Monday, April 11, 2011

Making Wine... the process

Like everything else we do, we took a bunch of photos last year (2010) of our wine making process. I never blogged on it, because we fully expected it to be a flop. Now that we have a successful batch, I am really excited to look back over our process so we can be sure and repeat it for 2011.

So back in May of 2010 (May 9th to be exact) we had extra mulberries

The raw weight was seven pounds ten ounces (I must have skimmed some off the top for eating, because in my notes, I see we only used six pounds of berries for the wine batch).

We dumped the berries into a clean, food grade bucket and mashed them with a potato masher (notice the hand written recipe and calculations in the background?).

mash mash mash until it was mostly liquidy

We then poured in a gallon of boiling water

then lidded the mash and set it aside for a few days in a cool dark place (our master bathroom)

A few days later, we strained out the pulp leaving a cloudy purple liquid. (May 15, 2010)

The pulp was composted.

We then added lots of sugar and left in the bucket for four more days.

On May 19th we decanted it into a 3 gallon carboy and put an airlock on it. We wrapped the bottle in a black trash sack, being careful not to seal it too tight, it needed air, but it also needed darkness. This contraption has sat in the corner of my master bathroom for 11 months. We would peek at it occasionally, for a while it bubbled, then it got cloudy, then it got clear and finally, we tasted it--11 months later.

Success! First tasted April 5, 2011.

A few notes:
1) I have the actual recipe and proportions we used in my notebook
2) We did not use commercial yeast, we intend to, but never got around to it. This was a huge chance to take and we assumed it was probably not good. By not adding commercial yeast, you are gambling that the right kind of yeast exists in the fruit or air and will make good wine. By buying yeast, you make sure you get the right kind of yeast for wine. It was really lucky that we got drinkable wine.
3) We have no idea the alcohol content of this batch, we have the tools, but we should have made a measurement when we started the process and again at the end. The comparison is what tells you the alcohol content. We do know that it has a nice kick to it, I only drank one glass and had a nice gentle buzz. Hubby drank two glasses and said he'd had plenty (man speak for a buzz?). Neither of us woke up with any bad side effects the next day (some cheap wine and I feel awful after just a glass). My understanding is that wine kind of self regulates, over a certain alcohol content the yeast will die, so it is impossible to end up with 100 proof... no plans for us to start any distilled liquors, yet. Is that even legal?
4) Did I mention it was SWEET? My dad would never drink this--he likes a dry wine, but I'm guessing my sister will love it. Hubby likes it, and he tends to like a drier wine than me. How sweet? My favorite wine is port, and this is similar to that level of sweetness. For any 'real' wine drinkers out there, don't laugh at my unsophisticated palate.

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