A little later than I had planned, but I racked the wine yesterday (Saturday) to get it off the residual yeast. It also gave me a good opportunity to see how things are progressing. The two yeast batches are definitely on different tracks.
To rack them, since I only have two 5 gallon carboys, I needed to rack them into a sanitized bucket, clean/sanitize the carboy, then rack it back in. To top them off, I used the excess wine I had put into one gallon jugs.
In the end, after topping up with the appropriate yeast batch, I combined the two excess jugs into a single one gallon jug. Keeping them separate would have left too much headroom and for future toppings-up I figure any residual fermentation will be completely done and all the available sugar gone. But I had slightly more than a gallon left, so I also got a half bottle which I combined with the the clearer dregs left after the rackings, to get a rough blend that I started drinking last night (more on that below).
Back on July 28, I kicked off a test of three different types of yeast. I inoculated some Welch’s grape juice with K1 V1116, EC1118, and D-47. The K1 and EC got off to a quick, foamy start, but were mostly done after a week, and completely done after two. The D-47 was slower to get started and is still going. I didn’t want the the first two hanging out there without active CO2 production going on for too long, so with Tressa’s help, I measured and extracted them.
I moved them up to the kitchen counter and used my deconstructed auto-siphon to old-school-siphon them out into a wine thief, where I measured the specific gravity. Both were exactly at 1.000. So, fermentation was pretty complete. The Welch’s started out at about 1.098, so I was looking at about 13% alcohol there.
If you squint past the cultural debates and try to focus on the winemaking practices that are connected to what’s considered natural wine, I think it can be boiled down to a few elements: sustainably grown and sourced grapes; no adjustments for acid, tannin, etc.; minimal (if any) sulfite addition; no added commercial yeast.
There are a lot of holes, debates, and expansions in that list above, for sure. But, when you get tired of going deep into these debates, that’s perhaps the least objectionable zone that could get closest to a definition.
Why is everyone talking about natural wine right now?
I linked to a bunch of articles and blog posts above. But, therearemanymore where those came from.