My folks have a bit of land and love gardening. They’ve got all kinds of fruits and vegetables growing including a short, about 20 feet, vine of concord grapes. This is the first year they’ve had a good crop and boy did they have grapes. More than enough for them and the neighborhood. Just before going on vacation and the first frost, they asked if I wanted any. I took it as a great opportunity to get into wine making.
Not having and literature on the subject, I again relied on this site on the premise that it can’t be that hard to make wine provided that you’re not gunning for the best in show award at some Parisian wine contest. We’ve been doing this for over six thousand years and I’m pretty sure they didn’t sterilize their bucketswith potassium metabisulphate back then.
Armed with more enthusiasm than information, the kids and I headed up there in the cold and rain and picked about 35 lbs in about a half hour. That’s when the kids had had enough.
Back home we removed all the stems, spiders, snails and rotten grapes from the lot and placed them in a clean six gallon bucket. We mashed them up with our hands and a potato masher taking care not to break the seeds. This left us with a pleasant bucket of smashed grapes called a must.
The next day we added the yeast and put it in the shed which, thanks to the MythTV server, hovers around 70 degrees. After about four days we finally started to get a cap, or all the skins rising to the top. Twice a day we mashed it down again with the potato masher.
Two weeks later we were ready to transfer.
I’ve never done this before so the method of transfer I chose was not successful, or even sane. So if you’re following along, do something else here.
I bought and sterilized in a dutch oven a large funnel and a small straining bag to match the small batch of must I had. I inserted the end of my big funnel into the straining bag and placed the two items in the sterile dutch oven. The wife then poured a bit of must into the funnel. The wine strained through the bag leaving a lug of grape skins. I then squeezed the wine from the skins. This was hard work but luckily only took about a half hour. My dad has a small wine press so we’ll use that next time. If I was to do this again with anything more than three gallons I’d buy or rent a press I think.
Now we had about 2 1/2 gallons of wine transfered to a three gallon carboy. I placed the bung and air lock on the top and placed the contraption into the shed.
In another week or so I’ll rack the wine into another three gallon carboy I have yet to purchase.
All this in the hope of getting our first eight bottles of wine next Christmas.