Thursday, May 8, 2008

Making Grape Wine

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I love this picture most! *All pictures are taken with my humble handphone. I took these pictures at night without any natural light. Almost gave up as I could not capture the colour of the wine initially (fortunately, I didn't).
I am elated, so proud of myself. Photobucket I am like a Cheshire Cat, grinning ear to ear. Today, I am a happy person. I finally harvested my first batch of grape wine. KWF (thanks dear!) introduced me to this site by 周老师 , which is very comprehensive and detailed. I started this after my experiment on Sourdough. I did some research before embarking on this experiment (I will list them all for your further reading purposes) and am glad that everything went on smoothly.

It is rather simple actually, it is just a matter of patience and cleanliness. First, you have to ensure that the jars and utensils that you use are clean. Most importantly, scrub your hands and under your nails as well (I fall short of using disinfectant soap). I used boiling water to pour on the jars and poured away the water after it is cool to touch. I left them overturned to dry for 2 days before I used them. As for the grapes, I removed them from the stems and washed them. I laid them out to dry for a day. Discard those that are soggy, squashed or spoilt.

I used :
2.5kg of Ebony Grapes
250g of Fine White Sugar

Method :
1) Using your hand, crush the grapes on the jar. After a substantiate amount, sprinkle some sugar.

2) Crush grapes again and sprinkle sugar. Repeat the process until finish.

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3) Seal the jar with cling wrap followed by the cover. Leave the container undisturbed in a cool, dry and dark place.

4) Fermentation will start and slowly dies off by the 7th day. However, mine took longer. It took 9 days. Once there are no new bubbles coming out, it is ready to harvest the wine. During fermentation, it is important that you resist the temptation of disturbing the content. You will need to open the cover slightly to release the gas on alternate days. You can smell it but nothing more. During this time, it is also important that you look out for moulds. If moulds appear, please discard the whole batch. It causes poisoning. But if you have diligently prepared and sterilised the jar, chances of moulds appearing are being reduced.

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5) I used a cloth sieve to harvest the wine into 2 smaller jars. Mine yielded about 1.2 litres of grape wine. Keep refrigerated to 'age' the wine. Once the wine is settled and clear, bottle it up to about 80% of the container to minimise oxidation.

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The top wine is clearer. The bottom wine will be slightly more murky as there are residue.

The following are pictures of the top wine. Very Clear, no residue.

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For winos like me, the wine is on the sweet side and alcohol content isn't enough for kicks. I would prefer it to be abit drier. Perhaps I should have used 7% of sugar or no sugar instead. The grapes were rather sweet on its own already. I tasted the wine and find it quite smooth. I'll leave it in the fridge for it to develop and see how it goes. Hopefully, it won't turn into vinegar.

*Side note : IH asked why I crush the grapes by hand one by one (yes, I did that for 2.5kg of grapes, which was rather tiring). So I suggested to use my feet instead and he could have the whole harvest to himself. It's a pity that he declined.

For your further reading to understand how things work, alcohol content and bacteria and methanol poisoning. That is why I said cleanliness IS important!

http://www.home-winemaking.com/index.html
http://www.home-winemaking.com/winemaking-2a.html
http://www.madehow.com/Volume-7/Brandy.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moonshine
http://www.sentex.net/~bacchus/faq.html
http://www.bacteriamuseum.org/niches/features/winevinegar.shtml

それじゃ~~ *hic*

5 comments:

KWF said...

Well done rei! I love the deep color of yours. I'm going to do another batch of grape wine, in preparation for my lychee wine. :D Will keep a lookout for ebony grapes, hopefully it won't burn a hole in my pocket.

If you want a higher alcohol content, I think you'll need a higher % of sugar coz sugar encourages fermentation, according to 周老师.

I've just rinsed my container with hot water (nah...I lazy, never use boiling water). Now waiting for it to dry before I harvest my strawberry wine.

Anonymous said...

wowweee....never thought it's possible to DIY your own wine! i'm VERY impressed by your efforts. the wine looks fantastic...looking at it makes me VERY THIRSTY - tania

Yuri said...

wow Rei is a happy gal again! well done. after reading your post, guess i better prepare the main jar when i get it this weekend, ensure it's properly sterilised and dried first. So, other than being sweet, taste like red wine? I like white wine, maybe i shd use green grapes eh?

Rei said...

WF : Heheh.. I am more of a whiskey person, maybe that's why no kicks. :p I grab those grapes when they were up for offer. Very timely.. ahahah.. I don't think I will up the sugar, too sweet. What do you think if I add some wine yeast? Do you think it will work?

Tania : You should try out some time. It's really interesting to watch it fermenting and bubbling? Or I am weird? Ahah..

Yuri : It does taste like red wine, but smoother. For commercial red wines, they re-introduce alcohol during production because alcohol evaporates easily. So I think this might be the problem with homemade wines. Also, wines don't really age in glass bottles. You may want to try experimenting with green grapes. Anticipates your results. :D

KWF said...

Rei, I do recall 周老师 mentioning sth abt adding wine yeast in fruit wine. But she has a little reserve. Read it here, the last section.