M.O.B. GardeningClub

Drinking Your Garden

Ken Marshall stepped in at the last minute to talk about his homemade wines as the planned speaker;Alan Williams had to cancel his talk on Barn Owls. Ken is a keen gardener and he makes fine wines using the produce from his garden.

Ken used to live in an old Victorian house which he loved. It had a magnificent,walled garden and a cellar. This is where he started to make wine. A few years ago his wife wanted to move to a smaller house. They found a bungalow they liked but it had a much smaller garden and no cellar. In order to persuade him to move his wife suggested they built a wine making room next to the garage. So that is what they did and he is very happy with it as it doesn’t flood like the cellar did.

Ken always struggled to grow carrots at the old house as they were always attacked by carrot fly but now,even though his garden is much smaller he can grow them well. He can even make wine from them and the first wine he showed us was a carrot wine. His talk was enhanced by allowing us to sample the wines.

He is a wine judge so he explained how he goes about assessing wines. He encouraged us to look at the clarity and colour of the wine. This was a white wine and was clear and not cloudy. Then we smelt the wine,swirling it around the glass to encourage the smell to escape looking for the smell of flowers or fruit. We also looked at the residue of wine left up the sides of the glass as this shows the “legs” or strength of the wine,the more residue the higher the alcoholic content. When judging a wine he discounts the first taste as the pallet needs to “warm up”. We could finally sip the wine,tasting for sweetness or acidity. If the wine is dry it is the tannin in the wine. The “body” is the feel of the wine in the mouth,ranging between treacle and water. The aftertaste tells you if there is anything wrong with the wine.

Ken makes use of a variety of produce from his garden. His new house has a marvellous crab apple tree and the second wine we sampled was made from the crab apples. This was a sweetish,rosé wine. The next wine we tasted he had made from the blackcurrants in his garden but he had added some elderberries to make it a darker colour. Blackcurrants make a lovely rosé wine but damsons are needed to make the colour for a red wine. Our final tasting was of a plum wine made from the Victoria plums from the tree in Ken’s garden.

What a treat it was to sample such tasty wines,especially knowing they were produced from the fruit and vegetables grown in Ken’s garden. There was obviously a generous amount of expertise sprinkled in to be able to make these wines but it was encouraging to think that we could also use our own produce to make a lovely wine.

Mary Cowell

Gardening Club Secretary

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