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Mmmm. Smells Like Wine So Far.

The record rainfall this year took its toll on the garden. We harvested some stuff but not near as much as usual. Nobody's garden did well this year.

But our grapes - they went crazy. After three years of training our vines, from seedlings, they produced incredibly this year for the first time.

So, not wanting to see them go to waste, BMD was forced to take up a little wine making for the first time.

After days of researching, I spent three hours last week Sunday sorting through each bunch, crushing them, and running around town hunting down every do-it-yourself thing I needed to convert four gallons of crushed grapes into hopefully, a few good hangovers at least.

Even hit the pet store for a hydrometer. (was the only place local that had one) Not quite enough scale on it, but enough to at least figure out how much sugar they contained off the vines and how much more to add for the standard 12% alcohol potential.

I have some fresh cut white oak ready to char to add a little barrel flavor when I start racking and clearing it next week.

Sure smells awesome right now after almost a week of primary fermentation so far. It's going to be a long couple months waiting to see how it comes out.

I didn't get any pics of the grapes while ripe, but there are a few from early this season when they were still green.

Click Next to see pics.

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haha, when I read that you

haha, when I read that you ran to the pet store to grab your hydrometer, I was trying to imagine what you were fermenting with and whatnot as it sounds like there aren't any brewing shops close to you. love the mason jar blowoff. is it liquor in the jar?

bigmikedude's picture

Just saw your comment.

Haven't looked at this thread in a while. No, no brewing shops conveniently close.

Just water in the airlock jar.

Bumping...

To find out if the lid stayed on last night? Lol. I was going to ask you Mike, What is your water source there? Spring? well? if a well how deep?

If I disappear from a discussion please forgive me. My 24-7 business requires me to split mid-sentence to serve them. I am not ducking out, I will be back later to catch up.

bigmikedude's picture

It's in the carboy jug now True.

The primary ferment is finished, (the most active phase). It is in secondary now, (light steady activity) so the airlock plug on the carboy is in no danger. Lol

I believe it's basically - let it sit for a couple weeks now until fermentation ceases. Then de-gas and begin racking. But I have to research that some more. There seems to be numerous methods practiced from here, so I imagine I'll have to pick one and go with it.

Our well is absolutely excellent quality water. Best well I ever had. I love it. Sediment is negligible. I don't even use a sediment or charcoal filter. There is some sediment built up in the bladder tank I discovered when one of the trees fell on the well and I had to re-pipe it all after a tornado experience (F1) this spring, but it took many years for that much to get there. You would have to let the sinks and toilets go maybe almost a month and a half or maybe even two, to even begin to discolor slightly.

It has no odor and tastes like bottled spring water right out of the tap. Being at 1800 ft, I understand the well is about 500 ft deep, and around here, it's pretty much certainly very little casing and likely the majority through solid rock which is an excellent filter. Not to mention the mountains are loaded with springs, so I assume much of our well water is probably fed by springs seeping through the rock into the well somewhere in that 500 ft. It has to be, because even in dry years, I have run the hose wide open for maybe an hour or two to irrigate and fill 140 feet worth of 6 inch deep ditches for the pumpkins, and never managed to run it empty. I'm not saying it can't be done, but so far I haven't done it.

Sorry Mike

I forgot it was in the secondary, Not quite awake yet,lol. We are also fortunate with our water, ours is also 500 ft but the static level is about 380. We too could bottle it and sell it right out of the ground. I asked because I wanted to turn you on to a very cool new pump produced by Grundfos.

For a long time DC (Solar) submersible pumps could only draw from about 200 ft. My friend just put in an AC/DC submersible made by Grundfos that is pulling from a static level of about 550 ft! I am trying to locate the part number but it would be a great future investment.

I'm going to drop one in mine too. It will pay for it's self in two years and give me free water after that. It runs on 220 AC or Serial voltage DC. He is doing well with his on only 6-85 watt solar panels! I will get back to you with a link as soon as I find it again. Food for thought Mike.

If I disappear from a discussion please forgive me. My 24-7 business requires me to split mid-sentence to serve them. I am not ducking out, I will be back later to catch up.

