My family is a handy bunch. In general we like to take on projects — my mom makes her own tofu, gardens constantly, and is a fantastic cook; my sister sews very handily; my step-bro makes his own beer; my son Bennet likes to write little stories on his computer and is obsessed with building legos, and of course you know what I do. A week cannot pass by that I don’t plan or work on some new project. Right now I’m interested in drying beef jerky and making raw almond bread, for instance. And I’m waiting for my producers to finish editing some video segments for this blog, which I wrote and star in (naturally).
My father (Dave Gray) was (and continues to be) very instrumental in inspiring us in these directions. He’s a vigorous guy and he’s always hard at work on some project or other. At various times in my life I recall him gardening (for food and landscaping), making wooden furniture of all kinds, building trellises, tilling soil, composting, planting fruit trees, installing ceiling fans, fixing minor electrical problems, drying fruit on homemade screen, painting, installing planting beds, making beer, and most recently making white wine. For the past several years he’s been growing grapes on his property abutting the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon.
It seems as if he finally had the grape yields to make some wine, because on his most recent visit to LA he brought with him a bottle of homemade white wine. I was pleased if a tad skeptical; my dad has demonstrated an alarming predilection for boxed wine and has never expressed any interest in being a vintner. But certainly he likes to drink wine and to grow fruit, so perhaps making wine was the next logical step.
My dad named his inaugural release QPD, an acronym for Quite Possibly Drinkable. I think he might have sold himself short, because I’d dub the wine Quite Perfectly Delicious! It’s dry but it’s got decent fruitiness. It’s un-oaked so you don’t have any excessive wood on the tongue. The finish is smooth and elegant, with hints of vanilla and honeysuckle. It’s probably a bit inexpert and innocuous; the flavor is too fleeting and it definitely lacks complexity. It could have used a bit more acid for my taste, as well. But for a first stab at winemaking, the end result was absolutely delicious. A very tasty table wine.
It’s also remarkably good considering my pops made it not only from wine grapes (Aurora and Chenin Blanc) but from red table grapes usually used for snacking. Swenson’s Red grapes make up half the fruit used in the wine. Good work, Dad! Keep it coming.
I’m just a little pissed he only brought the one bottle!