Thursday, November 12, 2009

Grape wine, step 2

When I went to check the water for the air lock on the carboy of grape wine last week, I realized it wasn't bubbling very much. Means it's time to siphon the in-process wine out and throw away the grapes and any sediment that remaining in the carboy.

Saturday morning DH set the carboy on the kitchen worktable and I set a large stainless steel pot on the floor beside the table. DH removed the airlock cap and ran one end of a piece of 1/2-inch tubing into the carboy, below the level of the floating grapes, with the other end hanging off the table into the pot. It's like siphoning gas except it's okay if you get a little in your mouth. Matter of fact, it's a good thing because it's an excuse to taste the wine and see if it's coming along as it should.

In this case, the answer was yes! It's robust and fruity. If nothing happens to alter its progress, I think it will be pretty good when it's ready to bottle in a few more months. For now, though, DH hefted the carboy upside down and poured (shook?) the grapes out, then I rinsed the carboy and we returned the wine to the jug and put the airlock back in place.

I'd been afraid that making it from the whole grapes instead of using juice would mean a real mess when it came time to do this step -- removing the grapes through the small neck opening on the carboy. But the grapes were mostly firm, solid globes and poured out without a fuss.

I almost felt wasteful throwing them in the compost as the chickens love grapes but the alcohol level in one grape (all I tasted) would have knocked a little red hen on her butt. Maybe pigs would be okay with a small batch like this but we won't have any till early next year. The dregs of the next wine fruit can go to them as DH is already talking about what we should try next because, unlike with the beer we usually make, we can grow and/or pick all the base ourselves.


sue said...

Very cool, Carolyn! I always thought it sounded complicated, but your description makes it sound not so bad, and downright interesting. I can almost taste it from your description. Tell you what--send those grapes my way--I could use a few right now. ;))

Carolyn said...

You know, after pouring the grapes into the compost I wished I'd tried freezing some. Regular grapes, frozen, are a nice treat when it's hot and now I'm imagining how good frozen alcoholic grapes could be...

If a package shows up on your doorstep one day next fall, leaking puffs of smoke, don't panic. It's just some winey grapes and a little dry ice. ;)