Friday, June 4, 2010

Bottling and Labels--and Naming Things

Soon after the Feast of Pentecost, the conclusion of the great fifty days of the Easter season, it was time to bottle the pinot noir wine I started last September and a Belgium Trippel ale (made with rock candy!) I brewed up about a month ago.  I dedicated two days to the bottling process: Cleaning reusable bottles, soaking and scraping off old labels, and sanitizing the bottles. When I finished the prep work on the bottles it was time to clean and sanitize the equipment for transferring the ale and wine into the bottles.  Then I did the actual bottling.  Then corking the wine bottles and capping the beer bottles.  Then sealing the wine bottles with wax and adding heat-shrink capsules for the tops of the bottles.  Then I printed off labels and applied them to the bottles.  It's a lot of work!  But there's a lot of enjoyment in all that hands-on labor. And it was another accomplishment.

I ended up with the equivalent (some were magnums and some were half bottles) of 24 bottles of red wine, 4 1/2 bottles of blush, and 47 bottles of ale.  Now I wait, again, for the wine and the ale to continue to mature.  I should let the wine mature for a minimum of another two months, and about three months for the ale (which is a higher alcohol ale at 7.5%).  Both will continue to improve with further aging beyond those minimums.

This was the first time I labeled these avocational products under the names Third Incarnation Brewery and Third Incarnation Winery.  I had a naming poll among friends as I was making the transition to the place where I now live.  Back in my hippie days in the early 70's I named my wines with the Uncle Dan's Very Fine Table Wine label.  Then when my wife and I moved to Evanston, Illinois so she could teach at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in the mid-90's I started up beer and winemaking again under The Seminary Cellar label.  I decided upon Third Incarnation when we made the move to the San Francisco East Bay area.  It was the third location for my brewing-winemaking and I think it sounds very "Californian" and whimsical. 

Naming things is an important activity.  When I was 15 years old I was adopted by my then-stepfather.  I underwent a change in my name.  Something of my past was ended, and something new was begun.  A new identity was formed.  Women who have traditionally taken on the name of their husband understand this.  Now many married couples take a hyphenated name, combining family names.  When we adopted a child, that child received a new name as part of a new identity and state of life and network of relationships and belonging.  Monastics take on a name that they will be known by in the community drawn from saints of the past.  Some people take on a new name by which the community will know them at their baptism.  In some traditions people will receive a new name as part of their initiation into adulthood.

In your own life if you could give yourself a new name emerging from important events, what name or names would that be?  How do you label yourself?  What does that imply and exclude?  What are your stories of naming and labeling?  What are your stories of working toward a goal and then celebrating it's accomplishment?

You are welcome to share them with us by adding your own comment if you like.


Gaye said...

Where did you go?

Daniel said...

Thanks for asking, Gaye. It prompted me to post anew.