Updates

I add Peach berry wine to the recipe page.  It is a mix of Blackberries, Elderberries, and peaches.  This was left over fruit we had in our freezer.  There was probably a better name choice considering that there is only a pound of peaches.

I hope you enjoy!

 

 

New Recipe – Spiced Mead

As requested I add a new recipe in the recipe tab. It is a Spiced honey wine (mead).  It has apple cider and cloves in it.  We started this for a friend of ours in November and it probably wont be ready until summer time.

When using cloves you always got to remember they are very powerful and a little goes a long way.  We did just 5 and it gives a nice hint of cloves on the back of your tongue. You can adjust the amount to your taste. We plan on adding liquid cinnamon at the end before we bottle it.

I will add another recipe in a couple of weeks.  It will be one we did with mixed berries.

Enjoy!

Labels

We’re always talking about how to save money, well here is another way!!!  Print your own labels.  You can do anything from plain black to save on ink or fancy ones.  I received a scrapbook disk with my printer a few years back. It is called Scrapbooks Plus Workshop 2.0 from Ideasoft. You can find free scrapbook software on the Internet, I’ve never worked with them so I don’t know what they are like.   The only issue I have is printer related.  My printer, the cheapest one at the store, doesn’t feed the paper in straight no matter how tight the guide is, my labels always have a blank space down the right side.  For wine bottles I use Avery shipping labels 3 1/3″ X 4″ template 5164.  My program has the template number under the different types of labels, which makes it a little easier.  For beer bottles I use Avery 5395 name badges.  I have also used Avery 8160 address labels for the neck of the bottles.

I prefer to make my own labels because I can personalise them for gifts or just for fun.  I do a standard wine label for all the wines unless it is a gift.  I have done birthday label that suits the receiver’s personality and Christmas ones.  I seem to get more creative with the beer labels.  Beer names can be fun to design for.

The fun part is removing labels.  The Avery 5395 name badge label is the easiest to remove.  Where the 5164 label needs a little more patience.  Lets start with the easiest first.  I turn on the hot water and dissolve Oxy Clean into the water.  Then I carefully add the bottles into the water making sure each bottle fills up with solution.  Then I let them soak for about 10 minutes.  I take a bottle out and take a utility knife blade and slide it under the one edge of the label.  I loosen that edge from top to bottom.  Then I bring the blade back to the center and place my thumb on top of the label with razor blade on bottom and pull.  They come right off.  Some time you will find them floating in the water.  For the other label I do basically the same thing but sometimes the label just don’t completely come off.   Make sure there is still hot water inside the bottle.  This keeps the glue pliable.  Place the bottle just under the water and take your blade and scrape it back and forth across the glue rinsing your blade often.  This should get most if not all off.  For back up get a green scratch pad and wash off what remains.  Be careful with the razor blade, you don’t want to cut yourself.

 

Frugal Wine Equipment

When you go into a wine shop they show you all these fancy things to make your life easier for making wine.  Like the bottle tree it cost around $19.00 and for another $20.00 you can add a Bottle Rinser to it.  I say wash your bottles in the sink in Oxy Clean (cheaper than B-brite) and use a spay bottle with a Star-sans mixture in it.  Then all you need is a rack from the dish washer, the one with the pegs on it, and invert the bottles onto the pegs until they are dry. You just have to find someone who is throwing away a dishwasher so you can get the old tray.

Another convenient item is the Carboy Dryer for $8.00.  If you are a coffee drinker or know someone who is, get an empty plastic coffee can. Then you can place the carboy neck down in the can to let it drip dry.

Lets talk about buckets and bottles.  Buckets with lids cost around $15.00 and bottles are also around $15.00 for a case of 12. You need two cases for a 5 gallon batch.  The requirement for the bucket is that it must be food grade plastic.  If you have a food grade bucket at home that isn’t scratched up on the inside (scratches hold bacteria) and wasn’t holding something nasty or caustic, then you can use it. You can also check your local big box store and buy one there.  I found one for only $4.00. It doesn’t have a lid but I’m sure if you look around you can find a lid.  As for bottles call your local restaurants and see if they will save them for you. Ask your friends to save their wine bottles for you. You can also check with local bars and see what they do with their old bottles. If they have to pay to get rid of them, they might give them away for free.

