Winemaking Parts 1 + 2 + 3

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Winemaking Parts 1 + 2 + 3

Post: #166972 MKG
Fri Sep 04, 2009 10:45 pm

TAKING THE FEAR OUT OF WINEMAKING

Part 1 – Getting rid of the fairy stories

If I said to a fairly representative group “Take some fruit juice, squeeze some lemon juice into it, empty a bag of sugar into it, top up to about a gallon with water from the tap and then stir or shake until everything’s dissolved” then I’d witness no signs of panic, no biting of nails or gnashing of teeth. If I added “Now stick some yeast into it” I’d bet that half of my audience would start to back off. If I then complicated matters further by asking for isolation under an airlock, or further additions of grape tannin and various salts of nitrogen and potassium, an enzyme or two and a vitamin complex … well, how many of that audience would be left? Not many.

Which is a shame, of course. Lots of people want to make their own wine, but lots of people give up the idea before they even start. They read a little about the process and become overwhelmed by tales of tradition, absolute hygiene, things which can go wrong, exploding bottles, complex recipes – the list goes on. There’s only one way to deal with this – the myths, rather than the bottles, have to be exploded. Fortunately, that’s not too difficult a thing to do.

So, to begin, here’s what you actually NEED to make wine: flavoured and sweetened water, and yeast. That’s it for the ingredients. Now, something to put it in. Virtually anything will do as long as it’s clean and coverable. That’s the lot. Now you can make wine.

I could stop right there – really I could! That was six sentences which actually tell you everything you will ever need to know about winemaking. That’s how simple it is. Everything else, then, is decoration – nice to know about, but nowhere near as important as what you’ve read above. Bear that in mind. You can always walk the five miles from A to B. A bicycle makes it easier and quicker, but you don’t need one – you’d still get there – and a bicycle necessitates a pump and a helmet. A car makes it easier still, but now you have all the ancillary complications of fuel, licences, parking fees … you get the point, I’m sure.

Hidden in there is the real winemaking secret. YOU don’t make wine. YEAST makes wine. YOU must become a yeast warden. YOU must provide an environment which is yeast-friendly. The YEAST then performs all of the incredibly complex chemistry which turns your flavoured and sweetened water into wine. Now, how difficult can it be to produce a nice environment for what is, after all, a very simple fungus – and one which, as it turns out, is very difficult to kill? Yeast can be dried or frozen, or both, and still survive. It can be starved – that’ll slow it down but it won’t kill it. To kill yeast off, you have to take its environment to extremes of heat or chemical hostility which would be virtually impossible to achieve without artificial aids. It’s very, very difficult to prevent yeast from doing what yeast does.

Alright, then – what does yeast do? Once again, it’s simple. A yeast cell has very few aims in life – actually, only one. It reproduces. To do that it must nourish itself, and it does that by breaking down sugars. After extracting the tiny amount of energy needed by a single cell, it excretes the waste products – carbon dioxide and alcohol – in roughly equal amounts by weight. There’s the magic word: alcohol is the thing that you, as the yeast warden, have been working towards all of the time.

So there you go. Simply by not artificially producing conditions which yeast doesn’t like, you’re going to harvest alcohol. Much easier than growing a lettuce, believe me. It may not have escaped your notice that, apart from flavour, all of the conditions for winemaking can apparently be met by adding yeast to a straightforward solution of sugar; that is to say that wine really can be made from water. It isn’t quite as simple as that, but it’s basically true – an alcoholic drink can easily be made with no fruit additions at all, just using water straight from the tap. Now I ask you – how much easier would you want it to be?