Beautiful place

you have Mike. I read your comment about hearing all the bees buzzing in your yard... so full of life. I can see why you find the whole process fulfilling.

I'm a brewer

And something I didn't see mentioned is oxygenation. This is extremely important prior to pitching the yeast. A simple fish pump, inline micron filter, and disposable air stone will do. Good luck :).

bigmikedude's picture

I strained and transferred it to a carboy today

It's still bubbling steadily. I figured all the mashing and pouring should have sufficiently oxygenated it to get it started in primary. It took off, really good too. Enough to crack the bucket lid between every clip tab on day two even with the vented airlock jar. Perhaps because I gradually acclimated the yeast to stronger and stronger concentrations of the must for about eight hours before pitching it? I don't know. I did that because I chose not to add any yeast nutrient either and it seems to be going like a champ.

I had read in a few places that over-oxygenation can produce negative effects, but then I've seen contradictory information too, and I'm not exactly trying for vintage Dom Perignon to be scrutinized by a taste-testing panel either. Lol. A bottle with some flavor to pass around with friends, take a few slugs off of, maybe enjoy a few glasses of around the house and catch a buzz will do.

Here's a few links I could re-track down related:

http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/problems.asp

http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/secondary.asp

I'll try it sometime though anyway. There is so much info on brewing and fermenting, agreeing, and contradictory, that it almost seems when you find something that makes something good - go with it.

Purging the secondary

With CO2 is good advice.

I don't think you want to "oxygenate" your wine.

That's the whole point of having the air lock is to keep oxygen out.

Airlocks allow CO2

To escape while keeping nasties (bacteria, mold spores) within ambient air out.

You might like this - John Cleese' Wine for the Confused:

Just a short clip from this great program:

http://youtu.be/67hGHnml2WE

It was probably the pandas.

This really

looks fun. You've inspired me to try it. This looks pretty good, sparkling pineapple http://youtu.be/ItoXPIlfIPw

When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign: that the dunces are all in confederacy against him. ~J. Swift

bigmikedude's picture

I'll tell you Betty

After this first time, I'm sure I'll be visiting a wine making accessory store and massively expanding my inventory of equipment for simplifying the process.

When you grow what you make stuff out of, it makes it far more more fulfilling, much more desirable to do, and it seems it could be habit forming. Lol Not to mention a great way to utilize surplus.

So that leaves the apples, persimmons, watermelons, cantaloupes, cucumbers, blackberries, raspberries.... All kinds of stuff to try. Although I do like pineapple ; )

I had some homemade dandelion wine 20 years ago in southern Ohio. The guy is long dead now that made it. Now that I have this down, I'm on a mission. I never was big on wine. But for never being a wine drinker, the homemade dandelion wine I had, I've thought of ever since.

I'll be picking lots of lawns clean. Lol

"Although I do like pineapple"

Had share this with you Mike. Making a citrus brew is kind of hard because of the acid. But I had a friend that used to make what he called "Orange mead" from orange juice and honey. I am thinking this could be done just as well with Pineapple juice. I will try to latch it down for you in case you want to try it. I like Pineapple too and might try it myself, the temp is getting right here to start brewing.

If I disappear from a discussion please forgive me. My 24-7 business requires me to split mid-sentence to serve them. I am not ducking out, I will be back later to catch up.

bigmikedude's picture

I will try some pineapples at some point.

I do like pineapple.

As for temperature, I converted a block bathroom in our basement to what I originally intended to be a root cellar. To my dismay, instead of the ideal 50 - 55 degrees, It maintains between 62 and 73 degrees year round if I don't open the venting system. In winter though, opening the vent system will cool it down a little bit more if needed.

It turns out, it's not the ideal temp for storage other than home canned stuff, but it's a brewers heaven temperature year round.

Well Mike...

I checked it out and it looks you make it just the same as any other wine. May have to add a little more sugar or honey. They do suggest a good wine yeast. You are so lucky to have a cellar!. It is so hot out here that even with the cooler on it only gets down to about 85 here in the coach when it is 118 outside. so we have to wait for cooler weather before brewing again. Thank you again Mike.

