This batch made from a 96 oz. can of Vintner’s Harvest Gooseberry Fruit Wine Base. The recipe I chose/created will produce 3 gallons of wine. I will then mix 1.5 liters of Paul Masson VSOP Brandy with the wine, sweeten to taste and bottle to make a port-style wine with a little more than 15% alcohol.
|Status||Date||Specific Gravity||Fluid Temp.||Air Temp.|
|Primary Fermentation||2010-01-16 PM||1.090||70°F|
|2010-01-17 AM||(Add Yeast)|
|Secondary Fermentation||2010-01-23 AM||1.034||65°F|
Wine base + Yeast (Lalvin K1-V1116) + Sugar were $49.84. Primary Fermentation Mixed all ingredients according to recipe on Gooseberry can and let sit overnight. Added yeast the next morning. Leaving the primary fermenter upstairs this time to meet the 70 – 80°F instructions. Also, every morning I am gently stirring the top portion of the must. Note that I wasn’t informed about needing a straining sack for the fruit-stuff, so the fruit is freely distributed in the must. I don’t think this will affect the wine, but it will be a pain to remove the fruit-stuff when the time comes.
I was mostly successful at straining the fruit skins & stuff from the wine using my new straining bag and a slotted spoon. During racking I watched the siphon hose, and particles didn’t really start flowing through the hose until the last half gallon. The wine in the carboy doesn’t seem too messy. Might have to clear the remaining cruft from the top of the carboy slowly over the next few days. Fermentation appears to have started back up and lees has already begun to form toward the bottom of the carboy. . . spoke with Juanita’s dad and he recommend I poor it back into the primary fermenter through the filter bag to get the wine clean sooner rather than later. I did this by way of a colander suspended at the brim of the bucket with the straining bag draped over it. This worked very well. Then racked the wine back into the clean carboy. Not seeing as much initial fermentation activity, but will check in a few hours. Hopefully the additional filtering didn’t disrupt the fermentation process completely… Nope. Within a few hours fermentation was bubbling away. 2010-01-30: Still bubbling away, occasionally building up a half-inch of bubbles on the surface. 2010-02-06: Still bubbling away, though with a little less aggression. 2010-02-06: Still bubbling away, though with a little less aggression. 2010-02-13: There is STILL a very light bit of fermentation going on. Something unexpected happened yesterday: the wine, though still fermenting, has started to clear! Throughout the process the wine/must has been a cloudy, faint yellow. Now the cloudiness is diminishing throughout and even more so toward the bottom. 2010-02-25: STILL fermenting, though it continues to be of a lower and lower amount. Seems like wine continues to be clearing a little more. This weekend it will have been 5 weeks of secondary fermentation! 2010-03-06: Still a light bit of fermentation going on. I added some potassium sorbate in attempt to stop the fermentation and hopefully begin some serious clearing.
So, I guess my Secondary Fermentation and my Primary Clearing kind of melded into one simultaneous event. There has been a large amount of lees at the bottom for several weeks now, but at the same time it has also continued to ferment very lightly. This morning it seemed to be a bit clearer but still cloudy and still lightly fermenting.
Two nights ago I used my wine thief to take a sample and it really tasted quite good. I wonder if all white wines will be as drinkable with little or no aging? It didn’t have any of the off-tastes like the young red wines I have made. It was just a slight bit cloudy. Not quite presentable yet.
For the sake of experimentation, I have changed my plans of using this entire batch for my white-port. I now plan to sweeten the whole batch just a little to taste and then bottle three bottles of straight gooseberry wine. Once those are bottled I will then mix in the brandy according to my port recipe. The only side effect of this should be a slightly higher alcohol content in the port.
Anyway, since it was looking pretty clear today I figured it was about time to rack the wine off of the initial lees. Since I have only one 3-gallon carboy (and a borrowed one at that) I first racked the wine into my primary fermenter. Then I washed and sanitized the carboy and racked the wine back into the carboy and topped-up with filtered water. I am curious to see if any additional fermentation will occur.
2010-03-26 The clearing finally started happening about two weeks ago. Looks really good now and am considering bottling this weekend. As clear as it is, it still looks like it has the faintest, really small particles suspended in it. But since the carboy is borrowed I’m probably going to go ahead with the bottling anyway.
Decided to bottle 3 bottles of straight gooseberry wine. Ended up with 14 bottles of gooseberry wine mixed with brandy and sweetened (something like a port-style wine). For sweetening I added 2 3/4 cups of sugar. Unfortunately I kind of botched the initial racking of the gooseberry into the primary fermenter, so there will probably be some lees in each bottle. I tried to using a coffee filter to clean it up a bit when I finally racked the wine into the primary fermenter. Oh well. If Stanley Kubrick can leave a camera bump in his movie on a perfect take, I can leave a little lees in a wine as long as it tastes good.
Well, everyone that has tried it seems to like it. It’s definitely not what most people think of as “wine”. The gooseberry wine by itself is similar to a sauv-blanc. It’s quite dry. The gooseberry port-style has a strong brandy flavor. To me brandy is a bit overwhelming, so I enjoy this blend that makes it a bit less heavy even though it is a good deal higher in alcohol than a regular wine. I think I will experiment with port-style some more in the future, but with different kinds of wine.