Standing on a small wooden chair I drop the grapes into the grinder stem and all.
The easy part is over.
On Friday, I purchased 13 cases of grapes: 10 old vine Zinfandel; 2 Muscato; and 1 Alicante. I’ve been using this recipe for years. My father always said to add the white Muscato grapes because they’re sweeter and will generate a higher alcohol content. The red Alicante grapes, he said, are good to add color.
On Sunday, with the help of some good friends, I crushed all 480 pounds. To crush the grapes, you just put them in the grinder, which sits on top of the oak barrel, and turn the crank. The grapes are not really crushed: the grinder merely pops them open and drops them into the barrel.
After the crushing, I covered the barrel with cheesecloth to keep out the dust.
It usually takes a few days before the grapes start fermenting. Fermentation starts when you hear a low rumbling noise, similar to water boiling. However, this batch started fermenting early.
This morning when I woke up, I went down the to the RootsLiving wine cellar, pressed my ear up against the wood barrel and heard the most beautiful sound.