Blueberry Wine Log

December 31, 2007 at 9:51 pm (Kit Wine, Winemaking, Winemaking Log) (, , , , , , , , , )

12/27/07 – Removed blueberries from the freezer and set out to thaw.
12/29/07 – Crushed berries, put in muslin bag, added water to 4 gallons. Added 1 T pectic enzyme, 50 ml of 2.5% sulfite solution.
12/31/07 – Stirred frequently the last two days. Added 1 tsp grape tannins, 1 T yeast nutrient, 1 T acid blend. Boiled sugar in water, added about 9 lbs of sugar in total. Brought the mixture to 6 gallons with a specific gravity of 1.080. Added package of Premier Champagne yeast.
1/1/08 – Nice bits of foam on the top,it all smells very nice. This will be stirred and pushed down every couple of hours.
Blueberry Juice - Fermentation StartedVery Active Fermentation
1/2/08 – The second photo shows just how well the fermentation is doing. The juice tastes great. I’ve been stirring the fruit bag down every time I think of it, at least a couple of times a day. You don’t want to let the fruit dry out, keep submerging it so that the yeast breaks down all of the berries.
1/4/08 – The specific gravity of the must measured out at about 1.040. It’s hard to get a really accurate reading on the hydrometer as the foam is just all over the place. The wine will get transfered to a glass carboy when the specific gravity reads around 1.025.
1/6/08 – The wine has a specific gravity of 1.020, so it was time to move it to a carboy. This is probably the toughest part of the whole blueberry winemaking process because after siphoning the wine into the carboy, it takes about 45 minutes to manually squeeze out as much wine as possible from the bag of blueberry remains. All that is left from the 18 lbs of blueberries is a ball of fiber about the size of a softball. I didn’t think to take a picture, it’s all in the compost heap now.
1/14/08 – The wine is still actively fermenting in the carboy. It needs to be topped up with either water or sugar water. It probably needs two to four cups to reach the neck of the carboy.
More as it happens …

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Winemaking Equipment

December 28, 2007 at 8:54 am (Kit Wine, Winemaking, Winemaking Tips) (, )

I really recommend you start with a wine kit, and not a super expensive kit. I just picked up a Winexpert Vintner’s Reserve kit to make 6 gallons of Piesporter (white) for about $60. It seems a bit pricey until you realize it makes 30 bottles of really good wine.

To make the wine, you are going to need a few things. The up-front cost is the big outlay, after that it’s really minor, especially if you know a few tricks. Assuming you are making a 6 US gallon (5 Imperial gallon) kit, this is what you need to make that first batch:

  • Fermenting Vat – a 7 gallon food-safe plastic tub
  • Airlock & Stopper (get a bunch, they are inexpensive)
  • 6 Gallon Glass Carboy
  • Wine/Beer Hydrometer
  • Rubber Stoppers – several, with 1 hole, sized to fit the fermenter and carboys
  • Big Plastic Stirring Spoon
  • Some Food-Safe Rubber Hose
  • Corker
  • Siphon and Bottle Filler
  • Bottle Brush and Carboy Brush

Find a local store. You can go mail order, but a local guy is going to give you all the advice you need and the price will be the same. Shipping a wine kit or carboy is going to eat up any money you save going mail order. You can find the stuff in a kit from your local retailer for under $100.

Start saving wine bottles. Ask your friends, but make sure they rinse them and store them upside down, otherwise you are going to spend your life cleaning bottles. You can purchase bottles, but expect to spend about $0.75 per bottle. Not bad until you are on your 4th batch of wine and realize you’ve just invested $100 in empty bottles.

There are few other items I would strongly recommend:

  • Iodophor sanitizer – read up on cleaning up
  • Potassium Metabisulphite
  • One-Step or other recommended cleaner

This will get you started. I’ll post another page of what you want if you get hooked.

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I’m back…

December 27, 2007 at 8:19 pm (Thoughts, Winemaking) (, , , )

I haven’t made any wine in some time. My schedule has finally lightened up enough for me to have a few minutes. I started making wine from kits in 2001 and went real strong making my own fruit wine as well as kit wine for about 3 years. Then I got really busy and it sat.  Now my wine supply is dangerously low, so this week I started a batch of my homemade blueberry wine. I’ll get into the details a little later, I’m going to use this as a notebook as well as a forum for anyone wanting to get started in winemaking.

There is so much to cover, I have several favorite recipes that I will post. Lots of tips and ideas. By the way, making wine is not hard, it’s not expensive, and the results are a lot of fun. My friends were all a little reluctant the first time I brought some homemade wine to their house. Now when I show up with a bottle, it’s open before our jackets are hung up.

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