The old apartment climbs in heat, dangerously higher than the fruit could handle. Another day and work-worn, I go to our borrowed and air-conditioned abode. There, even a few defrosted blueberries have started fuzzing white with mold. Still hopeful for the batch, I toss the kin of Verminus out.
Hands purified (and not trusting my feet), I start the crush. Gravity has already broken a few berries. I could pour boiling water to start extraction, but that would water down the final result. I want a rich dry wine and adding water means adding sugar to keep the potential alcohol high (for each gram of sugar, I will get half a gram of alcohol). If I went down that path too soon, everything would taste like cane sugar not blueberries.Now any reasonable/rich winemaker would have a machine crusher/destemmer do all the work for them. Even body weight on feet or ancient plank presses would be more efficient than this. But how would I be sure that every berry met its fate? Hand crushing. I get more juice with natural sugars and flavors closer to the source. Yet after an hour of smashing, I’m spent. This really, really sucks.However, succumbing to the sweet siren call of using a potato masher would draw this ship to rocky ruin. Seeds contain nasty, astringent green-tasting tannins. Only flesh (or expensive tech) can break fruit without breaking seeds. So I press on…

Finally unbound from my mast, I need to separate juice from skins. Easy! I take my siphoning tube and pump. And pump. And…damnit! Nothing. The end is jammed. Plan B: Filter press them apart. Trying not stain the new (borrowed) apartment red, I slow pour into a filter bag. Once full, I squeeze the bag, dump the dry skins back in the crush bucket and pour it back into the bag.I keep at it for an hour but like a Promethean liver, juice keeps emerging with each cycle. The bag then breaks. But I string it up and kept going. This pressing process should get me 15-30% more juice than otherwise.Black fingered and exhausted by one in the morning, I quit. Almost ten pounds of blueberries had given me only three fourths of a gallon of juice and a hideous purple blob. Fermentation, racking and aging would evaporate the juice even further. Once the angles had taken their share, only a few bottles would remain.
Whatever. I re-bag the blob to ferment later with the juice. A CO2 blend is sprayed to protect the juice and then covered. Worry-worn, I wander back to my superheated apartment. The next day should see air-conditioning -and thus my wine to be- return home.


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This entry was posted in BLUEBERRY BOUND: CRAFTING MY SECOND WINE (AUGUST 2010) and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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