Work. Wine. Work. Wine. Work. Wine.
The days blur my routine of tests and checks, morning and evening with my time at work. Selling and making the stuff eats my hours. But soon fermentation will stop. Soon all I will need is patience.
Three days pass. The tank still hovers around 70 degrees Fahrenheit: warmer than I’d like but fine. The yeasts have created nearly five percentages of alcohol. We’re half way home.
Curious, I sterilize a glass and taste my midway wine.
Although yeasts are microscopic, they’ve multiplied so massively that the wine is hazy, nearly opaque. The yellow green luster is now grey. The wine is fizzy and somewhat alcoholic like beer. As we near dryness, citrus notes and acidity are gaining on a wine that is now only moderately sweet. The flavors remain mild, pear-like.
By day four, the alcohol jumps: only a quarter of the sugars remain. By day five, another jump leaves only 3 percentages to go.
Now that sugars are harder to find, the yeasts slow down.
The graph below shows this gradual, rapid, gradual arc:
The graph also shows that yeasts thrive in warmer temperatures. Their progress is slower at night than during the day. This matched changes in room temperature. If I had kept the wine fridged, where it’s constant and dark, the bell curve would have been smoother. Instead, yeasts woke up with the sun and slept with the night.
We’re nearly done.
I need to remember: this isn’t a race. Slower, cooler fermentations can lead to wines that better express their fruit flavors. Why? Because the yeasts have time to convert the grape’s chemical components into esters that you can smell and taste.
But I’m not going to risk chilling my yeasts into unconsciousness. For now, a stable wine is enough.
The airlock keeps popping. Once it stops, so will the CO2. With that gaseous blanket gone, my wine will be exposed to oxygen. Then I must stabilize and rack it.