Sunday, August 26, 2012

Bennington Suburban Vineyard Part 1- Crush

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about how, 4 years after we planted them, our grapevines had finally produced enough Cabernet Franc grapes to make a decent amount of wine...and how Jeremy had made and judged wine long ago in a previous life and how he was geeeking out about it all over again.

So I guess technically that is 'part 1' in our wine making chapter for this year...growth and vine care (I'm thinking there's got to by some theological symbolism in there; John 15). And finally after testing the sugar level for a few weeks, Jeremy declared it time to harvest.

We did that yesterday. And by we, I mean I helped for a few hours and then split town with the kids to go to Mark's birthday party. So it was mostly Jeremy. And today...his back hurts

We started the day by 'racking' his previous batch of wine from the plastic tub to the glass carboid, meaning it was done with primary fermentation, done being stirred and tested, and ready for the long rest in the glass. This was from the juice that Jeremy had purchased from a wine store, in attempt to re-hone his skills.

So if you want to do this without the pain and mess of growing  your own grapes, buy a big jug of grape juice!

I had my camera set to the 'super vivid' setting that I recently discovered, which worked out so perfectly for the outdoor pictures. A little heavy on the saturation color of people's skin....but overall a very nice affect.

Some of these are downright frameable.

We filled this two gallon bucket 11 times.

Tessa helped a little but really wanted to return to her Saturday morning cartoon watching. Kindergarten is tiring, you know. Charley found a neighbor to run around with.

I did this for a long time. The  grape must (or juice with seeds and skins on) can have no stems or leaves or rotten/green/crusty berries in it so we picked them off one by one. This was more than a little tedious (says the lady who skipped town after three hours).

Doesn't everyone have Lego guys mixed in with their wine making supplies?

Pick pick pick. Then sanitize in a sulfur cocktail. Then little by little, we smushed them with a potato masher.

You'd be surpised how much elbow grease it takes to get this much must. This is what red wine looks like in the beginning. The skins will give the juice it's dark color and tannins, then be filtered out later. If it were white wine, it would ferment with no skins.

Yes I took a wine class at Purdue, people.

Oooh...trippy fish eye grapes.

In the end we had 9 gallons of must with Jeremy thinks will make 2-3 cases of wine. Today he played mad scientist and added his yeast mixtures which made the must expand in the container and also begin that interesting fermentation smell.

Every day we have to 'punch the cap' 3 times (meaning push down the floating skins so air can get in). And when primary fermenation is done, this too with be tranferred to a glass carboid with a bubbler on top to release gasses created by the yeasty chemistry inside.

Punching the cap always reminds me of when Jeremy did this in college. I actually stopped by his apartment more than once to punch the cap when he was too busy to do it himself. That's love, people.

Until the next step...we wait!

1 comment:

Love, Strength, Hope said...

Fun, fun, fun!! But, I want to see you barefoot and stomping those grapes!!!