Old fashioned way?

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speedy5966

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Hi all! new to the forum, and to wine making in general. Well, I'm sure this is here somewhere, but I couldn't find it. When I was younger, my Dad used to make wine with equal parts (by volume) of water, sugar, and fruit. No yeast, no pectic enzymes or acid blends. He'd crush the grapes, put all the ingredients in a gallon jug, with a cork in it, and a tube running to a glass of water as a makeshift air lock. 6 weeks later, or whenever it quit bubbling, he'd strain it, and that was it. He'd usually leave it sit for a few days, then siphon off the top and leave the sedement in the bottom. That was it, no secondary fermentation or anything. I've been reading on a lot of sites that you have to add other ingredients, and leave it open for the first 4-7 days, then rack it and put an air lock on it for the secondary fermentation. I've read that if you put an air lock on it in the beginning, that bad stuff usually happens. Granted, what my Dad made wouldn't win any awards, and a real wine conissour wouldn't even consider it wine, but I liked it, and I'm trying to reproduce it.
OK, so here's my question: can it really be made this simply, or was there maybe something my Dad did that I don't remember? If it does work, what would be the drawback? Will I get vinegar? Will it just never start?

Thanks!!
 

Old Philosopher

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My advice is to explore this site, search on key words, and find what basic info you need by asking questions.
I started a batch of wine based upon info on a "preparedness" forum, where the guy claimed he made 200 gallons a year, doing just what you describe your Dad doing. Holy, crap! Big mistake on my part. The first 3 gallons of junk went down the toilet. I got on a couple sites, but the folks there were too uppity, and condescending.
Then I found this site, and read a lot. Wade and the gang here are straight shooters. Everyone has their favorite methods, including using every additive, enhancer, favorite yeast, etc., but they'll give you good advice knowing your resources. There are sound reasons for doing a certain number of things in a certain way, and will make the difference between enjoying your efforts, and turning out belly wash.
Hell, during Prohibition they made gin in bathtubs, so anything is possible. It just depends on whether you're serious, or not.
 

1st Timer

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First of all welcome!!!

You are starting out the same way I did and you can definately tell a difference in the old fashioned way versus modern. Your way will work because that was the way I did my first batch, not that good by the way.....Drinkable but that was debatable! I re-made the same batch with help from these folks and friends & family raved about it. With all that being said, I would either purchase a kit using the called for chemicals/equipment or look for some recipes that break it all down for you. There are plenty under the recipe tab in this forum, use the search. Find a local brew supply company or just search on-line.

I have found that equipment, cleanliness, patience and utilizing the search feature in this forum are a virtue in wine making! I wish you could buy the patience....

Good Luck!
 

Old Philosopher

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... I've been reading on a lot of sites that you have to add other ingredients, and leave it open for the first 4-7 days, then rack it and put an air lock on it for the secondary fermentation. I've read that if you put an air lock on it in the beginning, that bad stuff usually happens. Granted, what my Dad made wouldn't win any awards, and a real wine conissour wouldn't even consider it wine, but I liked it, and I'm trying to reproduce it.
OK, so here's my question: can it really be made this simply, or was there maybe something my Dad did that I don't remember? If it does work, what would be the drawback? Will I get vinegar? Will it just never start?

Thanks!!
It might be a bit before I'm back here, so I'll give you some words of encouragement from the git-go.
After I got on this site, I found the basics I'd been missing. I was VERY lucky that my bro-in-law (may he R.I.P.) was a wine maker. I was fortunate enough to find his hydrometer, stoppers and airlocks.
Going by taste, my first batch appears to be more than just drinkable. Here's what I started with:
1) 2 five-gallon food grade buckets
2) A whole bunch of plums from my tree
3) Organic sugar
4) Bread yeast (bulk)
(Okay you guys, stop wincing!!! :h)
5) A 3 gallon plastic "carboy" from the grocery store meant for filtered water
6) Syphon hose with a clamp

The most critical piece of equipment to start is the hydrometer. Without it, you're firing blanks in the dark.

Airlock: For your secondary fermenter. Let's the carbon dioxide out of your secondary, and keeps the oxygen from getting in.

