Wine Making – Part II

Last Saturday The Dude and I spent the afternoon crushing grapes. During the past week I’ve carefully monitored the wine must, testing for sugar depletion as the wine fermented. I thought the process would take longer than it did. I expected it to be a week before I could consider pressing the grapes. I was wrong! By Wednesday night all the sugars had been consumed and I had wine.

Let me be honest – I was never any good at science in high school. I was a bit nervous about making wine, since the whole thing seems like a big science experiment! Measuring Brix and calculating formulas for nutrient and yeast additions – my eyes were ready to roll back in my head! When I first pressed the grapes and tasted it the next day the juice was very sweet. I worried that I had gone to a lot of expense to make several gallons of grape juice! But just one day later the sugars had dropped and it started to taste like wine. Each day brought a further drop in sugars and a rise in alcohol. So, I really felt a surge of pride that I barreled through (yeah, I know it’s a bad pun) my fears and succeeded!

Last night we took the wine-press out into the garage and dragged the buckets of must out to be pressed. If you remember, we had 16 gallons of must when we finished crushing last week. When we finished all the pressing we ended up with 11 gallons of wine. It tastes terrific although it definitely needs to age for a year, and the color is an awesome deep red/purple. Believe me, I spent a lot of time getting that gorgeous color off of my hands last night when we wrapped up.

Christening my press! The wine is pressed into waiting buckets and then will be transferred to glass carboys.

This was so cool! The grape pomance (compressed grapes) formed a cake that we just picked up and put out in our compost bin. Hope the raccoons don’t get into this, since they’ll get pretty tipsy!

Now the boring part begins –  waiting for everything to age gracefully. Other than shaking the carboys twice a month, I won’t have much to do until next August when I bottle. Keep your fingers crossed that we have something tasty to drink next year!

The wine resting in a carboy and bucket until Sunday when I rack it off into the final carboys.

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About Eileen Dominick Long

Diva, dog lover, and main squeeze to the Dude.
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