Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Stomping on the Grapes

The grapes from our three Merlot grapevines are ready. The grapes taste sweet and while there are a few green grapes some others are bursting and beginning to droop. A half-hour of clipping with the secateurs and two large boxes are full.

The first job is to sterilize the buckets. A wipe of bleach and plenty of water and the buckets are ready for rinsing the bunches. This clears off any leaves and most of the grapes past their prime will float off.

The first tub of grapes being washed. 
Once the grapes are rinsed then the fun begins. Clean feet slowly stomping. After a while the feet break through into liquid and you can feel the grapes burst between your toes. Ten minutes of stomping is about enough to get pretty near all of the grapes. 

Squashing the Grapes the fun way!

I then poured the juice into a barrel through a colander and squeezed out the musk - all the skins, stalks and seeds - by hand to maximise the juice. The first bucket yielded 6.5 litres of juice. The second produced 7.5 litres. Most of the musk I set aside for the pigs but the top quarter of each bucket I kept.  This portion had the least amount of seeds because they sink to the bottom. I picked out the stalks.  This musk I added to the barrel which raised the level to about 17.5 litres in total.

Barrel with buckets of musk
Lid on and air lock in and the wild yeasts in the musk should set fermentation. No added ingredients at all. Can't be much more natural than that. 

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