Wine Making, Our New Adventure

December - Primary Fermenter
We drove to our country house to check on the merlot that's been fermenting since December.

Racking wine basically means siphoning it from one vessel to another, leaving dead yeast and other sediment behind.

The primary fermenter, shown in the photo at left, is actually a food-grade plastic bucket with a tight-fitting lid and an airlock to let the carbon dioxide out and keep oxygen and anything else out.

Last time darling hubby was here, he removed the oak chips and the elderberries we'd used to "soften" the merlot then he racked (siphoned) the wine from the primary fermenter (plastic bucket) into a 6-gallon glass carboy.

3 Weeks Later

Now we're here to rack it again because the fermentation should be completed. Just to make sure the fermentation is completed--the yeast has consumed all the sugar and turned it into alcohol--we'll let it stay in the carboy another few weeks before bottling it.

Carboy of wine before we racked it tonight.
I didn't want to do it tonight, but darling hubby was excited to test it and taste it. So we got started about 7:00pm. We had to sanitize everything just before using it. Then we had to clean and sanitize another carboy since we were racking from 1 carboy to another.

Turns out the second carboy we brought for the job was not the same capacity. Our mistake in grabbing the wrong size. So we ended up racking twice since we had to clean and sanitize the original one and rack back into it.

Cleanliness Is Next to Godliness

Remember that old saying? My mom used to say it all the time. She would have made a good winemaker because you have to be vigilant about cleanliness and sanitation. I tell you cleaning these big glass carboys is a job!

Thankfully, we got it all done including the final cleanup.

The Taste

The smell is very fragrant--just like wine! The taste? It's very young now. We'll rack it again in a month or more and taste again.

I imagine we'll age it another 6 months after that before we taste again. Maybe by New Year's it might taste good enough to have a glass even though it will still be young and will get better with more aging.

Hobby Can Take Over Your World

My darling hubby Larry has been interested in wine making for several years. Because he's interested, I'm interested.

This year we're having land prepared and will do a grape planting. We've been buying wine grape juice for wine making, but we want to eventually experiment with our own grapes. Or so we think. Of course, it will be a few years before our grapes may be wine worthy.

Would Love to Sell Movie Option

*LOL* That would pay for our next wine maker needs: a building. Our wine making utensils and supplies are scattered all over the kitchen and the laundry room here. I think we'll need to make a decision this year on whether we also want to have a dedicated building erected for this hobby that is taking over our world.

Not only do we need space for supplies and fermenting, racking, and bottling, but we also need storage space. This batch of merlot will add about 30 bottles to our "cellar" which is really the back of the very large pantry here.

At home, we have a wine experiment in a primary fermenter. It's a small batch of apple wine from a wine recipe I found in an old wine making book. The apple wine is supposed to be like a dry white wine when finished. It will yield 5 bottles. I'm hoping it will taste similar to a Blanc du Bois.

Takeaway Truth

All in all, this is a great adventure. I'll keep you posted on how our little boutique winery grows. Eventually, we hope to have some wonderful "sunshine in a glass" that we made, bottled, and aged.


  1. Sounds like fun! And work. Lots of work. I hope the wine is delicious.

  2. It is work which I object to on general principles. *LOL* I hope it tastes good too, but we'll have to wait about a year to really know.