Wow, Kim’s friends really came through! Thursday, Kim brought over a giant bucket of peaches from their tree:
I got just over 15.5 pounds, once I’d taken out the bad bits and rotting fruits. 12.5 of that is going to be Peach Perfection wine, and 3 (with the addition of a farmers’ market pound from Ela Family Farms) will be peach melomel. The last 6 ounces or so are in the freezer, reserved for the Christmas wine. Here’s what 12.5 pounds of prepared peaches in a 6-gallon bucket looks like:
It seems oddly small, but that’s 2 mesh bags of pitted, sliced peaches. Jolyon had to help me get the fruit into the bags. I froze the whole lot and then defrosted, since that really seems to make a difference in the juice yield, and since I had 15 lbs. of fruit I couldn’t quite deal with yet. After we got the peaches in the primary, I poured 4 gallons of boiling water over, and then, when that was cooled, I added tannin and 2 ounces of pectic enzyme. (That actually necessitated a run to Wine & Whey, because the enzyme comes in 1-oz. containers, and I only had 1.8 oz. left.) Tonight, I will take the fruit out and put the juice into the carboy. It’s an unusual process, actually. Into that, then, go all the other additives except the yeast and sugar. I’ll dissolve about half the sugar in hot water in the primary bucket, and when that’s cooled sufficiently, add it to the carboy. Then I add enough water to bring it to the shoulder of the jug, and then I pitch the yeast. We’ll see how that all goes! The damned vinegar flies are losing their tiny minds for all this peachy goodness, so it’s been a tiny bit on the unpleasant side, keeping them out of muh bidness. So far, so good, though.
I started the melomel over the weekend, too. It was a more familiar process: I prepared the peaches, put them in the mesh bag, added sugar, crushed Campden, pectic enzyme, and tannin. Then I boiled the honey (2 lbs.) in twice as much water, skimming off the scum. When there didn’t seem to be any more scum rising, I poured the mixture over the peaches and let that sit for 24 hours. Then I added the yeast and yeast nutrient to some orange juice in a large bottle, let that sit for a couple hours, and pitched the yeast. I hope it was really activated– I used a big plastic bottle instead of a jar, since the recipe called for a cup and a half of juice, and I didn’t have a jar large enough to allow for that and the fermentation. I guess I’ll know when I stir the mixture tonight. I’ll also try to get pictures, since both are kind of pretty orangey-pink colors.
My other weekend excitement was bottling the rhubarb wine. I opted just to pour the wine through a sterilized funnel instead of messing with the siphon equipment. It was actually quite easy, and I was pleased to get a nice, tidy 5 bottles of wine. I was also pleased at how easy the hand-corker is to use. You just pop a sterilized cork into the hole on top, place the little grips over the neck of the bottle, and bring the arms of the unit down. Oddly satisfying. I kept the bottles upright for 24 hours, as directed, lest they explode, but I was pretty sure they didn’t especially need it, since there was no residual fizz when I bottled. And now the bottles are delightfully resting in my wine rack, next to the remaining bottle of Malbec we made in class. I just need to design my labels, which I think I can do today or tomorrow. And, of course, wait. And wait and wait. The patience thing is definitely the hardest part of this endeavor. It must be good for me somehow, right?