not now, I know." Faith grinned as she said it, though 'later' meant other things needed to be taken into account, too.

Still. "So, if you work together on the wine, I can start thinking about the mead. It's the beginning of brewing, I believe, from what little I've read of it, so it would be a start into that for us. I'll start practicing at home and in a while, we can bring that in to the business." In the mean time, there were plenty of uses for the honey in the restaurant itself. Glancing around she nodded her head. "Alright. Put together a list of what you need, costings and so on, and I'll get it done. How much it costs will determine how long it takes, but financially, we're looking good. Business is good, certainly."

Paul and Taylor nodded and turned to the desk, obviously expecting Padraig with them to work out the list and then, they could begin. "What if we want to experiment with different woods and so on, Faith?" Paul asked.

Faith glanced at Padraig, checking that it was making sense when she answered, "If there's a way that you can do small tests with lesser amounts and therefore save money, then do so. If not, then get what you need to get. If we want the best, we'll have to be prepared to experiment until we've got it?" That seemed to please Paul and Taylor and made sense to them. "Do you want to use alchemy in this stage, Padraig, or would you rather get the basics first?" Faith could see plus and negatives for progressing either way. However, at the end of the trial he was very much the expert in the use of alchemy, so she was more than happy to meet his wishes there.
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A fine time for a wine vine

Postby Padraig » Thu Aug 31, 2017 10:38 am

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"Apiaries, hives, I don't like them," Padraig declared with a shrug, a deep frown. He wasn't afraid of many things, even if some of them he ought to be. But he could honestly say that he did not like bees. There was nothing Faith could ask of him that he wouldn't do, for her. But bees? Well, he'd rather not. "Irrigation and pest control shouldn't be a problem," he told the two men. "I would think the natural approach ought to be the first line of defense." For pest control in particular, he meant. Sure, he could concoct things in his lab, combining natural ingredients with others extracted from any number of things. But you just couldn't beat a good horde of lady bugs or the scattering of plants inhospitable to pests, amid the vines themselves.

So wine first, mead and beer later. Fair enough. "No alchemy. Not yet," he told Faith with a shake of his head. "Without a good working base of knowledge, alchemy will only confuse the process." So, a list of what they might need? They could indeed begin with small batches, he suggested as he took pencil in hand. Turned out that once he got down to it, it wasn't a short list. But none of it should be too costly if they were beginning small.

A fruit crusher and press, some sanitizer and straining bags, eight to ten gallon fermenters with snug lids, siphon tubing and racking cane. Glass jugs with airtight stoppers, a hydrometer for testing, bottling buckets and corks. And lastly a good corker. He could make a few of these things he told Paul. Like the hydrometer and sanitizer. But other things were more specialized for wine making and ought to be sourced from those who knew best.
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A fine time for a wine vine

Postby Faith » Fri Sep 01, 2017 1:35 pm

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Bees? Faith glanced at Padraig as he spoke. He looked downright uncomfortable at the thought of bees and as much as she did not understand why that was the case, Faith was very clear in that moment. No bees. She was more than prepared to work much harder than was reasonable by most standards, but her bottom line was that there was no way they were doing something which made him uncomfortable. The bee farm would have to be elsewhere, or they'd have to buy the honey in. She said nothing, however, just made a mental note and continued from there.

A natural approach to irrigation and pest control? That made sense to Faith and she considered it carefully. If they could do this well without any strange additions, she'd rather. Padraig's time was better spent, she knew, in helping her create dishes and menus. So, ladybugs and plants, irrigation and so on, all of those things would help. It was good to know that he was on hand should there be anything which needed taking care of. He was, Faith considered with a smile, quite handy to have around.

The list that they came up with was far from short, but there was nothing terrifying or new there. Faith considered and spoke to Padraig, thoughtfully. "So, with all this equipment, how long will the process take, from picking the grape to bottling?" She considered it and chewed her lower lip for a few moments as she tried to make sense of what she was saying.

"I suppose, what I'm concerned about is getting it right before we make it bigger in scale. I think that's the way to do it, to experiment with the process, the equipment, that kind of thing. Then, once we have it right, go into larger scale and make it commercially. Does that work?" If it did, that was fine, so that meant that now, there were questions about it. "So, what space will be needed for this, and more importantly, how long will this experimentation take? I'm keen to get planting," there was no doubting that, "but I don't want it to go to waste because we're not ready."

