"Why aren't you guys picking your grapes?" is the most frequent question we get at our house. Despite our neighbors' concerns that we are not harvesting the grapes, we are actually putting them to use.
Yulia and I found some large glass bottles and fermentation tubes in the attic, so we decided to make our own wine.
To make a contraption like the one pictured above takes about a full day's work.
First you pick the grapes and crush them all. I did it by hand. You could also use a press or tread on them with your bare feet if you are dealing with large volumes.
Next you put the crushed grapes, juice and all, into a bottle like the one above. Yulia's dad advised me on how to make wine, and he said that our grapes are not sweet enough. He recommended I add some sugar help feed the yeast. I dissolved several scoops of it in water and added that to the crushed grapes.
Then you let the crushed grapes and sugar sit for about a week or two, swirling the bottle every day to make sure no mold forms.
Once fermentation begins, it is time to strain the seeds and grape skins from the wine. Refill the bottle with the half fermented grape juice.
You then need to seal the bottle so that gas can escape, but not enter. I used two methods to do this. One is pictured above. I wrapped Play Dough around the special tube and sealed the mouth of the jar with it. Then I filled the u-shaped part with water (up to the round sections). You can watch the gases emitted during fermentation bubble through the tube. It's pretty neat, actually! Take a look:
The second method involves sealing a plastic tube with Play Dough. You place the end of the tube in a jar of water. It bubbles as well.
|The second option|
Yulia and I don't drink much, so we'll be saving it for those special occasions when we have guests...and you know what that means. We are waiting for you! So come on by!