Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Wine Making: 2008 Merlot

I have been toying with making wine for a few years. I made wine about five years ago.

I went in to Detroit to California Grapes on Fort Street, to an old, family run place that sells wine grapes, and indeed juice. I could write a posting just on this store. It is old, traditional and it smells like wine must, but it is also a regular business with the names of the owners painted on the side of building. Definitely not like Walmart.

After pricing the wine press and grape crusher -- I decided to buy a 6 gallon pail of Merlot juice. I have enough equipment to buy as it is, next year I can get a grape crusher, and then perhaps in two years the wine press.

I am going to do a whole wine making procedure in a future post. Today the important thing is to kill the natural yeast with metabisulfite, and then to put another strain of yeast in. My grandfather used to try to encourage the nature yeast for more flavor. I have regarded yeast strain selection as elitist in the past. On the other hand, many people say it is important, and so I was persuaded to use Saccharomyces bayanus from Lalvin.

Right now it is in the basement with a gentle bubbling from the yeast. It has been about 12 hours. The idea for the next week or so, is to let the primary fermentation take place in a plastic pail. Happily I had an eight gallon pail that works great.

The big question now is whether to make another 6 gallon pail. I know I want to try a lighter white wine, but I also know that I don't drink wine that fast.