26 April 2008

Fruit Wine Making - Helpful Tips from 周老師

Thanks to 周老師 who has been replying my queries despite her busy schedule, I got a clearer picture of making fruit wine now. Sharing with all of you who're interested to know more, especially those who do not comprehend Chinese.

Q: 想请问您,我读过一些酿酒法,是把水果与糖装进瓶子里,一摆就摆上一两个月,甚至更久。也无需把蓋子旋鬆,放掉二氣化碳。这样的酿酒法酿出来的酒,与您的有何分别?会危险吗,瓶子是否会爆裂?酒随着时间会变质或变坏吗?这种酿酒法一般需要多久时间才能把酒酿好?

A: 不可能”把水果与糖装进瓶子里,一摆就摆上一两个月,甚至更久。也无需把蓋子旋鬆,放掉二氣化碳。”


Q: I read about another method of making fruit wine, is to place the fruits and sugar into the container for 1-2 months, or even longer. There is no mention of loosing the cover to release the carbon dioxide produced. What's the difference in the wine produced compared to your method? Is this method dangerous, will the container explode? Will the quality of the wine be affected or spoilt with time? How long does it take to harvest the wine using the mentioned method?

A: It is impossible to "place the fruits and sugar into the container for 1-2 months, or even longer and never loosen the cover to release the carbon dioxide". The container will explode.

Of course, if you add fruits and sugar to liquor, then it's possible. But that is not fermenting wine, that is soaking fruit wine, it will not produce carbon dioxide.

Q: I'm interested to make my own lychee wine. Can I follow the method of one layer of grapes followed by one layer of white sugar? I just need to peel away the shell and seeds and put the whole fruit and juice in the jar? Need to loosen (but not fully open) the cap occasionally during the first 7 days to let out the carbon dioxide? How long does this lychee wine take to harvest? Is it about 8 days, like the grape wine? And how long can we keep the wine and residue? What is the correct way to store them?

A: 一層葡萄一層糖的方法台灣挺多人用的,因為葡萄沒捏破,所以要泡久一點,其它差不多;

A: A layer of grapes followed by a layer of sugar is used by quite a number of people in Taiwan. As the grapes are not squeezed open, you'll need to leave it longer to harvest, the rest of the steps are similar.

For lychee, remove the skin and seed will do. Cover the container, release the carbon dioxide occasionally (cannot stir). The speed/duration to harvest fruit wine depends on factors such as the surrounding temperature, amount of yeast, the size and softness of fruits and amount of sugar. There is no fixed timing, but once there is no new bubbles produced in the container, the wine is ready for harvest. It can be as fast as 5-6 days or as slow as 2-3 months.

After harvest, remove the residue from the wine. Fill into container and keep in the fridge, that is the best way of storage, can store up to a few years. But must remember to fill up the storage container to almost full and closed properly. Release the cover every alternate day. If there is gas gushing out of the bottle, it means fermentation is not fully completed. The wine can still be consumed, but you need to release the gas every now and then.

Q: 谢谢您以上的解答。依您以上所说,酿荔支酒只需荔支去皮去籽就可以。需要加糖吗?我现在在酿葡萄酒,可用葡萄滓来帮助荔支發酵吗?如果不加糖或葡萄滓,能酿成荔支酒吗?


A: 荔支酒和葡萄酒一樣,加不加糖隨意,不加糖就是不甜的荔支酒;

Q: Thanks for your above reply. According to your explanation above, making lychee wine only need to remove the lychee skin and seed. Do we need to add sugar? I'm making grape wine now, can I use the grape residue to help the lychee wine ferment? If I do not add sugar or grape residue, will the lychee wine fails to ferment?

When the grape wine completes its fermentation, do I need to squeeze out the wine from the grape residue?

A: Lychee wine is similar to grape wine, it's up to individual whether to add sugar or not. Without sugar, you'll get a non-sweet lychee wine.
If you wish to add sugar, maximum amount is 1/4 of the weight of lychee.
Adding a little grape residue makes it easier to ferment. Without the grape residue, sometimes the lychee wine may fail as the amount of yeast in the fruit is less.

