Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Wine Making - It's time to Peek!

Usually, your homemade wine is ready by the end of the second week to siphon into your glass carboy. So, take a peek and see what is going on. Is the wine clear on top with a layer of sediment on the bottom? If so, then it's time for step two.

Learning how to make wine is all about the basics, so get out your bleach /water solution and make sure that the carboy, siphon hose, fermentation lock, and drilled stopper are sterilized. Rinse very well, then rinse again! Being VERY careful not to shake the contents of the wine bucket or jug, put it higher than the carboy. A counter or table top works good ... then gently remove the lid. Place the carboy on the floor. Let me just interject here, this can all be done by one person, but it is much easier with two because you are trying to keep your siphoned "wine" as free from the sediment as possible. Now slip the siphon hose just a few inches down (stay clear of the bottom sediment!).

Here comes one of my very favorite parts ... rinse your mouth with vodka, gin would be OK, also ... you will be priming the pump, so to speak, by sucking on the hose to get the siphon started and you don't want any mouth cooties contaminating your wine. You may swallow or spit ... it is up to you! I love to share "wine education"!

The wine should start flowing up out of the high jug into your siphon hose, heading for the lower point of gravity, which just happens to be the end of the hose between your lips. Remove it from your lips and insert into the carboy and let the wine flow in. Try to avoid vigorous splashing because introducing oxygen at this point could possibly ruin the flavor. Be careful, during this whole process not to suck up any of the dead yeast cells ... stop before you get to that point.

When all the wine has been transferred to the carboy, insert the stopper and fermentation lock and then place your carboy back in your cool dark place. Check the progress of your wine every now and then. You should notice that it is becoming clear, along with the fact that sediment is growing on the bottom of the carboy.

You can tell if the wine has finished fermenting, all the available sugar has been eaten, by gently tapping the jug to see if any little bubbles rise to the top. If they do, it's still fermenting. Be patient. Time is on your side!

All of this may take up to a couple of months. If it is warmer, it may take less time. Once the fermentation is complete, it will be time to move to step three .... YIPPEE!!!

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