Friday, November 25, 2011

The Grape Wine pt. 1

Remember how I mentioned a few days ago that we had bartered some grapes for the use of our wine making gear? Here's a little bit more on the story, although it is far from complete.

Our first trade once joining the Bellingham Barter group was with a couple that we knew from our birthing class. They had grapes, but no gear to make wine. We have wine making gear and are always looking for ways to get fruit at a good deal. So we combined our forces, with them supplying the grapes and us supplying the gear and the experience. Well, some experience. We have never made wine from grapes before! 

They brought 90lbs of grapes! I wish I had remembered to take a picture, it was two laundry baskets full of grapes! Always in the past we have made wine in 1 gallon batches, so it wasn't a big deal to wash and press the fruit by hand. Well, washing and pressing 90lbs of grapes took way longer than expected. In retrospect, we should have used a press or a juicer. Sorry guys!
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The boys hand pressing the washed and de-stemmed graped
After pressing all of the grapes, we were able to start 11-12 gallons of wine. Half of it was with the fresh pressed juice, and the other half was with the pulp in a mesh bag (called seconds), water, and some grape juice concentrate. We let both batches sit, with the yeast doing it's job, for a few days to ferment and then Andrew and I racked it into carboys.
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Both batches of fermenting wine, ready to be racked (aren't you impressed with how we use the space where our dishwasher used to be?)
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The batch of wine started from the pure grape juice, 6.5 gallons.  Look at all the crud on the bottom!
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Empty one gallon carboys line up ready to be filled
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The mad scientist sanitizing and prepping airlocks
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Andrew siphoning out the wine into a carboy
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5 1-gallon carboys filled with the second batch of wine, made from the pulp of the pressed grapes
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All of the left over grape pulp, ready to feed to our compost pile
This last weekend, we racked the wine - or moved it from one container to another. As the sediment in the wine settles to the bottom, racking it helps give you a nice clear wine.
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The large carboy, ready to transfer the wine into a bucket so that the carboy can be cleaned and then refilled with the wine.
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Bucket full of booze
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What is left behind - sludge
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Racking some of the smaller carboys
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Pretty wines.  We will go through this process of racking the wines several more times before bottling.  Each time the wine gets a little clearer.  Currently, we have the large carboy - 6.5 gallons - plus 4 one gallon carboys full of wine.

1 comment:

Winn said...

I like all the pictures and descriptions, gives the full picture of how much work it is to make Bybee wine.