But …

THEM THERE THINGS THAT GET IN THE WAY

It’s always the case, isn’t it? A very simple process becomes inordinately complicated by “experts”, so much so that it takes on a mystique, a murky surround of arcane knowledge, which only said “experts” can penetrate. Without those experts to interpret the secret initiations, winemaking becomes fraught with pitfalls, a scary thing to undertake. And, whichever way you look, the experts are there to intercept you and inform you of the error of your ways. The problem here, of course, is that there are several groups of winemaking experts, and not one of those groups agrees with any other group. Let’s have a quick look at the schools of thought …

THE TRADITIONALISTS

These are the people who will tell you that only the old, old recipes are any good (usually the ones which use no added yeast). Our ancestors, they tell you, spent centuries making their wine their way, and who are we to gainsay them? There’s a problem here, though. Cider, mead and ale have, indeed, been made in Britain for centuries – but we’re talking about wine. To make wine from the fruits available to the average Brit, added sugar is a necessity. But, until 1874 when Sugar Tax was abolished, sugar was simply beyond the financial reach of the great majority of people in the country. Between the 14th and mid-19th centuries, the average price of sugar ranged between the equivalents of £80 (earliest) and £10 (latest) per kilo. At that rate, it’s much cheaper to import your wine from France – which is precisely what any wine drinker then did – rather than risk a precious commodity. The modern winemaking movement began in about 1970 or so. Now, take away a few war years when sugar was mostly unavailable, and you’re left with around 86 years in which to develop this “old country” tradition.

The tradition is, I’m afraid, a complete fairy story. It never existed. Our late 19th and early 20th century forebears certainly did what they could, but most of the time they were guessing. It shows – a lot of their recipes fail and others produce terribly out-of-balance wines which have to be heavily disguised by overwhelming any faults with massive amounts of sugar. Take my advice. Read the old recipes and smile, as you would when reading the recipes from the kitchens of Henry VIII – but for goodness sake don’t even think about using them (at least, not without heavy modification).

THE PURISTS

These are the people who insist that the only true wine is one made from grapes (wrongly – there are two definitions of wine in the OED). This doesn’t mean that they disdain the making of wine from other fruits – merely that any such wine should taste as if it had been made from grapes. And it is certainly possible to achieve that. However, their recipes are amazingly complex and demanding (and usually involve the addition of at least some grape juice) – demanding enough, anyway, to frighten any beginner off to a safe distance. Take my advice again – stay well away from such recipes until you are totally comfortable with the basic stuff.

THE CHEMISTS

This set of Einsteins (OK - he was a physicist) will insist that wine cannot be made without the most scrupulous standards of hygiene and the ever-present aid of a battery of chemicals with frightening names. Well, there’s hygiene, and then there’s cleanliness, if you see what I mean. Imagine that, just before beginning your first-ever apple wine, you had to don an NBC suit-style outfit (having first washed your hands) and then undergo a thorough drenching with a bactericidal solution sprayed into every crevice of that suit. Ridiculous? Hmmm. But that’s what you’re expected to do with your ingredients and equipment. There’s certainly a degree of cleanliness which is only common sense – but there’s also a line around obsession which can easily be crossed.

The use of winemaking chemicals is a subject which creates strong discussion. There are those who wouldn’t be seen dead without their chemicals, and there are those who wouldn’t be seen dead with them. Both sets of people, though, make wine. That should be enough to tell you that you needn’t worry too much about those chemicals. We’ll deal with them at a later point but, for now, bear in mind that most of the chemicals have been commonly available for only a few decades at most – yet people made wine before then.

THE MODERNISTS

These are the culmination of all of the winemaking research which has gone on since the 1970s, and a few of them actually understand the results of all that research. Not many, though. They’re the ones who will tell you that you absolutely must degas (that’s de-gas rather than a French painter) a wine, forgetting that any wine will quite happily degas itself given enough time. They’ll also insist that fermentation temperature should be tightly controlled, forgetting that most people have a choice between the airing cupboard and the garden shed. Look around the internet – you’ll find them easily enough.


Admittedly, these sketches are mere caricatures. But I remember being a beginner and being flummoxed by contradictory advice, wildly varying recipes and over-technical methods. What it all boils down to is this …

Do you want to make your own wine? If the answer is yes, then I’m telling you that you can do so very simply and cheaply, and you can learn how to do it in a progressive and enjoyable manner, taking on more complex procedures if and when you feel the need to do so. But, to put it at its simplest, you can make wine in a bucket with hedgerow ingredients and a bag of sugar. At this moment, the cheapest sugar I can find costs 66p per kilo, and that’s enough to make a gallon of wine – or six bottles. Add in the cost of your yeast and maybe boiling a kettle and what have you got? A pleasant drink at less than 15p per bottle. This cannot be bad.



