Saturday, April 2, 2016

Winemaking in Small Quantities

This year our four Merlot grape vines produced two tubs of grapes. Time to process.
First the grapes are washed and any extra leaves and twigs removed. The feet are washed too! About a sixth of a tub of grapes is put into a new tub and squashed underfoot. You get the feel after a while of whether there are any more grapes left unsquashed. It becomes more liquid as the juice flows out.

The result is juice and musk - the remainder of the grapes and stalks. The mixture is poured through a sieve so that the juice goes into the barrel and the musk can be discarded for more pig pleasure. It is a good idea for some musk to be added to the barrel as this will assist fermentation. This year our haul created fifteen litres of wine - Chateau Opportunity Farm 2016 vintage.
One year when this musk was removed at the bottling stage a small amount was consumed by one of our dogs, whose staggering antics appeared to suggest snakebite. A quick trip to the vet ensued, where he was put on a drip. When he threw up small round black balls the vet's assistant called us to ask what they were. Then realization dawned, the dog survived and we had a great story to tell of the drunken dog.

The musk ready for the pigs. Not being fermented yet it is safe to give them without the likelihood of staggering, slurring porkers!

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