If I disappear from a discussion please forgive me. My 24-7 business requires me to split mid-sentence to serve them. I am not ducking out, I will be back later to catch up.

BMD

Hey the pictures look like close to my Mom's place. Any chance you are in Blount or Knox Counties??? Mom's had over 75 inches this year in Cold Springs community

I prefer a dangerous freedom over a peaceful slavery. Thomas Jefferson

Did you crush them

with your feet?

(smiling)

Yum...I greatly appreciate a fine glass of wine. Good for you.
White or red?

I just planted my fall vegetable garden today. Here's hoping.

The law cannot make a wicked person virtuous…God’s grace alone can accomplish such a thing.
Ron Paul - The Revolution

Setting a good example is a far better way to spread ideals than through force of arms. Ron Paul

bigmikedude's picture

Lol, I thought about doing that, just to be able to say I have.

I used a potato masher and did a few at a time in a 4 quart stainless pot then poured them in the bucket.

Good luck on your fall garden. I assume you're doing cold crops, like lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach and stuff? After the year of rain hell we had this year, I'll wait until next year for any further gardening.

Check out Big Mike's backyard!

Unbelievable! No alleys or dumpsters here!

If I disappear from a discussion please forgive me. My 24-7 business requires me to split mid-sentence to serve them. I am not ducking out, I will be back later to catch up.

Michael Nystrom's picture

Or affordable housing complexes towers

Awesome!

Hey Mike, how about starting some bee hives out there for me? I don't have the space at the moment. lol

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance. - Alan Watts
bigmikedude's picture

Actually guys,

That's the front yard. The back yard is all woods and squirrel nests. Lol

I have thought about bee hives. Not so much for pollination but for occasional honey and combs. We have plenty of other native bees that pollinate around here. Carpenter bees and bumblebees are almost over abundant. There's just about one per flower in the garden. With no traffic or background noise around here, the gardens are a loud constant buzz when you're walking through them and picking stuff. It's really pretty amazing to stand in the middle and listen to it in the early morning. You just can't believe how loud and widespread the buzzing is.

Any time you pick something off a plant, about eight or ten bees do a Chinese fire drill on the flowers.

Lol, Mike?

That is even more incredible! I would feel lucky to live there even if I was broke and living in a tent! You are a very Rich man Mike!

If I disappear from a discussion please forgive me. My 24-7 business requires me to split mid-sentence to serve them. I am not ducking out, I will be back later to catch up.

bigmikedude's picture

Rich in enjoying my natural surroundings and life within them.

Our house is small and humble nowadays. Nothing extravagant.

Incredible!

I have open spaces but not like that! It is so green, The backdrop is a postcard picture in it's self!

If I disappear from a discussion please forgive me. My 24-7 business requires me to split mid-sentence to serve them. I am not ducking out, I will be back later to catch up.

bigmikedude's picture

ATrue

Here's 4 pics it seems you might appreciate being into nature:

There is a panoramic, and single shot view, in the fall from the top of the mountain behind me.

Approaching the mountain I live at the base of.

And the majority of this winter's heat. Lol

http://imgur.com/a/uxe2Y#0

Speechless Mike

There is something spiritual that happens when one stands in such a place man. I have had the fortune a few times in my life to stand in such a place as this. Each time I stood in awe thinking "This may have been where he stood when he created everything". You can feel the harmonics of the living earth it's self in a place like this. Rich man indeed Mike. Do you feel this when you stand there?

If I disappear from a discussion please forgive me. My 24-7 business requires me to split mid-sentence to serve them. I am not ducking out, I will be back later to catch up.

Very Cool

I love the gardening posts on here.

I like wine

Thank you Mike, I love to see folks making their own wine. I have made a lot of wine and brews in the past. It takes patience for sure! If you can find one, I use an old 5 gallon glass Sparklets water bottle for a Carboy, Nothing else compares in flavor! I also found a cool trick for the air lock, I use an aquarium air supply inline check valve,Works great! May your vino have great appearance, color, aroma and bouquet Mike!

If I disappear from a discussion please forgive me. My 24-7 business requires me to split mid-sentence to serve them. I am not ducking out, I will be back later to catch up.