Watch out for Part 2, in which we’ll take a closer look at making a constructive mess in a bucket.
Last edited by MKG on Sat Oct 17, 2009 3:50 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Winemaking Part 1

Post: #167182 prison break fan
Mon Sep 07, 2009 4:08 pm

I'm definitely sitting in your classroom!!! pbf.

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Re: Winemaking Part 1

Post: #167225 wulf
Tue Sep 08, 2009 9:25 am

Definitely watching and waiting for part II.

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Re: Winemaking Part 1 + 2

Post: #172842 MKG
Sat Oct 17, 2009 12:10 am

Part 2 - Messing about in a bucket

Those somewhat fictitious "traditional" ancestors of ours made wine in anything they could find. Usually, they would have started it in a big bowl covered with a cloth and then finished it off in a salt-glaze earthenware pot - at which point they couldn't see it any longer. And that's the point at which things can begin to go wrong. A glass or plastic demijohn solves that problem right away, but I'm trying to prove to you that such things are not necessary for such a simple activity as fermenting a solution of sugar. So, get yourself a plastic bucket (you're going to need one anyway, even if you climb to the dizzy heights of demijohn ownership). It needs to be a food-grade bucket and, ideally, it will have a lid. But even the lid isn't necessary, as you can cover the bucket quite easily with a tea towel or a bit of wood. Having got your bucket, it needs to be cleaned. Once again, let's keep to the simplest method. Wash it with hot soapy water and then rinse it. Now, if you poured a gallon of water into the bucket and then took out a glassful, would you be prepared to drink it? If not, why not? - you've just cleaned the bucket using the method you use to clean the crockery you eat your food from. However, let's make doubly sure. Boil a kettle of water and use it to scald all of the interior surfaces of the bucket. There - now it's sterile.

So, what to put in the bucket? I think we may as well attempt to find something which uses as many of the "expert" attitudes as possible (so that none of them can complain!!!) whilst still keeping the simple method I'm insisting upon, but bearing in mind that we need to make a mess in such a manner as to keep the yeast happy and still end up with something drinkable. Right, then - a simple but traditional recipe which will go some way to satisfying the purists, the chemists and the modernists.

One of the main put-offs for beginners is the totally stain-making and highly-demanding preparation of the raw materials. Peeling and coring apples for hours on end while at the same time preventing them from browning is a pain in the bum. Strigging and crushing ten kilograms of elderberies is enough to try the patience of a saint. Picking and cleaning gallons of flower-heads means you're going to miss Match of the Day or Corrie. On the other hand, traditional flower and leaf wines are a sight less messy than any other.

Aren't we the lucky ones, then? Someone has gone to all of the trouble of picking flowers for us, and drying them and packing them into easily-handled little containers. What do you think of this as a list of ingredients? ... Hibiscus petals (not too traditional, I know, but they are flowers), blackberry and blackcurrant leaves, and rosehips. Not bad at all - all of them ingredients which can be used to make wine all by themselves. These are the ingredients of a typical box of 20 fruit tea bags available from any supermarket for a reasonable price. There's enough stuff in there to make a gallon of wine and, as it's sold as a tea, the flavour balance will be at least palatable. It's a sort of high-tech version of puddling around in your wellies gathering fresh flowers, so we've gone some way to satisfy the modernists.

OK, you now have your flavour ingredients. Now you need yeast food, which is quite simply a 1-kilo bag of sugar. Put this on the table next to the box of tea bags. No point in having yeast food, though, without yeast, so get hold of some of that and put it next to the tea bags and sugar. That's a pretty small and easily manageable pile so far.

Oh - but the yeast. You can go through this whole thing using baker's yeast if you really, really want to - it will work. It will make wine. But believe me, wine yeast will do the job that much better and, if you use general-purpose wine yeast, it's dirt cheap. Don't let's spoil the ship for a ha'porth of tar, so to speak. Get some wine yeast and, while you're at it, get some yeast nutrient (which I'll talk about in a while).

