Tag Archives: fermenting grape juice

Bottling Pure Wine

pure red wine
Beautiful red colour of the wine and so clear without any additives and chemicals
Contadino Farm wine-making workshop
Wine barrels for sale at the workshop

Healthy Country Life organised a wine-making workshop on 9th April, 2016 at Contadino Farm, Falls Creek, NSW, Australia. Twice we had to change the date because the grapes were not ready. As we were making “pure” wine with no additives or preservatives, we had no way of regulating it ( I call it interfering with nature). 

So we had to work with the elements to bring out the best in the grapes in terms of the best in taste and best in health value. So much control has gone into commercial wine-making to ensure the unique taste of a well-known brand remains the same from bottle to bottle to bottle.

Controlled fermentation is needed in commercial winemaking to attain a consistent result so that every bottle of wine will taste the same. To achieve this the commercial wine industry is known to use at least 19 additives and 37 different processing aids which include sulphur dioxide, potassium metabisulphite, egg and milk products, gelatin (a meat product), commercial yeast and other food chemicals. Our wine from the workshop had none of these contaminants. Now a year after the workshop I am bottling pure wine.

Mouvedre grapes tasting
Bunches of mouvedre grapes being passed around for tasting

Bruno Morabito, 62, the owner of Contadino Farm demonstrated how the machine discards the stems and crushes the grapes. As the crates of grapes passed the participants, Bruno and his assistants grabbed a few bunches and passed them around, sparking off the workshops glorious tasting sessions that began with grapes and moved on to free flow of wines, cheese, salami, olives, olive oil and bread.

During the year our grape juice has been fermenting, I have been in touch with the participants to see how they were doing with their fermentation and here are some of their comments:

Dennis O’ Reilly bottled his wine a month after fermenting. But he only drank his wine six months after bottling and had this to say, ” It was very drinkable.  Good fruit, although only medium bodied and I usually drink full bodied shiraz. A little tang on the palate as it goes down and I think it benefitted from decanting and a half hour of breathing.

“With Christmas arriving, I now have a plentiful supply of day to day drinking red. That should save me a few dollars when I go to Dan Murphy’s for my Christmas shopping. “

 

grape juice at the back of a Harley Davidson
Ninette Prospero who rode her Harley Davidson to the workshop geared up to ride off with her container of grape juice to ferment into wine at home

Ninette Prospero, who unfortunately did not have much luck with her fermentation. ” Very disappointed. I got the bottom of the barrel and after filtering many times sediment was half. And unfortunately mine was very bitter. However I thoroughly enjoyed the day.” It is good to know she at least had fun at the workshop.

Amanda Peek started drinking and sharing the wine with family and friends just four months after fermentation. She divided her wine into two batches though and kept the second batch in a cold area. This is what she discovered between the two batches.

siphoning finished wine
Siphoning finished wine with help from Kathy

“My first batch was lovely and thoroughly enjoyed by family and friends since August 2016. It had a slight fruity taste and was very pleasant. The second batch that I left in the cold after racking took on a more Shiraz taste. I prefer the taste of the first batch. But I have now bottled this and intend to leave it alone for a few years to see what sort of outcome I get.

“The workshop was a lovely experience and I would thoroughly enjoy another workshop on how to grow and brine olives and other fruit and vegetables. Thanks again for a once in a lifetime opportunity. I loved it.”

Bottling wine after a year and two months of fermentation
Bottling wine after a year and two months of fermentation

As for me at Healthy Country Life I racked my wine six months from the start of the fermentation and after ditching the sediment, I poured the wine back into the carbuoy to ferment for a further eight months. It was thoroughly dry by the time I bottled it and I was so glad to be bottling pure wine.

Throughout the duration of the fermentation, Kevin and I have been tasting a little every few months and it was exciting to see how the flavours changed as the fermentation progressed. It was extremely high in alcohol at six months old and had a very strong bite to the taste. By the time I bottled it which was one year and two months since fermentation started, the wine had mellowed and now in July 2017, it tastes incredible and alcohol level lower. I could just sit next to a glass and drink in the aroma alone without having any sip of it – such is the strength and sweetness of the aroma. Amazing!

When I collected the wine at the workshop I made sure I had an airlock and that airlock did not run out of water. Except for racking it once after six months, that is all I did during the course of fermentation. It is that easy. Initially I needed to add water often because the grape juice was very bubbly and the water in the airlock ran out often due to so much yeast activity. But the yeast eventually died out for lack of oxygen and then the bacteria went to work because they thrive in anaerobic conditions.

Even if you buy a kit to make wine it will almost certainly include Campden tablets to add to the grape juice and also commercial yeast. I didn’t resort to using any of these for my wine. I didn’t even sterilize my carbuoy with potassium metabisulphite but simply washed with soap and water and then air dried it before I filled it with the grape juice to turn into wine.

When bottling pure wine, I got about twenty seven 750 ml bottles out of 25 litres of wine. I lost some litres naturally due to discarding the sediment and racking.

