Sunday, December 18, 2011
The Great Fake Wine Experiment
Lemme 'splain here. I call it "Fake" for a few reasons. Foremost is that it uses not real grapes but frozen grape juice concentrate. Almost foremost is that it's incredibly simple and doesn't putz about with things like actually knowing what you're doing and having a goal of a particular type of wine. Another is that it doesn't use wine specific equipment like, say, a glass container and a real airlock.
For some reason, about 30 years ago, my normally teetotaler dad decided he wanted to make wine. The basement is still full of wine he bottled no telling how long ago. Some of his wine actually didn't have a bad taste, and some of it was only good for pouring down the drain. Through the years, he got concerned about his body's sugar levels and started making drier wines. Those are the ones that make me shudder. Then, again, I'm not a big wine aficionado.
Anyway, cleaning out the basement got me wondering about the wine he made, the taste it had and just what kind of wine could be made simply but that also I might like to drink or cook with. So I did a little recipe and video internet cruising and decided to try the "Great Fake Wine Experiment."
Here's the basic easy, peasy recipe:
4 cans frozen grape juice concentrate
4 lbs of sugar
1 package of yeast
4 gallons of water
Basically you combine all these things in a container, top with a balloon or vinyl glove, and let it simmer.
Dad left 4-5 carboys (what a stoopid name for a water container) in the basement, which are so grimy and discolored I can't decide whether or not to try to clean them up or just toss them. For my experiment, Max and I visited the gourmet store, Wal-Mart, and bought a 5-gallon jug of water. I poured the water into various containers (an old milk carton, a few half-gallon mason jars, and finally a crock pot,) and began assembling this great recipe.
Third, I added the sugar syrup made from dissolving the sugar in the water. I should have added the yeast after that but forgot and had to untape the glove and add the yeast after I thought I was finished. I sloshed the grape juice and sugar syrup around to mix well. Then I added the remaining 3.5 gallons of water. By this time it was heavy enough I begged Max to do this next round of slosh mixing.
By this afternoon, the glove was beginning to fill with air, and you can see little bubbles popping to the top of the mixture.
We'll see how long it takes.