Now, are you sitting comfortably? ... ... then I'll begin.

1. Open the sugar bag and tip the contents into the bottom of the bucket.

2. Open the box of tea bags and tip the contents on top of the sugar. While you're there, squeeze the juice of half a lemon onto the sugar.

3. Boil the kettle and pour a measured two pints of hot water into the bucket.

4. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.

5. Cover the bucket any way you like (so insects can't get in) and wait for it to cool.

6. Remove the teabags, giving them a squeeze, add six pints of cold or lukewarm water, then sprinkle a level teaspoon of yeast onto the surface of the liquid. Recover the bucket and put it in a Goldilocksy warmish place - not too hot, not too cold (the kitchen should be OK as long as it doesn't approach freezing).

7. Have a look after 24 hours. There should be some signs of yeast activity - it will appear to have spread somewhat across the surface. Recover the bucket.

8. Have another look after a further 24 hours. There will now be a healthy covering of yeast and a nice yeasty cum winey smell coming from the bucket. Give it all a good stir, recover the bucket and go away.

There you have it - a mess in a bucket without having made too much mess outside the bucket. That mess, over the next week or ten days, is going to turn itself slowly and surely into wine with no more effort on your part. It will all work just as written - but it may not work perfectly.

The problem here is that yeast normally gets part of its food from the solids introduced when preparing fruit for winemaking. Of course, there's very little solid material in this recipe. The big omission, therefore, is nitrogen - which shouldn't surprise anyone who's ever grown a plant. Plants need nitrogen to grow well, and so do fungi - including yeast. But, if you've been paying close attention, you've already bought some yeast nutrient. So, amend step 6 to read ...

6. Remove the teabags, giving them a squeeze, add six pints of cold or lukewarm water and a level teaspoon of yeast nutrient. Stir to dissolve the nutrient then sprinkle a level teaspoon of yeast onto the surface of the liquid. Recover the bucket.

I left this out of the original step because, as I said, it will work without it - but the fermentation may stop before all of the sugar has been used up (and so at a lower concentration of alcohol). Without the nitrogen, the yeast may simply run out of puff. Another reason I left it out is because a lot of people don't like using yeast nutrient on the grounds that it's a chemical additive.

They're correct - it is. My argument, which you are at liberty to accept or reject, is that it's a chemical additive which, apart from increasing the efficiency of the fermentation, leaves behind only the equivalent of trace elements which are found in garden compost. Let's take a quick look.

Yeast nutrient, in its most available form, is a chemical called di-ammonium phosphate, a name which is in itself enough to scare anyone away. In case you're interested, that's (NH4)2PO4. The numbers should be subscripted, but I can't do that in a text-only document. So, it's a compound of ammonia (that's the NH4), and phosphate (PO4). Yeast, having an M.Sc. in chemistry, immediately sets about breaking this up to obtain the nitrogen (that's the N part of ammonia) and it releases the H part as useless. The H part is, in fact, hydrogen, and will bubble its way right out of the bucket together with the carbon dioxide which the yeast is also busy producing. That leaves the phosphate part which, on being separated from the ammonia, immediately recombines with just about anything else it can find to form a harmless compound, loads of which can be found (and is desirable) in soil, compost, and any garden fertiliser. To my mind, this is not an unfriendly chemical. You must, of course, come to your own decision. Right - that's the chemists satisfied.

Discussion over - back to the wine. While it has been fermenting away, if you remember from Part 1, it has been producing equal weights of alcohol and carbon dioxide. By the time the sugar is used up, therefore, there will be, theoretically, a half-kilo of alcohol in the gallon of water you added, and a half-kilo of carbon dioxide will have been given off as bubbles. That is an awful lot of gas, and it serves a useful purpose. It's heavier than air and so sits on top of the developing wine. No bacteria will grow within a carbon dioxide atmosphere, so your wine is protected against infection. It will also kill any insects which might fall in, but that's shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted - you don't want them in there in the first place. Hence the covering of the bucket.

