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Wine Making Made Easy

Some of my readers may think I did not look much to this, which I told
them was one of the objects of this little work. To vindicate it and
myself I will here state, that our object should always be to attain
the highest perfection in everything. But, while I am aware that I have
generally given the outline of operations on a large scale, I have
never for a moment lost sight of the interests of those, who, like
myself, are compelled, by bitter necessity, to commence at the lowest
round of the ladder. And how could I forget the bitter experience of my
first years, when hindered by want of means; but also the feelings of
sincere joy, of glad triumph, when I had surmounted one more obstacle,
and saw the path open wider before me at every step; and I can,
therefore, fully sympathize with the poor laborer, who has nothing but
his industrious hands and honest will to commence with.

While, therefore, it is most advantageous to follow grape-growing and
wine-making with all the conveniences of well prepared soil,
substantial trellis, a commodious wine cellar and all its
appurtenances; yet, it is also possible to do without most of these
conveniencies in the beginning, and yet succeed. If the grape-grower
has not capital to spare to buy wire, he can, if he has timber on his
land, split laths and nail them to the posts instead of wire. He can
layer his plants even the first summer, and thus raise a stock for
further planting; or dispose of them, as already mentioned in the
beginning of this work. Or he can lease a piece of land from some one
who wishes to have a vineyard planted on it, and who will furnish the
plants to him, besides the necessary capital for the first year or so.
I have contracted with several men without means in this manner,
furnished them a small house, the necessary plants, and paid them $150
the first two years, they giving me half the returns of the vineyards,
in plants and grapes; and they have become wealthy by such means. One
of my tenants has realized over $8,000 for his share the last season,
and will very likely realize the same amount next season.

And if he cannot afford to build a large cellar in the beginning, he
can also do with a small one, even the most common house cellar will do
through the winter, if it is only kept free from frost. One of our most
successful wine-growers here, commenced his operations with a simple
hole in the ground, dug under his house, and his first wine press was
merely a large beam, let into a tree, which acted as a lever upon the
grapes, with a press-bed, also of his own making. A few weeks ago the
same man sold his last year's crop of wine for over $9,000 in cash, and
has raised some $2,000 worth more in vines, cuttings, etc. Of course,
it is not advisable to keep the wine over summer in an indifferent
cellar, but during fermentation and the greater part of winter, it will
answer very well, and he can easily dispose of his wine, if good, as
soon as clear. Or he can dispose of his grapes at a fair price, to one
of his neighbors, or take them to market.

But there is another consideration, which I cannot urge too strongly
upon my readers, and which will do much to make grape-growing and
wine-making easy. It is the forming of grape colonies, of
grape-growers' villages. The advantages of such a colony will be easily
seen. If each one has a small piece of suitable land, (and he does not
need a large one to follow grape-growing), the neighbors can easily
assist each other in ploughing and sub-soiling; they will be able to do
with fewer work animals, as they can hitch together, and first prepare
the soil for one and then for the other; the ravages of birds and
insects will hardly be felt; they can join together, and build a large
cellar in common, where each one can deliver and store his wine, and of
which one perhaps better acquainted with the management of wine than
the others, and whom all are willing to trust, can have the management.
If there should be no such man among them, an experienced cooper can be
hired by all, who can also manufacture the necessary casks. An
association of that kind has also, generally, the preference in the
market over a single individual, and they are able to obtain a higher
price for their products, if they are of good quality.

There are thousands upon thousands of acres of the best grape lands yet
to be had in the West, especially in Missouri, at a merely nominal
price, which would be well adapted for settlements of that kind; where
the virgin soil yet waits only the bidding of intelligent labor--of
enterprising and industrious men--to bring forth the richest fruits.
There is room for all--may it soon be filled with willing hearts to
undertake the task.

And how much easier for you to-day, men with the active hand and
intelligent brain, to commence--with the certainty of success before
you--with varieties which will yield a large and sure return _every_
year; with the market open before you, and the experience of those who
have commenced, to guide you; with the reputation of American wines
established; with double the price per gallon--and ten times the
yield--compared with the beginner of only ten years ago, with nothing
but uncertainty; uncertainty of yield, uncertainty of quality, of
price, and of effecting a sale.

It took a brave heart _then_, and an iron will; the determination to
succeed,--succeed against _all_ obstacles. And yet, hundreds have
commenced thus, and have succeeded. Can _you_ hesitate, when the future
is all bright before you, and the thousand and one obstacles have been
overcome? If you do, you are not fit to be a grape-grower. Go toil and
drudge for so many cents per day, in some factory, and end life as you
have begun it. God's free air, the cultivation of one of His noblest
gifts, destined to "make glad the heart in this rugged world of ours,"
is not for you. I may pity you, but I cannot sympathize with nor assist
you, except by raising a cheap glass of wine to gladden even _your_
cheerless lot.

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