22 June 2020

Paraglider's semi-pulp method

The standard literature will tell you that there are two main ways to make wine- juice fermentation and pulp fermentation. This is true for grape wines whether made on a commercial or a domestic scale. But grapes are not the only fruit in town and most other fruits are less accommodating when asked to yield clear fermentable juice or wet fermentable pulp. Here is a short list of fruits that are suitable for both juice and pulp fermentation:
  1. grapes
  2. raspberries
  3. brambles or blackberries (two names for the same fruit)
I said it was a short list! 
Citrus fruits are obvious candidates for juice fermentation and while you could pulp them, there is nothing to be gained from doing so. Now here is a much longer list of fruits that respond well to what I like to call a semi-pulp method:
  1. cherries
  2. peaches
  3. apricots
  4. rhubarb
  5. dates
  6. strawberries
  7. blackcurrants, redcurrants 
  8. elderberries
  9. rose-hips
  10. rowan-berries
  11. dried fruit
And here is the Semi-Pulp Method.
I'll describe it for cherries, but it works for all of the above list.
Day One: 
Pour one litre of grape juice into a five litre water bottle. Add half a teaspoon of dried wine yeast. Cap it loosely and leave it in a warm place to start fermenting.
Day Two:
Add another litre of grape juice. Cap it loosely and leave it in peace :)
Day Three:
750 grams cherries (approx). Flash rinse them in boiling water (to sterilise the skin surface). Remove stalks. Halve them, remove stones, drop them straight into the fermenting grape juice. Cap loosely.
Day Six:
Strain the fermenting juice from the pulp into another five litre bottle, using a nylon sieve. You can press the pulp lightly to get more juice, but don't force it too much.
Make up the volume to five litres with 600 grams sugar dissolved in water. Alternatively, you can add another litre of grape juice and reduce the sugar to 450 grams dissolved in water. Don't be tempted to replace all the water with grape juice or the total acidity will be too high. Cap loosely and leave to finish fermenting.

The finished wine will be around 12 to 13 % ABV, depending on the ripeness of the cherries and the brand of grape juice used. Wines made by this Semi-Pulp Method are more complex than simple juice wines and will benefit from longer ageing before drinking. I recommend a minimum of three months.

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