But the carbon dioxide does something else. The yeast has multiplied hugely from the level teaspoonful you originally put in there. There are literally millions of yeast cells in a fermenting gallon of wine. And all of them are producing little bubbles of carbon dioxide which rise to the surface, taking the yeast cells with them. Then the bubbles burst and the yeast cells sink until they develop the next bubbles, then up they go again ...

The net result is that the lovely clear, red liquid you started with becomes opaque because, try as you might, you simply cannot see through a few million yeast cells. Eventually, though, the sugar runs out and the yeast can no longer produce carbon dioxide. All the cells sink to the bottom and stay there, leaving a clear liquid above them. And that is the signal to you that your fermentation is complete, because you can see all of this happening in the bucket - if you've been taking the lid off and having a look once a day or so.

What you have just made is a very light-bodied pale red wine with an alcohol content of about 11% by volume (i.e. just a little over a tenth of the liquid is alcohol). Because it is light-bodied and because there is no appreciable amount of tannin in there and because of loads of other reasons, the wine is as good as it's ever going to get. There's no great point in maturing it. It will keep for a year, but there's no point in waiting that long. It's a very acceptable wine as long as you're not expecting a great claret, and will certainly make you giggly if you drink a glass or three.

But it's still in the bucket and there is a layer of inactive yeast cells at the bottom of that bucket which, if you're not careful, will swirl upwards and make the wine cloudy again. Now you have the job of getting the wine off the lees (that being the technical term for the residue at the bottom). A sieve will not remove the residue - yeast cells are microscopically small and will go straight through a sieve. You have several choices. You can carefully dip the liquid out using a jug. You can try to gently pour it off. Or you can syphon it off with a plastic tube. Whichever method you choose, you will NEVER be able to recover all of the liquid, so don't try (if you do get a bit of the residue, don't worry too much - it's only yeast and a very good source of vitamin B. Note that for later, by the way - it's only yeast).

But what are you going to put the wine into? I wouldn't recommend glass bottles at this stage - that wine may still be fermenting just a little bit and could pressurise the bottles. At this stage, the best thing would be the PET bottles which come wrapped around Coke or lemonade. They can take quite a bit of pressure, you can always release any gas by unscrewing the cap slightly, and the wine isn't going to stay in there very long anyway.

Et voila - wine. Now you have to taste it. You may think it too dry. There's a way around that. You may think it far too weedy in body. There's a way around that. You may think it low in alcohol - there are several ways around that. You may think the flavour too thin and un-wine-like. There are ways around that, too.

So, that's Part 3 - how to cheat at winemaking. Plus, probably in Part 4, some ways to make the whole process easier still. So, start looking for a demijohn or two - but don't lose sight of the fact that you've just made wine with no special equipment apart from that bucket.
Last edited by MKG on Mon Oct 19, 2009 10:59 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Winemaking Parts 1 + 2

Post: #172843 MKG
Sat Oct 17, 2009 3:48 am

Part 3 - Cheating and improving

The wine you made in Part 2 is by no means great. It's OKish, but it has lots of faults. Think for a moment about drinking a reasonably good wine made from grapes. What are your impressions? There's a certain indefinable "feel" in the mouth, a sort of viscosity which your new wine doesn't have. There's also a warming effect as you swallow the grape wine which you probably don't feel with the new wine. And there's an astringency - a drying of the mouth - which you almost certainly won't feel with the new wine. In fact, drinking the new wine will probably be more reminiscent of drinking a well-diluted cordial - not unpleasant, but not very wine-like.

Well, let's correct some of those faults by cheating. I'm not suggesting that this is always the way to go - but learn the cheats because they're always handy. Most non-grape wines will benefit from a bit of adjustment.

So, let's deal with the faults one at a time.

