Step-by-step Guide to Winemaking

The gathering

Wine can be made from certain flowers, leaves, herbs, cereals and vegetables, as well as from grapes and other fruit.

Flowers should be gathered in sunshine when the florets are fully open. Leaves should be gathered while young and lender, herbs are gathered at different times depending on whether you are using the flower (when fully out), the leaves (just before the flowering or the roots (when the plant is dormant). Cereals are used when the grains are harvested and vegetables, as soon as the maincrop is mature. Fruits are best gathered when just ripe rather than over-ripe.

The preparation

Remove flower petals from their stem and calyx avoiding every trace of green which imparts a bitter taste to the wine. Pour boiling water over them and rub them against the side of a bowl with the back of a wooden spoon in order to extract the fragrant essences. Cover the vessel and leave for two days, repeating the rubbing twice a day. Press the flowers and strain, using only the flavoured water. Similarly with leaves, e.g. vine prunings. Wash and chop them as small as you reasonably can, pour on boiling water and treat the same as for flower petals.

Vegetables must be washed and scrubbed free from every trace of soil, or dust, cut into dice sized pieces and boiled until tender. The liquor is strained off and used for wine, the vegetable may be eaten or discarded.

Fresh fruits must be washed free from dust, hairs, insects, etc., detached from their stalks and have their stones removed and discarded, before the flesh is crushed. Care must be taken to avoid oxidation (browning) by leaving cut or crushed fruit exposed to the air. Immerse the fruit in a sulphite solution (one Campden tablet per 4.5 litres/1 gallon) without delay. Similarly, frozen fruit is best emptied into a sulphite solution in which to thaw. Having been frozen the fruit will crush easily between linger and thumb when defrosted. Dried fruit should be washed clean in a sulphite solution and then chopped and added to the must, fruits with skins, e.g. bananas and oranges, need different treatment. Banana skins should at least be speckled and may be dark brown all over before being used. When peeled, the fruit will be seen to be very ripe and ready for mashing and adding to a must. Oranges, lemons and grapefruit, should just be wiped over with a sulphited cloth or tissue and then very thinly pared, removing only the coloured layer and avoiding all the white pith. This is not only very pectinous but also very bitter and imparts a most unpleasant taste to the wine. The parings should be chopped line and added to the must. The fruit should be cut in half, the juice expressed on a glass pyramid and strained through a nylon sieve into the must. The pithy hulk should be discarded.

Bottles, cans or cartons of fruit juice need only be diluted but it is important to ensure that you use natural, unsweetened fruit juice, if you want to make a dry wine.

Assembling the must

Flower water, vegetable water and diluted fruit juice may be sweetened with sugar and poured into a fermentation jar containing the acid, tannin, concentrated grape juice and yeast. Fit the fermentation lock and set the jar in a warm position.

Fruits are best fermented on their pulp for a few days. For white wines, begin by placing the crushed fruit in a polythene bin containing cold water, pectic enzyme, acid and one Campden tablet per 4.5 litres/1 gallon of finished wine. Sultanas or concentrated white grape juice should be added to improve the vinosity of the finished wine. Fruits for red wine should be crushed, added to water and slowly heated to 80°C/176° F and maintained at this temperature for 15 minutes. The fruit should not be boiled and the temperature and time mentioned should not be exeeeded. Otherwise the flavour may be impaired. Keep the vessel covered and cool ii as quickly as possible. Strain out and press the fruit until dry and use only the juice to make the wine.

Alternatively, pour boiling water over the crushed fruit to assist in the extraction of colour and when cool add raisins or concentrated red grape juice, acid, tannin, nutrient, pectic enzyme and one crushed Campden tablet per 4.5 litres/1 gallon of finished wine. Cover and leave for 24 hours before adding the yeast and nutrient.

How much sugar?

Dry table wines should not be too strong in alcohol which means that the sugar content of the must should not be very great. There is a variable quantity of natural sugar in fruit and this must be taken into account when calculating how much more to add. The recipes in this **book** provide for an average quantity but the actual quantity could be more or less. A fairly accurate guide can be obtained by cheeking the specific gravity ol” the must before adding the yeast.

Remove a jugful of pulp and juice, pour it through a strainer and press the pulp. Measure the gravity of the juice by floating a hydrometer in it. Compare the reading with the following table and add only sufficient sugar to increase the reading to that required, I.e. about 1-090 for a red wine and 1.080 for a white.

For example, if the reading is 1.070 and 1.090 is required then add the amount of sugar represented by the difference, ie. 1.070 = 780g/1 lb 11-½oz and 1.090 = 992g/2 lb 3oz. The difference between 1.070 and 1.090 is. Therefore, 212g/7-1/2oz. Sultanas and raisins and concentrated grape juice, all contain sugar and as a rule of thumb you can allow that 255g/9oz of grape concentrate is equal to 170 g/6oz sugar.

Pulp and jar fermentation

When the yeast is added and fermentation begins, the fruit pulp will be lifted up out of the water by the gas and must be pressed down twice a day to keep it moist. Alter three or four days (five or six for apples and pears) the fruit should be strained out and pressed dry. This is best done through a nylon straining bag into a sterilized bucket. Allow as much juice to drain as possible before starting to twist the neck of the bag and exerting pressure on the pulp. From time to time stir up the pulp and continue pressing until the pulp is dry. The same principles apply even if you use a small fruit press.

The pulp max now be discarded and the sugar stirred into the juice. The must should be poured into a fermentation jar, a bung and airlock fitted and fermentation continued in the same way as described for a concentrate wine. Red wines lend to be best when fermented at around 20°C/68°F but while wines may be fermented at around 15°C/59°F to retain a delicacy of flavour.

14. November 2011 by admin
Categories: Introduction, Recipes, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Step-by-step Guide to Winemaking

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