Wow. Another batch of wine in, what, 2 months? I guess it’s pretty addictive – not unlike chickens, knitting and, well, wine.
So, the plum wine is just sitting there in the basement, being wine, and mellowing. It is still very cloudy and looks, as my observant sister pointed out, like vomit. The main issue with that wine is that the plums have a high pectin content, which causes cloudiness, and if it doesn’t disappear within 4 months or so I am going to try and add something to clarify it.
I started the gooseberry wine about a week and a half ago. It’s a recipe for a one gallon batch (I don’t have the actual recipe on me at the moment) and I fermented the whole thing in a 2 gallon crock. This time I put all of the fruit into a cotton bag – thank freaking god. If anyone who reads these words can glean anything useful to carry with them into future endeavors, whatever they may be, let it be this: use a freaking bag. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times (I don’t actually get that saying, but what the hay) – use a bag with fruit wine, people. It literally caused the pulp removal experience to escalate from horridly annoying to very pleasant indeed. Below is a snapshot (albeit blurry) of the bag with the goods sitting in the crock surrounded by all the winey goodness. Oh, winey goodness!
And here is a snapshot (yes, blurry) of the hydrometer reading. I have yet to figure out exactly what I’m doing with this thing – but I thought I’d add this photo in anyway. The reading is 1.050. Feel free to tell me what that means. Water is 1.0 – I think – and the higher the number supposedly the more alcohol? But not really cause dry wine has a lower reading than 1.0 cause alcohol is lighter than water – god I don’t know. It’s pretty confusing. What you’re really supposed to do is do a reading before the fermentation starts and then one at the end and it’s supposed to tell you the total alcohol content of the brew. I don’t know what I’m doing with this thing. All I know is it smells like alcohol – but is still quite sweet – which is cool cause the plum wine wound up really really dry. I had to add two batches of plum juice to sweeten in a bit and I don’t really know how much sweeter it made it. I haven’t tried it yet.
And HERE is the racking process IN ACTION! It takes a talented winemaker/photographer to capture the racking process as it is happening. Mainly cause you have to hold onto the siphon hose and keep it elevated and whatnot. Anyway – one end of the hose is in the crock (not touching the bottom cause there is sediment down there – dead yeasts) and I put the other end of the hose in my mouth and suck – thanking god that it’s not gasoline – and as soon as it gets close to my mouth (or in my mouth) I put the hose in the gallon jug. There was almost a quart of wine left over when the jug was full so I put it into a quart jar with a cloth tied on so that it will settle and I can use it to top off the gallon jug if need be.
And then OUA LA! The most beautiful wine I have ever seen in my life! It looks like Kool-Aid – but without all the red #12 and with lots of alky-hol! Yay! I tried it and it is still quite sweet and winey tasting and I cannot wait until this one is done. It’s my favorite so far. But next! Blackberry wine! I am going to start that tomorrow – especially since it is going to be 90 degrees tomorrow and in the 80s after that – so the fermentation will really get going. This is all so exciting!