Bottling Pure Wine
Sharing a glass of wine with Kathy. Cleo our horse was wanted a smell due to the fragrant aroma. She came close for a sniff

When bottling pure wine I used the simple method of siphoning out of the main carbuoy into individual bottles. In the video what Kathy is doing to help me is making sure the other end of the siphoning hose is just beneath the surface. Too deep and we will pick up sediment that will flow through the hose into the bottle (which we don’t want). If the hose is too high up, close to the surface, it could accidentally slip out and stop the flow. So she has to make sure the hose sits just right so as not to disrupt the smooth flow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Homemade Wine

Homemade Wine

Crates and crates of Mouvedre grapes fresh from Berri South Australia were emptied into a crushing machine as participants of Healthy Country Life’s free workshop, ‘Make Wine The Natural Way’ gathered around for a closer look. The workshop was held at Contadino Farm, Falls Creek, NSW on Saturday, 9th April.

homemade wine

 

 

Amanda Peek, 45, from Worrigee cheekily asked if they were going to crush grapes with their feet, the traditional way, and got a stern, “No!” from Bruno Morabito, 62, owner of Contadino Farm, who has been making wine for the consumption of his own family and friends for 38 years.

 

 

homemade wine
Bunches of grapes being crushed 

Bruno  demonstrated how the machine discards the stems and crushes the grapes. As the crates passed, Bruno and his assistants grabbed a few bunches of grapes and passed them around sparking off the workshop’s glorious tasting sessions that began with grapes and moved on to free flow of wines, cheese, salami, olives, olive oil and bread.

 

 

“We simply had to see for ourselves how wine was made the natural way,” said Chris Armstrong, 35, owner of Nowra Steakhouse at Nowra, NSW who was there with his partner Nikki Edwards, 29.

Homemade Wine
Bunches of mouvedre grapes being passed around for tasting

The ‘natural way’ had caused the workshop to be postponed from the date first announced because the grapes were not ready. For wine-makers who emphasize purity without using any additives or preservatives, the date of picking the grapes is crucial because the sugar level has to be perfect.

Homemade wine
Bruno stirring the crushed grapes in the drum

“It is easy to make commercial wine because they add sulphur and potassium metabisulphite and other additives into the grape juice to regulate acidity and taste. They even have a chemist on site!

“We have to work with nature and that is why the grapes dictate when we have the workshop. So even if we have to disappoint people we can’t work on their timetable. We can only work on nature’s timetable,” said Luke Morabito, 54, who drove all night with his precious cargo of grapes from South Australia to Falls Creek just for the workshop so everyone would have fresh grapes to see, touch and taste.

 

Homemade wine
crushing machine also destems
Homemade wine
crushed grapes in the drum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The grapes need to be crushed and left for three to five days before they are pressed and the skins removed. We have done all this using our machines so all the workshop participants need to do is just purchase the grape juice and take them home to ferment themselves to make wine,” added Bruno.

Homemade wine
filling up participants fermenting vessels with juice of pressed grapes so they could take the vessels home and start the fermentation process to make wine

Dennis O Reilly 69 from Vincentia had been bottling cheap wine he has been buying in bulk since the 70s and was eager to try his hand at making quality wine on his own for the first time at this workshop.

Homemade wine
pressing machine from which we also got to taste the grape juice that has been fermenting several days. The pressing process also removes the skins

Summah O’Donnell, 29, from Ulladulla, is allergic to commercial wine and was amazed when there was no adverse reaction when she drank of the free flowing wine at the workshop, both red and white made without any preservatives. The white are made from Muscat grapes also grown by Bruno.

Shelly, 31 who came with Summah expressed how she saw great benefits in eating whole, fresh foods. Not only does she see the health of her children improving but their behaviour has improved too.

Homemade wine
gathering around the pressing machine

 

 

Homemade wine
pressing machine from which we also got to taste the grape juice that has been fermenting several days. The pressing process also removes the skins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Homemade wine
tasting the juice fresh out of the Press

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orieta Garcia and her husband Raphael in their late 40s from Vincentia are originally from Chilli, South America.Home wine-making is also in their culture and they were so excited to attend the workshop.

Homemade wine
free flow of natural wine cheese olives olive oil bread salami

“I have only recently started to have health issues and I realize I need to eat well to stay healthy. We grow our own vegetables such as kale, tomatoes, carrots, onions and we don’t use any pesticides. I’m very interested in natural nutrition and was excited to hear about a workshop that taught us how to make wine the natural way,” said Orieta.

Homemade wine
Participants get to taste the different stages of fermentation as Bruno explains the process

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ninette Prospero was quite the star of the workshop when she arrived in her Harley Davidson and everyone was curious how she would take her container of grape juice away on her sleek motorbike. She adeptly secured it to the back and rode off without much ado, waved on by the impressed crowd.

Homemade wine
Ninette Prospero who rode her Harley Davidson to the workshop geared up to ride off with her container of grape juice to ferment into wine at home

The juice the participants have bought will be fermented in the convenience of their own homes and in 40 – 50 days it should turn into wine.

Homemade wine
Ninette Prospero who rode her Harley Davidson to the workshop geared up to ride off with her container of grape juice to ferment into wine at home