I just received my sulfite and sorbate, so now I can "stabilize" my wine to prevent any more unwanted fermentation.

Beyond that, you can get as fussy as you want.

I'm sure the gang here with add to this list for you. I'm just saying how basic my introduction into it was.
 

speedy5966

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That was fast!

Thanks for all the quick replies! Sounds like maybe one if a few things were going on: my Dad was REALLY lucky; he was doing something I didn't know about; or my memory of it tastes better than the wine did. Either way, I think I'll plan on modernizing, at least enough to make sure I don't make a gallon of vinegar, or a gallon of toilet function check fluid. :)

Now if I can just find decent grapes....if not, maybe a batch of cranberry wine, since they'e in season.

Thanks again, guys!!

I'll keep you posted
 

Old Philosopher

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Check with your local grocer about scoring a crate of what ever fruit he ordered too much of.
 

Torch404

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Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods
~ Sandor Ellix Katz

I was just flipping through this book the other night. It goes over fermenting pretty much anything and has a section on alcohol. He has a bunch of great recipes for various alcoholic drinks. Most of them are traditional and made in a few days and consumed as soon as finished. this is how alcohol is made all over the world through out history, just like your dad did.

He then goes on to explain how the craft of winemaking as we know it is one of refinement. Where people were trying to make a better and better product that will last longer and longer. In Europe they had the technology to bottle, clarify, and store wine where traditional people did not have those options available. It all depends on what you are looking for. It's got some good info if your looking to culture stuff other then wine :D

There is an alcohol drink I forget the name but the women of the village spend the day chewing up corn and spitting it into a large bowl. That bowl is left to ferment and then everyone drinks the fermented corn spit...sounds yummy doesn't it?? :d
 

Old Philosopher

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Hahaha! Yeah, there ya go! Yummm! :f

You want to really try something simple, and quick like Torch says, you could always make Makilie (or Makkoli). Throw raw rice into a bucket, fill it with water and let it sit for about a month. Drink what doesn't stick to your teeth.

(It's a traditional Korean alcoholic drink made out in the country, and boy...you sure know you tied one on, the next day!)
 

kiljoy

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Speedy,

People made wine like you father did for millennia. We also did surgery without penicillin. You had a poor chance of surviving though. So, you can go old school and make 19th century wine or you can make 21st century wine. Using modern techniques simply increases you wine making survival. That’s all. Happy Brewing!

I posted these recipes from my 1800’s cookbook if you were interested.
http://www.winemakingtalk.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=205&d=1242685846
 

Wade E

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You sure can do it that way and putting an airlock o it in the beginning will not cause rm if you gave it a good stir and have enough roo in there for the wine to breath and not foam over into the tube. You dont need to rack it over after a few days as there is a blnket of C02 in the vessel to protect your wine from oxidation. I woul really not rely on wild yeast though as you are risking your wine havin funky flavors or smells. Get the juice, sulfite it to stu the wild yeast and add a good wine yeast and youll have a better product and a packet of yeast costa around $1.00
 

speedy5966

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...and then everyone drinks the fermented corn spit.
EEEWWWWWWWWW!!!!

Also, is there anything in wild plums that necessitate adding other juices or ingredints? Every recipe I see calls for at least some grape juice.

Thanks again, all!
 

speedy5966

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....fermented corn spit....EEEWWWWWW!!

Thanks again for all the advice!
I'll get some sulfite tomorrow, and get started. I could only find red flame grapes, and black grapes. The reds seem to have quite a bit of flavor, so I'm going to use those on their own for one batch. The black ones don't seem to have as much flavor, so I thought I'd throw in a few raspberries to add some tartness and some flavor. Other that a little more sugar to reach the desired SG, is there anything else I should know about raspberries in wine?
 

speedy5966

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Thanks!

....fermented corn spit....EEEWWWWWW!!

Thanks again for all the advice!
I'll get some sulfite tomorrow, and get started. I could only find red flame grapes, and black grapes. The reds seem to have quite a bit of flavor, so I'm going to use those on their own for one batch. The black ones don't seem to have as much flavor, so I thought I'd throw in a few raspberries to add some tartness and some flavor. Other that a little more sugar to reach the desired SG, is there anything else I should know about raspberries in wine?
 

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