Es vino …..

First glass of wine

First glass of wine

There is a Spanish saying which says: “Para San AndrĂ©s, vino o vinagre es”. The idea is that on St. Andrew’s Day – 30th November – you should be able to taste whether the wine will be vinegar or wine.

A day later, on the 1st December, we tried our wine and it was not vinegar. It didn’t taste that great which I suppose is normal but at least we haven’t got 400 litres of vinegar for salad.

Pressing the grapes

wine2eYesterday, 15th October 2013, was Day 10 of the grape must being in the vats for the first fermentation and so it was time to press the grapes.

Wine press for pressing the grapes

Wine press for pressing the grapes

The wine press consists of wooden vertical slats, blocks of wood and a cog-like mechanism. The two sections of the wooden slats are placed on the metal base and locked together.

The pressed grapes and must are then transferred from the vats and poured into the press.

Pouring the grapes and must into the press

Pouring the grapes and must into the press

We had used 4 plastic vats (each with a capacity of 225 litres) for the first stage of fermentation with the 610kg of grapes divided among them. We consolidated the grapes and must into three of these and cleaned the fourth so that we could start filling it with the pressed juice.

When the level of the grapes reached the top of the press, the rest of the press was assembled: the two semi-circular wooden boards were placed on top and then the wooden blocks were placed alternately perpendicular on these and then the pressing mechanism was screwed down. It was wound down by hand until it reached the blocks and pressing began.

Gear-like mchechanism of the wine press

Gear-like mchechanism of the wine press

The are two rings of holes: the outer ring is like 1st gear and the inner ring is like 2nd gear.

When as much juice has been extracted from the grapes, the press is dismantled and the cake of grapes, skins and pips is removed.

wine2c wine2bHere is a picture of the first glass of grape juice. It has a pleasant taste.

First glass of the grape juice

First glass of grape juice

Wine recipe

Wine stick for mixing wine

Wine stick for mixing wine

Our recipe for making wine was jotted down on a small piece of paper by the man in the shop selling the wine equipment.


Wine recipe and instructions

The wine is started in four plastic vats, each holding about 150 litres. Because of the possibility of the wine overflowing when it starts to ferment, we decided to use a fourth one. The grapes are first destemmed and crushed by machine and then transferred over into the vats.For each 100ml,1 tablet of Potassium metasulphate is crushed and added to the liquid.

The vats are then left for 7-10 days and  and are mixed three times a day using a wooden pole nailed to a square piece of wood with holes drilled in it so as to thoroughly submerge the grapes that float to the top. This process is know as “punching down the cap”.

MACERATION is the process by which the tannins, colouring agents (or anthocyanins) and flavours of the grape are broken down from the grape skins, seeds and stems into the grape juice or must. Maceration occurs during the first stage of wine-making but also continues throughout the second stage of fermentation.

During the first fermentation, the grape juice is then pressed in a grape press and returned to clean, plastic vats. The vats are left for 30 days.

During FERMENTATION, carbon dioxide is released when the sugar in the must is converted into alcohol. The process of maceration continues during this stage.

After 30 days, the liquid is transferred to a stainless steel “always full” vat and left for a further 60 days. The idea of the “always full” vat is that has a lid surrounded by an inflatable tube which adjusts to the diameter of the vat. Whenever liquid is removed from the vat, the lid is then lowered and the tube prevents any air from entering.

The secondary fermentation or ageing process is slower and can take any time from three to six months.