I did all of my research, gathered the fruit, prepared everything and dropped in the yeast. Now it’s time to sit back and wait, almost.
There are two stages of fermentation according to the recipe I am following. The first stage has all of the fruit in the must and the second stage is just the wine. So I have a large plastic bucket of fermenting wine with a big bag of fruit, stems and seeds in it and in a few days I need to transfer just the wine into a five gallon container with an airlock. Easy, right?
Well, the instructions indicated that it would ferment vigorously and heat up in the process and peaking at about 80 degrees. The day after I started the fermentation, I checked on it and I got a little worried. When my beer ferments vigorously I have to use a large hose going into a bucket of water for an airlock because the fermentation blows all of the water out of a regular airlock. The wine however, was very still and had just a trace of foam around the edge of the bucket and the temperature was 64 degrees, the air temperature of the basement where it is fermenting.
Is something wrong? Did the yeast die? When I prepared the yeast I followed the instructions that said I should start the yeast in a small container of warm (100º F) water and let it sit for several minutes before adding it to the juice. But it also said that if the temperature of the juice was less than 60° to let the yeast sit on the top of the juice to adapt to the cooler temperature. My juice was about 65° so I poured in the yeast and stirred it in. Or maybe I didn’t wait long enough after adding the potassium metabisulfite and I killed all of my good yeast. Or maybe everything is fine. I would just have to wait to find out. So I stirred the must covered it and left it until evening.
That evening I went down to stir the must again and I saw that the bag of fruit had inflated like a balloon and was up above the top of the bucket. It looks like there is some fermentation happening. However, the must was still just room temperature. I squeezed the air out of the bag, stirred the must and left it until tomorrow.
For the next three days I stirred the must twice a day and every time the bag was full of air. It looks like it’s fine but with the extreme amount of sugar in the mix it seemed that the yeast would never convert it all. I guess I won’t know for sure until it’s finished. Oh Lord give me patience. And do it now!
Tomorrow – transfer the wine