So – It’s been several months and my red wine still has this foul odor and awful taste. It’s nothing like Duplin wine, and I think I discovered why.
First, I didn’t let it clear like I should have. I THOUGHT it had cleared, but when I look at the bottom of the bottles there’s some crud in there. Dead yeast and grape proteins I think. Nothing that would hurt you, if you manage to drink the bottle down to the funky haze. But the wine just isn’t any good.
The second thing I think I did wrong was pushing the yeast. I didn’t know what I was doing, and added way too much sugar to the wine. I wanted a sweet wine, so I thought there was a way to stop the fermentation around 11%, and leave the undigested sugar in there as a sweetener. But that’s really not how this whole thing works. The yeasts are like obese buffet diners. They just keep eating and eating everything that’s there until they are miserable.
Then they puke in your wine. Which, according to a site I was looking at, is what they do. The yeasts are all happy-happy at 10-14%, and once you start to push them up around 15-18% where they start to die off, they begin producing some nasty off flavors.
So if you know any alcoholics that will drink anything put before them, I have some red wine for them.
Knowing what I now know, and having a sack of sugar and a freezer full of grape juice (Thanks Cheryl), I put on a new batch of red wine. This time I carefully measured out the stuff and have it down to 11%. The grapes by themselves were only 5%, so I still had to add a lot of sugar, but I was careful not to go too high with it. 5% wine would never keep…
So I divided my wine into my two carboys and they are cheerfully fizzing away. Thus begins another months-long journey into winemaking. I envy the liquor-makers on that Moonshiners show. They wait a week or two and then find out if what they made is decent. My wine won’t be drinkable until at least July 4th.