Personal Notes After taking the summer off from winemaking, I got back to work a couple weeks ago. Truth be told, I was a little discouraged by the behaviors of my Mosti Mondiale wines and threw up my hands. Turns out it may have been the smartest thing I’ve done in a long time… The Sauvignon Blanc turned out to be my best wine to date and opened my eyes to a few concepts… like time really does help!
Since I started making wine, I have saved the first bottle bottled from each batch (thanks, Charlie) and usually one other. Sometime in late November, early December, I’m going to throw a tasting party where I’m going to open one of each that has at least 3 months age and see how they compare. I suspect that we’re not only going to drink some pretty good wine, we’re also going to see a real progression in the quality from that first Vintner’s Reserve Pinot Noir.
At some point, just out of curiousity, I may also hold a smaller tasting to see how my wines stack up against commercial wines of the same type. That could get very interesting, even if I am a little prejudiced.
Nestled in a beautiful valley in California’s wine country, the Napping Bear Winery consists of a converted barn with a stone foundation…
Now there’s a little unadulterated BS for you. The Napping Bear Winery is essentially a closet and the front room in the Polo residence in Dover, Delaware. But, Closet Winery just didn’t have the right ring to it. After due consideration, we decided to go with a name that had some meaning and base the logo on a photo taken at our place in the Pennsylvania mountains. The photo shows a large black bear that came to visit us one evening and stayed for 2-1/2 hours… taking a nap on the hill in front of us. He only opened his eyes because he heard me open the back door to take his picture.
I started making wine in self-defense, as much as anything else. It’s less expensive than buying bottles of wine, especially if you like wine that’s better than the cheap Gallo with the screw-top corks. And, let’s face it, theater people can drink. (Recipe for a good party: take 10 or more theater people who’ve just finished a show, add alcohol, mix well, enjoy.) I’ve thrown more than one party that left my house looking like the locusts of old had descended on it and enjoyed a three-day bender. Of course, the fact is, I really like making wine… everything else is just an excuse. I also like drinking it, which means the whole aging thing can get out of whack if I don’t keep a very close eye on Mr. Polo.
The wines are made from kits available through the Internet. I’m just getting started and am learning so much so fast, it’s a little scary. The product, though, is wonderful. As the wine ages, the nuances and character really begin to come alive. I started with the simple, 4 week kits and am gradually working my way up. I have discovered that the more complex (i.e. more expensive) kits make a more complex and satisfying wine. Since Brew King kits are most readily available, I’ve pretty much stuck to them… although that will change as I get more adventurous.
I’ve been sticking to reds and a little cider, because that’s what I like, but I am now branching out into whites as well. I’ve also had the pleasure and agony of working with pure juice, which takes a lot longer to clear than the kits I was used to. I’m not sure that I have the patience to try real varietal grapes, which are not easy to find here in Delaware, anyway.
Being that I am having so much fun with fermentation, I’ve also started to make my own naturally carbonated sodas. The first, a Root Beer, was pretty good but I had fermentation problems due, I think, to cool temperatures. The Ginger Ale I tried next had none of those problems and really gave Chris and I a chance to find out why they call it ginger ale… man, that stuff is good! However, the concensus is the Cream Soda is the best, especially mixed with a flavored rum, such as banana or coconut.
I put this page up because I like talking about what I do… some would say I just like talking. It also helps me to have something to do when I’m waiting for things to happen in The Closet. I have found that the most difficult thing about winemaking is the waiting.
The part of the process I look forward to, aside from the sampling, is the bottling. I usually try to get a few friends over for that process, making an evening out of it. Wine, some friends, and something to do… it doesn’t get any better than that.
(Note to the Revenuers: This is homemade wine, not a real winery… just a hobby. I don’t sell it, period.)Throughout the history of community theater, the topic of guns on stage has reared its head over and over again. Murder mysteries, thrillers, comedies, dramas, even musicals require this device as an integral part of the plot. Theaters have used all manner of devices to simulate gunfire on stage, from toy pistols and sound effects, starter pistols, blank firing guns and real guns using blanks (very bad idea). In this article, we’ll delve into the do’s and don’ts of guns on stage, with an emphasis on safety and security.
Types of Guns for Use on the Stage
Non-Firing Replica – This is the safest gun for use on stage. It looks and feels like a real gun, but cannot chamber a round and will not fire, lacking a firing pin. Relatively inexpensive, these guns are manufactured from original blueprints from less robust metals. They can be used when a gun needs to be displayed on stage but not fired. Safe as they are, non-firing replicas should still be treated as real guns and locked up when not in use.
Blank-Firing Replica (Blank Gun) – This is a gun built specifically to chamber a blank round. A blank round is a shell that does not contain a projectile (bullet). Generally, these are built from blueprints matching real guns and then modified to chamber a blank round, usually 8mm, and ported so that the gasses from firing do not come out of the end of the barrel, but are shunted out the top or side. Treat them as if they were a real gun. These come in three basic types: the revolver and semi-automatic handgun styles, and the long gun.
Revolver (below left and right)– This handgun has a cylinder that holds the blank rounds and rotates to bring them under the firing pin. Best for use on stage because of its simplicity and the fact that it does not eject spent shells.