Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fall is in the air!

And happily bubbling away in the basement. No, really. Last Sunday we picked about 20lbs of wild grapes from the fenceline in my back yard:

Sorted and rinsed to remove bugs, green grapes, wrinkled grapes, and all other nasty bits:

The fun part - mashing the wild grapes for juice and pulp, leaving the seeds and skins behind. What a mess!

Throw the juice, 12lbs of sugar, one Campden sulfite tablet, and the balance of water into the primary fermenter, and give it a good stir. Note the gorgeous purple color of my wooden stirring spoon!

The next morning, the yeast got thrown in there, the lid was attached, and the airlock installed. It began burping almost immediately as the yeast chowed down on the sweet stuff and reproduced at a prodigious rate. Now when the must gets stirred twice a day, I cannot feel any undissolved sugar in the bottom of the fermenter - so they must be doing their job. The bouquet released into the air when I open the lid to stir the batch? Absolutely unbelievable!

Next up, 20lbs of fresh Concord grapes from my dad's farm. I've already mashed them, and the liquid looks like it'll make something closer to a blush than a red. That's fine, I'm willing to give it a try, too. I also have fresh elderberries and plums ready for their turn in the fermenters...

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