What about that "feel" in the mouth? Where does that come from? Well, it's that strange thing which wine afficionados call "body". No-one has yet successfully defined what that is, nor exactly how to achieve it. Some say that it depends upon the amount of fruit used to make the wine. Others insist that it is a result of the alcohol content of the wine. Still others confidently claim that it is a characteristic solely of grape wines. It's most probably a combination of all of those things and others I haven't mentioned, but the only important point is that the new wine doesn't have it. So let's give it some body.

We can't go back and add more fruit for body because the wine is already made. But we can take a hint from a wine which probably has more body than any other - Sauternes. For those of you who've never tasted it, it's an extremely sweet wine (usually treated as a dessert wine, although I think that's wrong) which gives you the feeling that you're actually drinking a very well-flavoured oil. This stuff crawls around your mouth. The interesting point as far as we're concerned is that Sauternes is made from grapes which have been infected with a fungus which dries them out almost to raisin standard (that's Botrytis for you). It's said that this concentrates the sugars to such a degree that this sweet, viscous wine is the natural result - but if that was the case, then it should be reproducible merely by using more sugar to make a wine. You can try that, but it doesn't give you a Sauterne. So the Botrytis infection does something else. What WILL give you a Sauterne-like wine is a trick of yeast chemistry called "bending the Krebbs cycle", but we don't want to go deeply into that at this point. Suffice it to say that the result of this trick is to force yeast to increase its production of a substance called glycerol - very similar, if not identical, to the glycerine you can buy in the supermarket. In Sauterne at least, it's the glycerol which provides that heavy body - so will supermarket glycerine give a similar effect? The answer is a resounding yes.

What you need to do, then, is add glycerine a little at a time (say, a teaspoon to start, followed by half-teaspoons) to your gallon of wine, tasting it after every addition, until you begin to recognise a change in the feel of the wine in your mouth (don't forget to gently stir it in, by the way). Stop at that point - adding glycerine is OK, but it won't perform miracles. One of the extra benefits is that the glycerine will sweeten the wine slightly. I know some people like their wines dry, but an absolutely dry wine is not very pleasant.

Now you should have a wine which feels right, but doesn't yet taste right or warm your gullet. We'll attack warming next, then. The impression of warming is produced by alcohol. It's as simple as that. So, you could get that effect by adding a slug or two of vodka to your wine. However, that rather defeats the object. You need to con your body into thinking there's more alcohol there. Now what can you think of which produces a warming effect on the tissues of your mouth and throat? Any curry fans out there? Chilli will do the job very efficiently - chilli essence to be precise. Add that a drop at a time (stirring once again) until you JUST - and only just - begin to recognise a change.

Time for that astringency - a characteristic produced by tannin, which is remarkably low in the fruit tea-bag wine. You could, if you wanted to, go out and buy some grape tannin, or even some oak chips. Adding those to your wine and leaving it alone for a while will certainly increase the tannin levels. But there is another way to do it (and here I can see the wine buffs swooning in complete disgust) which is altogether cheaper and easier. Tea - ordinary tea. In fact a tea bag - but this time a real one. Tea is high in tannin, as you'll know if you've ever let tea brew for too long - it begins to turn your mouth furry. That's tannin. So make a cup of tea from a tea bag and allow it to carry on brewing for much longer than normal. In fact, let it go cold. Add a quarter cup of that to your wine, following the usual procedure of tasting and adding more if necessary, until you JUST begin to register the effect but not the taste. Now you have viscosity, warming and astringency.

Nearly there. Now, IF NECESSARY, for a bit more flavour. You should be getting into this conning game by now, so if you've already thought of adding a cordial, well done. Which cordial to add would depend upon what ingredients were in the fruit tea bags, but blackcurrant works surprisingly well in most cases. But here you have to be very careful. What you DO NOT want is to add so much cordial that its flavour takes over. Once again, it's a matter of adding a little at a time until you recognise the smallest change in the flavour of the wine. Leave it at that point.

That's it - you have now improved your wine about as far as it will go, and there will be a world of difference between what you started with and the finished product. There will also be appreciably less wine - welcome to the fun world of winemaking.