When filtering the grape wine,you can choose to squeeze or not to squeeze out the wine in the residue. I usually do not squeeze it out into the wine so as to have a clear wine. I will squeeze out the residue separately for own consumption.

Q: 我刚在一些书本上读到自制水果酵素,方法于酿水果酒很相似。请问这两者有何不同?

A: 自製水果酵素,原理就是”釀酒會產生大量酵母,酵母會產生酵素”,所以根本是一回事;

Q: I've just read some books on homemade fruit enzyme, the method is very close to making fruit wine. May I know what's the difference between these two?

A: The logic behind making fruit enzyme is this. Fermenting wine will produce large amount of yeast, which will in turn produce enzyme. So they're actually the same thing. It's just like while dough can be used to make bread for consumption, it can also be used to cultivate wild yeast.


Gina Choong said...

wah..WF, very good! thanks for all the write up in English and also in Chinese. I just harvested the star fruit wine..so strong! no bubbles so i just pour it out. I am running out of jars now. My apple wine should be ready to harvest by tomorrow.

KWF said...

I thought others who don't read Chinese will find these tips useful.

You mean your star fruit wine has no bubbling from start, or the bubbling stop? Does it taste sweet or sour? Nice? My grape wine still bubbling, so I'm going to leave it for a while more.

Gina Choong said...

WF, I harvest it already. it stop bubbling today. it taste sweet with the strong after flavour of wine. Ah lao said its very nice and I also use a bit to marinate pork! hahaha!

Anonymous said...

hi i'm interested in making the grape wine too! :D must i use a glass jar? plastic can? coz i cant find a glass one big enough. :X thanks for your translation! (:


KWF said...

cch, it's best to use a glass bottle so that you can sterilize it before use. I'm not too sure if a plastic bottle will do. Unless you intend to harvest a lot of wine, you do not need a very big bottle. The first time I did my grape wine was using a 1 litre bottle, but of course you won't bet a lot. You can get bigger glass jars from IKEA.

I'm now making my second batch of grape wine in a bigger jar, it can take about 1.5 kg of crushed grapes.

Anonymous said...

I am living in Singapore. You really got me interested in trying to make wine from grapes. I am trying it. I actually wiped the grapes dry with tissues after rinsing them before crushing them. I covered the casserole dish with cloth and kept it in an unused oven. It has been 5 days. I tasted it-tastes sweet like grape juice. Could it be that it did not ferment? Could rice wine yeast actually be added to the juice to cause fermentation? I have made rice wine before and have the yeast at home. I hope you could advise me. Thank you.

KWF said...

Tracy, did you see any bubbling? If it's 5th day, the fermentation may not have completed. What is the % of sugar you used? I once tried a higher % and the wine turned out to be like super sweet juice. Could yours be the same case as mine? As long as it has not turned mouldy, it should be ok.

I've not tried adding wine yeast to fresh fruits. But some of my friends actually add wine yeast to dried fruits to make wine. I suggest you try a second batch. I remember 周老师 mention not to over-clean the grapes as we may wash off the natural yeast. So do take note of that too.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your thoughts. I didn't really see big bubbles like yours, but it doesn't seem to have turned mouldy either. I am wondering what to do with it. I might have really overcleaned it.

Anonymous said...

I strained the grape juice into a glass bottle & threw away the crushed grapes. The bottle was screwed tightly. Last night, after I replied to your comment, I checked on it. There are small bubbles along the edge of the surface. When I unscrewed the cap, I could hear a release of gas. It looks as if it is fermenting afterall. However, the bubbles are very small-like yr pic when you first started. In your case, how many does did it take for fermentation to complete?

KWF said...

Tracy, fermentation completes in about 7-8 days, when the bubbling seems to have stopped, i.e. not much bubbling even if you give it a gentle shake.