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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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bigmikedude's picture

Ha! That's exactly what I found and

use for an airlock in combination with the mason jar full of water when I ferment hot pepper mash in a 10 gallon crock for hot sauce. (with a special breathing lid I made for the jar to keep fruit flies out of the water)

I found a plastic flower pot that looks like a half a wooden barrel that literally snaps tight upside down over the crock making it airtight when you run a wrap of cellophane around the joint tight like shrink wrap. I drilled a hole in the plastic pot and pushed one of those check valves into it, with some vinyl tube on it.

Right on!

You nailed it, The secondary mason jar lock is a great idea, just to make sure and also to see when it starts to slow down and be ready for siphoning off!

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I logged in just so I could upvote and tell you - THAT ROCKS!! I love the pictures- Let's do this! LOL! Good work. :D

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bigmikedude's picture

Thanks Sarah.

I just got done straining out the skins and pulp from the initial ferment this week into a new bucket to settle for a while so I can get it into a carboy.

I think it's almost more fun designing all my own airtight equipment with drills, grommets, buckets, stoppers, Crystal water jugs, and making it all work. Lol

Like I shared with you

Like I shared with you earlier, I am making mead... We dont keep the bees though i wish we did! It takes so long to ferment for a good mead the way that I have decided to make it.. a good few months!

Michael Nystrom's picture

I made mead once

Though I probably didn't go through the process that you are going though. I didn't know anything about it. I learned from the nice people at a store in Harvard Square called Follow the Honey

They sell honey from around the region in bulk, and they even had beekeeping classes that I went to in preparation for one day - when I get out of this apartment - and have some land to keep bees.

ANYWAY, they had a mead making kit. It was all the spices and whatnot in a little pouch, that I mixed in with the honey & water. It was done in about 2 weeks. Everyone is so shocked when I tell them that.

It was good, but some people tell me it takes up to 2 years! I'd like to taste some of that mead someday. Maybe when I get my own bees.

He's the man.

Ooh, I'm so envious! I make

Ooh, I'm so envious! I make homemade fruit wine from backyard grown pie cherries and peaches, but the hot and humid SE Va climate doesn't allow me to grow any decent wine grapes. I've made grape wine from kits, some of which are excellent, but I wish I could grow my own.

Multiple rackings and patience are the keys to clarification. I rack all wine at least twice. The wine kits come with a clarification agent that you add after the first rack. For the fruit wines I add a little pectin enzyme. Let the wine sit a little longer than the recipe calls for after the last racking and be careful when siphoning into bottles and your wine should display a pleasant clarity.

Also, be careful, once racked into a carboy, that you store your wine in a dark place as most spoilage organisms need sunlight.

Good luck and cheers!

I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be. Albert Einstein

bigmikedude's picture

Thanks FR

I planned on racking it a few times and letting it sit for however long I have to each time to clear it up. There was no recipe. I just read all kinds of info about wine making and different procedures and purposes of them, and decided to find a path through it all as I go. I read and research a little more each day before taking any next steps.


I love homemade wine. My grandmother used to make muscadine wine and we loved that stuff.

bigmikedude's picture

Truth is, we're not even really big wine drinkers

I just couldn't let that many grapes go to waste. Lol


I'm more of a beer and spirits guy, but I enjoy some wine. I would love some homemade wine. Again, your garden is great. I hope that your wine turns out the same. :)

bigmikedude's picture

Thanks RPW

Usually the gardens are nice, but with 1/2 - 3 inches of rain literally every other day (135 days on record so far) and sometimes for days on end from March up until about two or three weeks ago for the entire summer, nothing fared very well and it was literally impossible to keep up with the weeds, grass growth, and water diseases. I'm talking massive deluges daily with rivers through the yard. Just wet, wet, and more wet all summer. It was the rainiest year I have ever experienced in my entire lifetime. Most around here say the same.

The last tally was between 70 and 80 inches this year so far with three months to go. Normally we get 45 - 50 in an entire year, so that puts us at about double what is normal.

Summer is almost gone and it has just finally dried up for the last couple weeks.

If you're planning to share, and your friends are picky...

The biggest problem I've encountered with homemade wine is the visual appeal. It looks ucky.

Invest in the cheesecloth or whatever to filter the finished product if you plan to share your wine with those kinds of people who care about visual appearance.

Otherwise - yippee! The more alcohol on this planet, the better!

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Even a dog likes wine.

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Very cool!

beautiful pictures! GOOD LUCK on your first batch!!! CHEERS!!!

Michael Nystrom's picture


Thanks for the pics, Mike!

Wonderful. Samantha made wine a few years ago from a vine we used to have. We had just enough for ... two bottles. But it was a great couple of bottles.

It is the love that makes all the difference.

He's the man.