RJ Cole Winery

Insights into the world of an amateur home winemaker.

Location: Charlotte, North Carolina, United States

Cole Wines anagrams to Senile Cow.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Blackberry Fermenting

Just a quick update on the Blackberry Wine:

I stirred my must after I got home from work yesterday. It was bubbling away, and had formed a thick cap even on top of the fruit bag. I stirred to get this back down in the wine.

I grabbed my handy wine thief and took an SG reading, down to 1.091. Not bad for a first day. I put the lid back on, and went about my other business. Later, I went back and opened the closet door, and the airlock was bubbling like crazy, so I think it's safe to say that this wine is doing well.

Carm/Cab Update:

Tomorrow is the day that this wine should be finished clearing. I've checked shining a flashlight through it, and I can see it. It looks pretty clear. However, I've still been pumping my Mity-Vac, and I'm still getting lots of little bubbles. I may rack soon, to get it off the sediment that has fallen out, and try pumping some more. I always wonder if the sediment may trap CO2 underneath it, and that's why it never completely comes out.

On the Horizon
Nothing definite has come up as of now, but there are 2 huge possibilities for the near future.

1. Kat's giant blueberry bush has been covered in tons of ripe berries daily for the past week. Already we've picked about 5 cups of berries off this bush. Unfortunately, Kat made it clear that I can't use all the berries that we pick for my wine. Fortunately, she is going to use the ones that she doesn't give me to make yummy stuff! She made some Blueberry Pancakes a few days ago that were amazing! Once I see how many berries she'll give to me for the winemaking, I'll determine how much wine I can make out of them. Even if it's only one gallon, it will be worth it!

2. I have a couple of contacts for small lots of Vitis vinifera grapes (i.e. wine grapes) - Cabernet Franc or Syrah. I'll have to decide which one I would like to do and see if I can afford it. I'd like to make 10-12 gallons of wine from whichever one I choose, so I'll need around 150 - 200 pounds of grapes! Other issues arise with this as well - can I find a crusher/destemmer and a press to use for these, or will I have to do everything manually? Can I find a primary fermenter large enough to handle this amount of wine?

I'm leaning towards the Cab Franc as the grapes I'll choose, but I'll need to make a decision soon, to make sure I can get some. Sangiovese and Chardonnay were also available, but as I'm not a big fan of wine from those grapes, I think I'll choose between the others.


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