Thursday was my anniversary, and my wife and I took the day Friday to run up to Highlands, NC for a day of relaxing without kids. We had some wonderful food, enjoyed the sites, went on a nice hike at the botanical garden there, and ended up purchasing a heap of peaches at a decent price (it’ll be lower later in the season). Price difference is because it’s early in the season, but the peaches themselves were right on ripe – just what I want for a peach wine. [Oh, and some peach jelly/jam…]
And so today, returning from lunch after church, I began the process of starting a new batch. That meant the normal, sanitation. Star-san solution in hand, I set to work on my fermentation bucket. I arranged my work area for washing and cutting fruit, for holding and measuring fruit, and then I got busy.
For a five gallon batch, I calculated 15 pounds of peaches (measured after removing the stones). The recipe I was adapting said that it was fine to keep the skin on. So I did, simply discarding stones and any badly bruised spots. That part actually went pretty fast, hands ending in a peachy-sweet mess, even with the regular dunking in water. All the fruit ended up in a straining bag, and that bag inside the fermentation bucket.
Going off-recipe, remembering stuff from other wines I’ve done lately, I took 12 ounces of pitted dates and blended in a blender with water (about a third of a gallon). This date blend was then tossed into the fermentation bag as well. I tied off the bag and used my cleaned hands to crush the peaches into a “gloppy” mass. In the end, I had the primary bucket at the 2 gallon mark with liquidy solids.
That all done, I set to work on the sugar and water. The recipe specified 2.25 pounds of sugar for a gallon. That meant my five gallon batch would need 11.25 pounds. I measured it out and into a pot with 2 gallons of water, and brought that to heat so that I could get it all into solution. Wasn’t really trying to boil, so didn’t. I poured it in on top of the fruit with another 1.6 gallons of water (total of 4 gallons water all told), and could not really fit another drop in the bucket. I’ll likely have to top up once the solids are removed.
I need to add pectic enzyme, but unfortunately, the heat is too high from the heated sugar-water solution. But I did add the other chemicals – 1.25 tsp. wine tannin, 7.5 tsp. acid blend (!), and 5 tsp. of yeast nutrient. I put the lid on, added an air lock just to plug the hole, and went to a baptism service.
Arriving home just a bit ago, it looks like I still can’t quite add the pectic enzyme. Temperature is registering around 90°F. So…