Friday, 12 September 2014

Malthouse wine making

There's a beautiful vine outside our offices, lovingly tended by the Arboricultural Association (our landlords) which last September, had a mass of grapes, ripe for harvest.  We decided to make some Malthouse Wine - vintage 2013.

Here's Mike cutting some grapes.  We prepared the juice by pulping the grapes through a straining bag (a clean pillow case) into a bucket.  We added sugar and used a hydrometer to check the sugar levels (all impressions were that this was going to be a low alcohol wine from the start).

The juice was left for a few days, decanted into 3 demijohns and then we waited.

If you search 'making wine from grapes' online one result says, "It combines the process of fermentation with the creativity of the winemaker.  The fermentation process starts when yeast is added to grape juice.  The yeast consumes the grape's sugar and converts it to alcohol and carbon dioxide."

Well, the creativity of these winemakers was not rewarded by the result.  When asking the leading winemaker and wine business development consultant, John Worontschak, to taste a sample of Malthouse wine (after a few weeks of fermentation), he came up with this reply, "If you nose the wine it smells of nail varnish. This is ethyl acetate and acetic acid and is produced from poor hygiene and bacterial spoilage with not enough sanitiser (So2). If you leave it longer it may very well become very good for salad dressing (I'm serious) but I wouldn't drink it."

Ah well, back to the drawing board.  The vine has produced tiny, brown, inedible offerings this year, barely bigger than the pips they hold (despite it being a very good growing year for most things, including our wonderful crop of willow), perhaps in protest?  So the next attempt at a vintage will be 2015 or beyond....

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