Current Wine Status: Drinking 2nd Drum (Shiraz) +
300 Litres Sitting in Quaternary (that means 4th)
(# of Rackings Performed = 2)
1) Drinking... (Started 9 August 2006 and still going!)
Left to do:
Wine Making Notes
24.03.06 Preparing 44 Gallon Drums
Put taps on 4 x 220L (44 gallon) plastic drums (with Zio Nick, Marc, Nonno). These drums were sanitised with household bleach and rinsed thoroughly with water. Prepare tables to sit drums. Previously the drums contained imported cherries and were purchased for $20 each.
25.03.06 Buying Grapes, Crushing Grapes and Making Wine
Wake up early and left for Flemington Markets (with Zio Nick, Andrew, Dave and Mario). Purchased grapes for $12 a box. I bought 34 (18kg) boxes, Dave purchased 51. Got back and started pressing at Dave's house. When Dave's finished went to my place with Dave and Mario @ approx 1.30pm. I borrowed Dave's crusher and various buckets.
Setup at my house included the following - 2 large tables covered with plastic with 4 drums sitting on top. Floor also covered with plastic. 2 horses on which we sat Dave's manual crusher. Many buckets, milk crates and ladders etc.
Throw grapes into crusher - attempting to pull out leaves and unwanted stuff. One person turning crusher, one tipping and one picking out undesirables. After crushing two boxes tip bucket contents of crushed grapes into barrels. Ended up with 8.5 boxes per barrel, filled up to about 18 inches from the top. (Note that the grapes were not de-stemmed only crushed).
26.03.06 - 01.04.06 Primary Fermentation
During this time I "turned" the wine over and pulled out stems. Turning the wine over basically involves pushing down on the stems + grapes etc on top and this large cap essentially flips. Note that pulling out stems is one of the most boring enterprises of all time. As such next year Dave and I are going to purchase a crusher/de-stemmer to get around this. Also during this period my hands and arms were stained red.
02.04.06 Wine Pressing
The day of the great pressing with Dave and Nonno. Turn on the tap and let the wine flow into buckets. Once this gets blocked (and it will), start bucketing contents of the drums into the basket press. The basket press is really heavy! This basically presses the remaining grape skins and stems to extract the remaining wine. All of this wine was then put back into the cleaned drum. From the 4 original drums there are now 2 full drums full of wine.
03.04.06 Adding Preservatives
Added 2 Tannisol ($15 pack of 10) tablets to each drum - apparently this has preservative qualities.
95% potassium metabisulphite, 3% ascorbic acid, 2% tannin
14.04.06 End of Secondary Fermentation
Put lids on drums (prior to this the drums were open and covered only by fly screen).
01.05.06 - 08.05.06 Preparing Stainless Steel Drums
During this time prepared 9 x stainless steel 50 litre drums to store wine in. This basically involved fixing a tap (ball valve) to the drum by welding and fixing a stainless steel plate to the top in order to seal the drum and act as a handle for the lid. The 9th drum is for the purpose of racking the wine from drum to drum.
11.05.06 Sanitisation of Stainless Steel Drums
Sanitisation of drums. Took three hours. Sit drums on stairs, i.e. 3 at top, 3 half way, 3 at bottom. Fill top three with water + 4 capfuls of unscented household bleach. Then transfer after the water from top three to next three. Rinse all drums thoroughly. All of this performed in the dark and cold and wet, with accompanying lower back strain!
13.05.06 1st Racking
1st racking. With the assistance of Kathleen. Wake up early... again. Get hose fittings ready. Go to Bunnings and buy 5m length of racking hose 12.5mm. Cut length into 2m + 3m. Sanitise hose and fittings. Fit hoses onto two 44 gallon drums. Other end into 50L drums. Put 1/2 a crushed + dissolved Tannisol tablet into each 50L drum. Fill up 8 drums with wine trying carefully not to splash wine around (to avoid oxidisation). Also filled up approx 15 bottles of wine. Moved drums into room behind garage with Nick. Hurt shoulder when lifting. Clean up garage and wash out barrels. One drum had a leak and was forced to transfer wine to the spare drum (will need to get it repaired).
Have drunk some of the wine in the bottles - even though it is 3 months premature - it is very drinkable + strong. Dave rang and said not to transfer wine until the following week due to the full moon. I have defied the gods and have taken my chances (with a little help from my good friend potassium metabisulfite [K2S2O5] - Final total usage was 2 tablets per 100L).
01.07.06 2nd Racking
2nd racking. With the assistance of Kathleen. Picked up repaired 50L drums. Basically transferred wine from drum to drum, being careful not to oxidise it. Then washing out the drum before transferring the next drum into it. The shiraz had significant amounts of sediment in it, will the mixed had noticeably less. I was expecting significantly greater yeast deposits in the wine. However the resultant wine was exceptionally good (and strong!) and should mature further given more time.
09.08.06 Bottling of 1st Drum (Mixed Wine)
Bottled with K. Put on tap from beer brewing equipment (from bunnings) which conveniently fit on ball valve (3/4 inch). This allowed me to use the associated little bottler. I was able to reduce any splashing of the wine thereby preventing oxidisation. Ended up taking of the end of the little bottler and using the tap as on/off. Only two bottling mishaps, probably a function of sampling the final product whilst bottling.
09.08.06 - 10.08.06 Tasting Notes (Mixed Wine)
I liked the wine! Based on the comments I have received from willing participants there is a general consensus that the wine, while not the best in the world, it isn't the worst either. The wine does lack a little body, but it does have a pleasant aroma and taste, not harsh/rough at all. I am explaining to critics that the wine was intended to be a light and refreshing summery wine - they seem to accept this explanation. Hopefully it will develop some body with age. I reckon that it poos on most other homemade wine that I've sampled. And best of all it has a nice little alcoholic kick to it.
23.10.06 Bottling of 2nd Drum (Shiraz)
Bottled with Kathleen. Now have a bottling wand. Excellent time saver! I have been told the shiraz is better than the mixed batched. I like it anyway. Overall I have been happy with the results.