If you don’t have hundreds of dollars to build a wine rack then you can build one out of pallets. A lot of places just throw them away. You can also build a wine rack out of  2x4s and plywood. To learn how to build a frugal wine rack, check out an earlier post here!

Now for the most important item you will need in your wine making, fruit!  The cheapest way is to grow your own. You can also go out and get some exercise and pick wild berries.  Be sure you get permission from the land owner first. Another source would be your local market or fruit stand. Ask if they have any bruised or over ripe fruit. Usually they will sell you this fruit at a discount rather than throw it away. Just be sure you remove the bad spots first. You can also ask is there a discount available for buying large quantities of fruit.

Every penny counts and with a few of these suggestions you might be able to save quite a few! If you have any ideas on how to save money making wine, please share!

2012 Chilean wine

Our Chilean wine juice is in, we got 2 Cabernet Sauvignon,  2 Merlot, and 2 Syrah.   These wines come with every thing added, the idea is to bring up to room temp. and stir.  We took reading at that time and discovered the acid was low on all.  We adjusted all wines until we were content.  Here are the reading before and after for the three wines.

Cabernet Sauvignon: SG. 1.096, Acid .25, PH 3.8 added 5tsp of Acid Blend.  .375 Acid,PH 3.8.  Added 5tsp Malic Acid.  .50 Acid PH 3.8

Merlot:  SG 1.092, Acid .25, PH 4.2.  Added 5tsp of Acid Blend. Acid .375, PH 4.0. Added 5tsp Malic Acid. Acid .45, PH 3.8

Syrah: SG. 1.092, Acid .25, PH 4.4. Added 5tsp of Acid Blend. Acid .375, PH 4.0. Added 5tsp Malic Acid. Acid .475, PH 3.8

When your Acid is low your PH is high.  The average PH for a Red wine is 3.3-3.5 for whites 2.9-3.9.   Our Acid is still a little low, but were going to let it ferment out this way.  As it ferments the acid will come up into range.  After about a week we racked them into 5 gallon carboys. These are suppose to be six gallon buckets but they always fill them up to almost the top.  So we end up with 6+ gallons of juice per bucket and since we only use 5 gallon carboys we put the left over juice in our 6 gallon carboy that we have for beer.  Were calling this a Bordeaux Blend. A typical Bordeaux Blend consist of three or more of these grapes Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Frac, Malbec and Verdot.

UPDATE:

We racked all of our Chilean wine and they are coming along nicely.  The Bordeaux we put into a 5 gallon carboy + 1 gallon carboy.  We will use the gallon one for topping off.  We also added sulphites to each one.  Next racking I’ll get an updated acid and PH reading.

Dandelion wine

It’s that time of year where I grab a cup of coffee and go outside and drink it while picking dandelions.  Most people consider dandelions to be a weed, but I like to make wine out of them. I’m hoping to do two batches this year, which means I need to pick 2,000 dandelions.  I will be using this recipe.  Like all recipes, you can use it as a base and add your own flare, or follow it step by step. I plan on doing  ours as a sparkling wine (more on this later).  Every one gives Dandelion Wine rave reviews and is amazed that it was made out of a weed that most people hate to see in their yard.

I got enough flowers for one batch so far.  I plan on doing another batch next week.  All you need is just the head of the flower.  The easiest way to clean them is to pull the petals forward and cut at the base on the petals.  You want to make sure you cut off the all of the stem and leaves.

 

First, boil the water then remove from heat and add petals. Steep for 2hours. Then strain it into your bucket.  The best way to strain it is by using your colander, just make sure you sanitise it first.  Don’t worry when you see the color of the juice, it isn’t going to be a nice yellow as you might think. Its more like a dirty brown.

My reading were as followed: PA 7%, SG 1.076 and Acid Test .30% TA.  I added another pound of sugar, melting it on the stove in 4 cups of must.  I also added 8 tsp of Acid blend.  My final numbers were PA 10% Acid Test .50% TA.  I’m happy with the numbers so I’m going to leave them.  The next day I added Lavin EC-1118.

So get out there and get picking!!!