Friday, September 12, 2008

Making Wine with the WinePod: Fermentation

Fermentation Day 1!

So, earlier today we revised our upper temp limit to 70 as we allowed the must to gently creep up in temperature to be closer to what we were looking for when we wanted to add the yeast. The yeast is going to turn our grape must into alcohol/wine.

We realize the Winepod has a heater element, but we figured it would be better to let nature do its job. There was no hint of a natural fermentation so we were comfortable letting the temp rise on its own.

Jen and I ran out for another bottle of Fiji water (which is what we used yesterday to add the acid) so that we could be sure that the water was the same and that there was no chlorine in the water, which is no good for the wine. After heating up 200ml, we cooled the water down to 102 (putting it somewhere between wine maker John Kelly's 104 and the the WinePod software recommendation of 98.6).

Once the water was at 102 we added in 2 packs (20g total) of GoFerm Yeast Extract to help the yeast along. Ten minutes of fairly anxious waiting and we then popped in not one but two packs of UvaFerm 43 (16g total). This is more than the WinePod software recommends, but we had to trust John on this end as it is one of the most crucial points in the process and we did not want to risk a stuck fermentation. This is when things don't get moving in the whole process of turning grape juice into wine. Additionally, John's notes indicated that there was very little yeast 'finger print' with this strain so we felt comfortable adding in the extra.

We reset our temp limits to 70-78 and pulled out 50ml of must for proofing with our handy wine thief and set it aside. The must smelled sweet and perfumey, very clean with no off odors. Jen noted fresh blackberry and some sort of flower note and I noted some hay/greener flavors which is typical at this point. Honestly, it is entirely reminscient of the aromas in a winery during crush.

After another 10 minutes of letting the yeast settle, we mixed everything together and transferred the (sanitized) Pyrex measuring cup to acclimate with the must before pitching in. Surprisingly, our must is very juice heavy and we were concerned that the measuring cup might tip over into the must before it had time to cool down. So we walked on eggshells around the Winepod and after 15 minutes we prepared to proof the yeast mixture with the must we previously set aside along with a pinch of sugar like John described in his notes. Most probably this is a combination of both the WinePod and John Kelly's methods, but one with which we were most comfortable.
The initial proof comfirmed the yeast was active and ready to go. The proofing also dropped our yeast mixture temp down to 79.8 and we pitched the mixture in.

Now we cross our fingers and hope for the best!


  1. This is really cool! Can't wait to see how things work out with this contraption!!

  2. Stay tuned - we are going to keep posting our updates right here!