Tag Archives: workshop

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sourdough Bread Baking Workshop

Sourdough bread baking workshop

It was off to Mooladhara, for a sourdough bread baking workshop. Mooladhara, nestled in the tranquil foothills of the Watagan mountains is the rustic abode of Warwick Quinton.

Warwick is an artisan baker. A master craftsman of bread in a world that doesn’t know what real bread is anymore due to corporations’ greed to bulk produce, cut out the time needed for fermentation and I won’t even go into the unethical agricultural and milling methods of grains.

sourdough workshop
sourdough workshop at Mooladhara
sourdough workshop
Outside the bakery trailer, Gypsy which holds Luna the oven

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This has contributed to much modern day woes such as gluten intolerancy, irritable bowel syndrome, candidiasis, Crohn’s disease, bloating stomach and many other diseases.

This word “artisan baker” has been exploited so much for marketing purposes today that the true meaning of the word is lost on the world until… you meet the real deal.

Warwick Quinton is the real deal. He ventured into sourdough baking in 1985 when there was no internet. He had to scour bookshops, libraries, health food stores and hippy kitchens to learn more about sourdough bread.

For centuries bakers have used nothing but sourdough starter to bake bread. The starter is nothing but flour and water that combusts over time into a bubbly blob caused by the voracious appetite of wild yeast and bacteria which are present all around us.

sourdough sciatta

 

sourdough workshop
pre-prepared dough

The problem with using nothing but starter is the difficulty in obtaining consistency in the end result because there are so many variables.

So commercial bakers look for shortcuts which will eventually hurt your health. But a Master baker knows how to work with these variables to consistently produced not only great tasting bread but bread that is good for your health.

Warwick’s “school” is a rudimentary, outdoor, makeshift classroom. We all gathered onto an elevated wooden platform for our sourdough bread baking workshop. There, prepared dough inside rectangular plastic containers awaited us, on long tables.

“The dough you see have been left in the fridge to ferment for 8 hours now. In my house we usually eat bread that has been fermented on average 14 hours,” Warwick informs his students, many of whom have traveled down from Sydney to learn from this sourdough guru.

Ever since Warwick turned his back on the corporate lifestyle of trying to bake in bulk while still staying true to his conventional methods, he has been happier as he has been able to concentrate on the craft rather than the “business”.

We had two dough to work with that day. One that Warwick had made and let rest for eight hours which we were to shape and slash and bake and take home by the end of the day. The other was the dough we had to prepare from scratch.Sourdough class

It was a very hands-on workshop with everyone getting a chance to knead, shape, slash while at the same time concentrating on his vigorous scribbling of invaluable information on the blackboard from pre-ferments to the various types of ovens and even how to modify your home kitchen oven for the best bread-baking experience!

Speaking of ovens, there was Luna, looming over our class eagerly waiting to devour our hand-crafted balls of dough. It seemed so surreal having a bread-baking class surrounded by nature and sounds of wildlife. Yet so apt as that was why we were all there.

Sourdough workshop
Adding the soaked wheat berries

To salvage the reputation of this “staff of life” that commercial industry has ruined to the point many people don’t even know what true bread tastes like. As Warwick said, “And that’s what I’ve learned about bread-making -it’s a confidence trick. But it’s so much harder now – we’re surrounded by ‘food porn’ on every newsagent’s window and our TV screens. We are spoilt for choice through the proliferation of Artisan Bakeries which seem to spring up in every town and suburb. Everybody knows what great bread looks and tastes like. Or at least they think they do. That’s until they try just one loaf of amazing home-made sourdough bread.”

I found several students at the workshop were not just there for the rustic allure of a bread-baking course in the wilderness. Not even for serious concerns about health, but those who actually liked the taste of rich, elemental sourdough bread. So much for the over-rated phrase, “Something that tastes this good, can’t be good for you.”

sourdough baking
Loading the dough into Gypsy the oven

One student was an old client who unabashedly admitted he follows Warwick wherever he moves his bakery. The workshop was a birthday gift from his children (probably because he is a big fan). He finally got to see what it takes to produce the loaves he loves so much. It takes a lot of time and care which the profit hungry bakeries of our era have replaced with production-line-factory-bread.

Finally it was time to fire up Luna while we added pre-soaked wheat berries to our dough and gave it a last round of thumping…oops, kneading 🙂 although Warwick did demonstrate a slap and twist technique I found quite appealing to relief stress.

Luna, the grand princess seated inconspicuously in her carriage, or rather bakery trailer, waiting to wave her flaming wand over plain dough and turn them into incredulous bread.

Ever the environmentalist, Warwick even uses old, stale bread as fuel for Luna. Yayyy! Thumbs up for Warwick.

Warwick’s only passion that can be said to rival that of sourdough baking is his love for building woodfire ovens. Luckily, they complement each other 😉

Check out his sourdough bread ovens; and for a quick oven demonstration.

At the end of a full day’s workshop we all went home with one still warm bread birthed from Luna’s belly and dough we made from scratch to bake at home.

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