After the torture of nearly fourteen hours of destemimng grapes, I was keen and ready to get started to actually make some damned wine.
Having already added crushed campden tablets into the must - for this is the name we give the juice on the pulps - I came back the next day to find that the wine was already fermenting a little bit - Shit! (or as they say in France, Merde!). It wasn’t going nuts thankfully, and I managed to stave off the fermentation by adding some more campden - but I’m not sure what taste this is going to impart on the wine - hopefully its not too hard, it would be a pity to have it go to waste this early on in the process.
Now, theres a lot of information out there for winemaking - but I’ve not come across a very good introductory guide to winemaking. Probably the best two resources are Jack Keller’s pages (if you can stand his my-way-or-the-highway attitude), and “The Wine Pages”, from which Mr Keller seems to draw frequently. Pretty much everything else seems to be cut and paste from these two sites.
After fixing my natural yeast problem, I’ve introduced a strain of yeast that’s supposed to be good for red wine grapes, especially Cabernet and Merlot. I should note that due to cost reasons, by this point I have put the grapes in together - this isn’t the proper technique for blended wines as I understand it (eg: Cabernet Merlot), but I can’t afford to spend any more to do seperate batches.
The yeast I’m using is Vintner’s Harvest R56. It doesn’t require a starter and can go straight in, so I’ve introduced it to the must and will give it a few days to take hold before proceeding to the secondary fermentation.
From there, it will be a case of straining our the skins from the must and sealing it in an airlocked fermenter. If I can figure out how to do port before this step, I’ll fill some of the glass demijons I have for this purpose.
That’s it for now, I’ll post an update once I’ve moved to the secondary fermentation - which is going to be messy and interesting also.