There are no guarantees, by the way. Following this method may result, if you overdo any part of it, in a gallon of rubbish. But the whole point is that it's cheap and the practice is good. You may take to it right away, or it may take you a couple of attempts - but sooner or later you'll get the hang of the adjustments and you'll at least have had a lot of fun in the attempts. Don't get all discouraged if you have a failure - just think about what may have gone wrong and avoid that next time.

Note that not all of the adjustments need be made to all home-made wines. Indeed, once you're into the full swing of things, you'll only rarely need to adjust anything.

The really observant amongst you will no doubt already be asking questions - like "Why didn't we add that tea bag at the outset?" and "Why not get more alcohol to begin with rather than con my taste buds later?" They're good questions, and deserve good answers - in Part 4.
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Re: Winemaking Parts 1 + 2 + 3

Post: #173055 wulf
Mon Oct 19, 2009 9:01 am

How warm does it need to be? What about light? I'm definitely considering trying this but will need to find a suitable place to put the bucket.

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Re: Winemaking Parts 1 + 2 + 3

Post: #173070 MKG
Mon Oct 19, 2009 11:05 am

Good point, Wulf - I've amended Part 2 accordingly. Light doesn't matter at all for fermentation - yeast doesn't care. Finished wines are better stored in places which don't get direct sunlight (or reds fade and whites go brown). As far as temperature goes, all you need is somewhere reasonably comfortable - it's difficult to be more precise. If the temperature goes above 60 degrees Celsius, you'll kill the yeast - but then you wouldn't be very healthy either. If the temperature falls too low fermentation will stop, but the yeast will survive and restart as soon as the temperature rises again. Between those two extremes is a sliding scale of fermentation speed - the warmer the faster. On the other hand, fast fermentations are not too desirable. Long, slow fermentations appear to produce much finer flavours in wine. The best guide is probably - if you would be comfortable, then so will the yeast be.

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Re: Winemaking Parts 1 + 2 + 3

Post: #176235 A&A
Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:51 pm

Wow - many, many thanks for all that work. You've definitely convinced me to have a go - something I've fancied for a long time but never thought I had the time. Hmmm...what to start with ;)
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Re: Winemaking Parts 1 + 2 + 3

Post: #176410 mamos
Tue Nov 10, 2009 9:49 pm

Absolutely fascinating. Thank you very much for that.

I don't drink wine really but I do drink real ale

Any chance of a similar article on brewing

If you want any illustrations doing I would be happy to oblige

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Re: Winemaking Parts 1 + 2 + 3

Post: #176412 prison break fan
Tue Nov 10, 2009 10:15 pm

Doing my best to keep up MKG, could you please write a bit slower? pbf.

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Re: Winemaking Parts 1 + 2 + 3

Post: #176415 spitfire
Tue Nov 10, 2009 11:20 pm

MKG, could we add raisins when we add the tea bags? would that trick the yeast? or mangos which are very high in sugar?
WHEN MY IRISH EYES ARE SMILING I'M USUALLY UP TO SOMETHING!!!
NEVER REGRET THAT WHICH ONCE MADE YOU SMILE.

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Re: Winemaking Parts 1 + 2 + 3

Post: #176936 Gert
Fri Nov 13, 2009 12:57 pm

Cheers Mike. Well written :cheers:

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Re: Winemaking Parts 1 + 2 + 3

Post: #176944 grahamhobbs
Fri Nov 13, 2009 1:36 pm

MKG - frightening but fascinating,,,hanging on every word

I'm only used to harvesting a load of grapes in autumn, crushing them a bit, putting them in a big open barrel, leaving for 3 weeks, draining off and putting in another old (closed) barrel in an old cellar...waiting until spring and then drinking at leisure.

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Re: Winemaking Parts 1 + 2 + 3

Post: #179248 Gert
Wed Dec 02, 2009 3:18 pm

Thanks for this Mike , I now have three wines on the go all bubbling away nicely. Cheers :mrgreen:

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Re: Winemaking Parts 1 + 2 + 3

Post: #185052 kit-e-kate
Tue Jan 26, 2010 12:37 pm

Yipee! I've got my first batch of wine on the go! Thanks MKG! Very inspirational! :icon_smile:


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