This blog is a record of the wine that I make and drink. Each flavour made and each bottle drunk will appear here. You may come to the conclusion that, on the whole, I should be drinking less.

Saturday 3 December 2016

Apple & Strawberry Wine - The Making Of...

Our tree now it is winter
Now that it is late November, I no longer need to use a ladder, a rake and some precarious balancing to collect apples from our back garden. A quick poke about on the lawn will do the job nicely. The apple tree is still laden with fruit waiting to fall and is a popular meeting place for blackbirds. This afternoon, 27th November, I saw a squirrel leap into the tree's branches, scurry to the top, pick an apple, scurry to a midway point and then spend five minutes nibbling at it. He didn't finish the apple, though. Just dropped it casually into the flower beds. There are squirrels starving in Africa who would be grateful for that food.

Our lawn on a typical day in late November
I chose my apples from the windfalls carefully, making sure that I avoided those pecked by birds or consumed by slugs. This was easier than I had imagined and I should remember that if I am going to use our apples for wine in the future, late November is the time to do it. I needed 4 lbs of apples, which translated to 25 in number, and once picked, I washed them twice.

Some of the apples that made it into the mix
My 1 lb of strawberries came from the freezer, saved specially for this occasion. I gave them about five hours to defrost before starting to make this wine. When I crushed them with a potato masher in the bucket, the strawberries were still firm, but not solid, so mashing was effective.

What 1 lb of frozen strawberries looks like
I cut each of the apples into quarters and then tossed them into the food processor, using the 'slice' attachment. Only one of the apples had been attacked by some insect, and I cut the core out of this one (which looked suspiciously like it contained eggs). Otherwise I used the whole apple removing only the stalk. They all then went into my bucket in which I had crushed the strawberries

I added 3 lbs of sugar and poured over six and a half pints of boiling water, giving it all a thorough stir. The yeast, pectolase and nutrient all went in the same night, when the wine had cooled to 32 degrees Celcius.

An overview of the demijohn and some windfalls
The wine was transferred to its demijohn on Thursday evening, 1st December, before I watched the final episode of The Missing (superb television). This was done using the usual collander-then-jug-and-sieve method. Its colour started off peachy, but 24 hours later it is more pink. The wine made its bid for freedom shortly after being enclosed in the demijohn, but I managed to beat it back with a teaspoon. (This was done by scooping out the most aggressive froth from the demijohn's neck and that seemed to fettle it.)

If you want to see how this wine turned out, click here.

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