Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Can't we talk about something pleasant? Of course, Wine!


It is that time of year and the crop came in big.  Apple wine is being made from a variety of Washington State apple developed in 1985 and named Cameo.  A large tree grows in a neighbors yard which we offered to pick clean so they would not have to clean up after the tree dropped them all.  Windfall deal without the fall.  Not using fallen apples is a must so you greatly reduce any potential for contamination.  This is my favorite apple variety for wine making.

Simple process.  Squeeze lots of apples, put juice in big jars, keep out the bugs and bacteria with an air lock, add sugar (1#/gal) and champagne yeast, wait until it quits bubbling.  You need a champagne yeast to kick the alcohol content into the 12-14% range which kills most everything else in there with it.  This alcohol level will not happen with most wild yeasts but it is easy to buy the right kind at a beer making equipment store.  These can be housed in bricks or online. Consider them your pets.  The yeast, I mean.  There are millions of them in there with your wine all reproducing quicker than little rabbits. 

It can be a bit more complex than that but that is a good outline.  Lots of good wine making sites online.   No need to get too complex with the process but a few pieces of equipment are fun to play with around the wine and let you know what's happening in the process.  It is alive  just so you can play doctor.  Enjoy it.    

This particular type of wine is FAR better the second year after it has been made.  It is a gamble saving it that long without sulfites but sometimes you get lucky.

Cider is being made.  There is nothing hard about making hard cider.  Squeeze apples, put juice in jar, keep out the bugs and bacteria with a cocked lid or air lock, if you want to get fancy, drink it when it gets real bubbly and don't be afraid of the scum on top.  Just skim it off and take a drink.  Ah, just like back in the good old days when water could be poison and beer was not yet king of America.