Saturday, February 21, 2015

Currant Wine

This morning we bottled our currant wines. We have five redcurrant bushes and three blackcurrant bushes and just before Christmas each year they are laden. It always surprises me that the birds don't devour them but we only lose a few to the greedy Labrador.
We made some jam but as we hadn't finished all last year's supply most of the redcurrants went into the 25 litre plastic barrel.
There are enough natural tannins and yeasts in the skins to start the fermentation. After a couple of weeks of madly bubbling we transferred the 'juice' into a 20 litre demijohn. The barrel was freed up for the excess blackcurrants and the excess musk and skins went to make the piglets have a delirious afternoon and a long nap. A week later the blackcurrants followed

into a second demijohn. We left them in the kitchen on the unused wood stove. This way we couldn't miss where the air in the airlock was. As long as the bubble was pushing the water away it was still fermenting.
For the past six weeks there has been a steady but slowly decreasing plopping sound as the bubble of air made its escape.

Today we decided they had gone far enough. We tested the specific gravity of the wine with a hygrometer. The redcurrant was 1.100 and the blackcurrant 0.990. All sounds very technical but we didn't really know what to do with this information, though a website advised that a good amount was between 0.900 and 1.0 so we decided to go ahead anyway. Both wines tasted very potent and like a liqueur - something to be savoured rather than drunk. We may well drink it watered down, with lemonade or tonic water.

To bottle it we put the demijohn on the table and put a two metre length of garden hose in the top. Michelle sucked until she had a mouthful of wine and we used the siphon effect to pour the wine into jugs. I collected the still warm but washed bottles from the oven where they had been sterilising and emptied the jugs in till the wine reached the collar at the top. If they are too full and there is still some fermentation happening there can be a mess and plenty of broken glass to pick up.

We had boiled some corks in preparation. We have a plastic corker which needs lubrication with some olive oil before the cork is inserted. If the corker is central the cork slides in fairly easily but a lot of effort can be put in if the bottle top is not central. The lids were then screwed back on over the cork. This ensures the cork is not compromised and also keeps the lid with the bottle in case its next recycling is not with a cork.

There are 16 bottles of red and 15 of black. They will be laid down on their sides on the concrete floor of the shed pantry until they are needed. Not so much a nutritional product but why should preserving not have an element of recreation and luxury. We drink very little in the way of alcohol but having our own cider and wine is a pleasure when the opportunity arises.

No comments:

Post a Comment