Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Let the Fermentation Begin

The reason I haven't been blogging as often as I would like, is because I feel I need to complete something before I talk about it.  But some things aren't that quick.  Some things are a long process.  Sometimes I have a lot of unfinished projects.....

The lengthiest one underway now is our first batch of wine.  We had buckets and buckets of pears that aren't worthy of eating.  So what's the next best thing to eating? Drinking.  Yep.  Winemaking has been around for oh, about 9,000 years. fruit and time equals a great opportunity to make booze.

Everyone says oh, it's cheap to make wine.  When was the last time you bought a carboy?  They ain't cheap.  Neither is shipping.  We DID get a great kit with minimal shipping and now that we have a batch brewing, er fermenting, whatever, we need another carboy or two for our muscadine wine coming up next.  There's a wine supply store in Mobile, so I'm hoping hubby can stop there this week and pick up a carboy or two for under $60.  BUT once you have all of the equipment, it IS cheap.  The ingredients consists of fruit/grapes, yeast, and sugar.

We got a kit big enough to make 6 gallons, which is 30 bottles of wine. That's great.  The bad news? It takes a year to make wine. Dang!  We better get  started ASAP.

Making wine really doesn't seem to be that complicated, just technical.  There's a lot of new lingo to learn: must, racking, specific gravity, carboy, bunghole (haha), and so on.  I did some reading and some researching to find out exactly how to do it.  Turns out there are lots of methods and varying recipes.  I found 4 good pear wine, aka perry, recipes.  I blended them to create my own.  I hope it works.  I hope we don't wait a year to find out it didn't!!!

Instead of waiting a year to blog about our wine, I'll just keep ya posted as we go.  Also, this is sort of my online diary, so when I forget what I did when, I can always look it up here.  Now do you feel weird reading my diary? Should I write about my feelings too? =)

Some pictures:

I thought 6 pounds of sugar would be enough...after adding this big pile I checked the specific gravity and added about 5 more pounds!  I can't believe there is 11 pounds of sugar in this batch.

This is our 6+ gallon bucket with the cut up pears.

 I think this is about 25 pounds of pears.

Add boiling water and let soak for 72 hours.

 These are some of the ingredients we used.  We can label our wine as "made with organic pears" but we can't call it organic wine.  From what I understand, it is quite a difficult undertaking to make organic wine because of the added sulfites.

After 72 hours the directions said to pour off the liquid and squeeze out the fruit.  Well that seemed like a lot of work and then we wouldn't be left with much actual pear.  So I had this bright idea to puree the pears and then squeeze them.

 Um, yeah...this was going to be a long process.

Then I had a better idea! Juice the pears!

There we go, now we have pear juice and no hand squeezing necessary.  I did have to sterilize all of the juicing equipment first.

What's that fist shaped indention in the pulp you ask?  Uh, did I mention I was drinking wine while making wine?  I like to punch weird things, like fruit pulp and packages of toilet paper in the grocery store.

Now, I'm stirring the must twice a day for 7 days.

We have a few more days until the next step.  I'll keep ya posted!

If anyone is interested, here is the recipe:

Hargraves' Perry Recipe
Pears - 25 pounds
Sugar - 10+ pounds (add 6 at first, then add more to adjust SG)
Acid Blend - lemon juice from one lemon 
Pectic Enzyme - 2½ teaspoons 
Yeast Nutrient - 3 teaspoons 
Campden Tablets - 3 each 
36 raisins
Yeast Lalvin - 1 package
6 gallons boiling water


1.   Remove the stems from the fruit, cut the fruit into quarters, and put it in a large sterilized plastic vessel. 
2.   Dissolve Campden Tablets in the boiling water, and pour the water over the fruit, fill to 6 gallons stirring well. 
3.   Tightly cover the vat.

After 72 hours
1.   Pour off the liquid and press out the fruit. (This is where I decided to juice the fruit)
2.   Add sugar, adjusting the SG to 1.090. 
3.   Add lemon juice, yeast nutrient, pectic enzyme, tannin or raisins, and yeast culture. 
4.   Cover
5.   Stir twice daily for 7 days.

After 7th day, End of 7th day? I’m not clear on this
1.   Remove to a glass vessel with an air lock. 
2.   Rack in 3 weeks, again at 3 months. 
When the wine is clear, stabilize, and bottle.


  1. Congrats on your new project and I'm sure it will turn out well. Keep us posted on how the process is doing. All of your other blogs are so interesting that I'm going to experiment with your figgy paper. Aka fruit roll ups. Can't wait to try with other fruits. Love your blogs keep up the good work and looking to reading more.

    1. Thank you so much! I'm glad you're enjoying and commenting.

  2. Pear Wine sounds great. I've made Pear Butter. Looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

  3. The "7th day" timing doesn't have to be precise. Basically it's a ballpark of the time it will take for the yeast to start flocculating (that is, clumping together and falling out of suspension). Look for the surface to be calm; the bubbling should subside and the visible yeast should sink. Then rack to get it off the tannin/pectin sludge, dead yeast, etc. You're on a slippery slope to an addictive hobby. ;)

    1. Ok, thanks for the advice. I definitely see how this could become addictive. I want to make a wine from everything in season.

  4. Wow! awesome recipe for home wine making from pears. I would love to try this at my home too.

  5. Very's all so involved yet you make it look so easy! And entertaining :-D!

    1. It is overwhelming how involved everything seems to be at first. I was very nervous about the wine. I had to do A LOT of research before I felt competent enough to begin. Once you get started, it's not that big of a deal. It's always the first step that seems hardest.

  6. I love the way the wine smells as it ferments. It's such a "homey" smell to me.