Tapping the paper, Faith looked at Padraig, Taylor and Paul and she smiled. "So, let us consider the worst case scenario and the best. How long will this experimentation stage last?" Faith needed to know that in order to plan when they'd plant and also when they might start having house wine, literally, on the menu. "And how many people will need to be involved for how long in an average ten-trial or per trial?" She wanted to get the trainees as much experience as she could and this would be an excellent project for them to get involved in.

Plus, for reasons that only Padraig knew but would undoubtedly guess at and, in fact, know for certain, planning things and their timings seemed like a very good and very important idea to Faith right at this point. Planning was suddenly something they really needed to do.
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A fine time for a wine vine

Postby Padraig » Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:01 am

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How long? Padraig frowned thoughtfully while recalling what he'd read about the wine making process. "Depends," he told her and the others.

"Speaking in measures of half seasons, one is the absolute minimum bottling time, before a a wine is ready for tasting. Three, and it will begin to show some character. Six is best for whites and almost all the reds. And nine or more to bring the flavor to maturity, to display its full spectrum and eliminate any bitterness. Some dark red wines can take even longer." And so it appeared that the picking, crushing and bottling of grapes was a relatively quick process. But bottling didn't really make the wine. At least not any worth drinking. Time did.

That being the case, Padraig suggested to them all, it might be wise to try several different flavors, combinations and techniques from the start. That way, they wouldn't be left with a single result that ultimately wasn't the best one. They could pick and choose from several. "For wine, the bottles need to be kept in a dark place, on their sides. Maybe a deep cellar with constant, cool temperatures. The humidity however ought be around seventy percent. It should be isolated too and not moved once its stored...until its ready." They might build tall, wide racks along the walls of a cellar then, all the better to move between them and store them in a sufficient number.

"As few or as many people should be involved as you like?" he added with a shrug. "More for the picking and crushing, fewer for the creation process, and more again for the bottling and storing." Either way, a half season ought yield grape juice and not much more. It was the half seasons that followed that would make the wine.

So that being said, he told them, they could expect an arc to pass at the least before they'd have any wine to sell. More so because the quality would be tied to reputation. It ought to be the best they could manage. The equipment was important.

But as importantly it ought to be cleaned and sterilized with substances that left no residue, had no odor and wouldn't leave an aftertaste behind. That would impact the long term taste and quality of the wine. The same might be said for the type of wood they chose. It wasn't enough to decide that one type of wood was desirable in the short term. They'd need to know that over the long haul, those results would remain desirable.
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A fine time for a wine vine

Postby Neronin » Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:22 am

Review

Faith



Knowledges:
Agriculture: Growing grapes vs trees
Agriculture: Planning land use
Business Management: Ensure that you understand all the workings of your business
Business Management: Consider the long term gain
Vinting: Wine to grape ratio
Vinting: Storing techniques

Loot: none
Injuries: none
Fame: none
Devotion: none

Points: 15, not for magic *eye roll*




Padraig


Knowledges:
Logistics: Lists of equipment for testing
Logistics: Testing to ensure maximum quality
Vinting: Product from grapes, rather than tree fruit
Vinting: Grape type impacts taste of the final wine
Vinting: Wood use in caskets impacts flavor.
Vinting: Keep it laying horizontally
Vinting: Yield per acre

Loot: None
Injuries: None
Fame: None
Devotion: None

Points: 15, not for magic *huffs*


Comments: I would just like to say that Neronin’s favorite wine is the strawberry Stella Rosa that you can buy at the gas-stations ;) I love you guys, the interactions, the tone, the prose that bounce off each other. You got it all going on. So they’re adding a vineyard to their list of responsibilities, that is quite a handful! I thought it was a bit of a laugh when Padraig is talking about how hard it will be and Faith just lists all the stuff she wants to do on top of the grapes, haha. All in all a well written and well collaborated thread. That’s no surprise coming from the two of you, though!


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“That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die.” - Lovecraft
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Neronin
Approved Character
 
Posts: 343
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2017 12:34 pm
Location: Etzos
Race: Human
Profession: Museum Curator
Renown: +175
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Medals: 7
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