"Discover Cooking, Discuss Life."

Go Back   Discuss Cooking - Cooking Forums > Recipes & Ingredients > Beverages and Wine > The Wine Cellar
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 11-16-2012, 01:46 PM   #1
Wine Guy
 
Steve Kroll's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
Posts: 5,414
Winemaking Fun

I thought it might be fun to show DC'ers how I make wine. It's a great hobby and not all that difficult to do. We make around 150 gallons a year of assorted red, white, and fruit wines (legally, the government allows us to make up to 200 gallons, or about 1000 bottles a year). What does one do with that much wine, you might ask? Well, we drink much of it. Rarely a night goes by that we don't have wine with dinner. But I also give a lot away to friends and neighbors. I've also used it to barter services. We typically go through about 300-400 bottles a year.

What doesn't go out the door is put into cases to age. Some of my wines are now approaching the 10-year mark and are still quite drinkable.

One of my favorite things to do is enter competitions. I've done very well overall, even beating out some commercial wines like Chateau Ste. Michelle and Louis M. Martini.

__________________

__________________
Steve Kroll is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2012, 01:48 PM   #2
Wine Guy
 
Steve Kroll's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
Posts: 5,414
This is how the grapes come to me: flash frozen in 5 gallons pails. Here we have 450 lbs of Merlot and 100 lbs of Cabernet Sauvignon. Each pail contains 50 lbs of crushed and de-stemmed grapes. Although we can also get fresh grapes from California, the frozen ones are far superior because they don't degrade on the trip across the country. Once thawed, they are in pretty much the same state as they were when picked.

__________________

__________________
Steve Kroll is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2012, 01:49 PM   #3
Wine Guy
 
Steve Kroll's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
Posts: 5,414
After two days of thawing, the grapes are separated into larger bins. I use a different yeast strain in each bin. This is where winemaking becomes less science and more art. Each yeast strain imparts different characteristics on the finished wine. Some enhance fruity characteristics, while others bring out more structure and tannin. Note that when making red wine, we include the grape skins. Red grape juice begins clear. It's the skins that give it the color.


__________________
Steve Kroll is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2012, 01:51 PM   #4
Wine Guy
 
Steve Kroll's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
Posts: 5,414
About two days into fermentation. The regular "punch downs" are my favorite part. It really smells great. My wife says it reminds her of fruit cobbler baking in the oven. The temperature during this stage reaches 85-95 degrees.

__________________
Steve Kroll is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2012, 01:52 PM   #5
Wine Guy
 
Steve Kroll's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
Posts: 5,414
After about 5-7 days of fermentation, the yeast has converted all of the sugar to alcohol and now it's time to press. Pressing separates the skins from the finished wine. Everything is dumped into a wooden basket press where a piston compresses the grape skins to extract any remaining wine and unfermented juice.


__________________
Steve Kroll is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2012, 01:53 PM   #6
Wine Guy
 
Steve Kroll's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
Posts: 5,414
This is what's left after pressing: a 60 lb cake of skins called pomace. In Italy, they ferment and distill this stuff to make the drink known as Grappa.

__________________
Steve Kroll is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2012, 01:54 PM   #7
Wine Guy
 
Steve Kroll's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
Posts: 5,414
The finished wine is allowed to settle for 24-48 hours. This allows any sediment to drop to the bottom, and the clear wine is siphoned off, leaving the sediment behind. Here we have new Merlot in the 15 gallon drums, and Cabernet Sauvignon in the 8 gallon pail in front. They will be mixed to create a blend. From this point on it's important to keep the wine away from air as much as possible, since it causes the wine to oxidize.

__________________
Steve Kroll is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2012, 01:55 PM   #8
Wine Guy
 
Steve Kroll's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
Posts: 5,414
The wine then spends 12-18 months in barrels, where it undergoes a second "malolactic" fermentation. The bacteria involved are the same as those used to make sauerkraut and cheese. It's amazing the changes that happen during this period. Young wine is very acidic and harsh on the palate. Barrel aging softens them.

__________________
Steve Kroll is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2012, 01:56 PM   #9
Wine Guy
 
Steve Kroll's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
Posts: 5,414
The wine comes out of the barrel crystal clear and ready to bottle. At this point, it's run through a .45 micron filter to remove any remaining yeast and lactic acid bacteria, and bottled.

__________________
Steve Kroll is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2012, 01:57 PM   #10
Wine Guy
 
Steve Kroll's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
Posts: 5,414
I also make white wines, though we don't drink as much of those (our red-to-white ratio is about 3-to-1). Here is 24 gallons of various whites. To make white wine, you only ferment the juice, not the skins.

__________________

__________________
Steve Kroll is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



» Discuss Cooking on Facebook

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:39 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.