The Story of Winemaking by Andrea Fuhrmann
Many many moons ago, around 8000 BC somebody collected berries in a bucket or some sort of container. Being busy at the time the container was discarded and forgotten for days or weeks. After a while the berries started to ferment and produced the first “accidental” wine. Then the amazing thing happened, someone was brave enough to taste it. Not only tasted the “juice” nice but it had also a surprising effect on your body. In fact, it had the power to make you strong, happy, relaxed and sleepy, all at the same time.
Over 10.000 years later we can only speculate what really happened but the accident is certainly one possible scenario. The oldest winery existed 4100 BC in ancient Armenia. Evidence of a winelike substance has also been found in Egypt 3100 BC . It is believed that the pharaohs used it during their ceremonies because it looked like blood.
Around 1200 BC wine was traded by people in the Mediterraneans. It is said that the Jews started to use wine in their ceremonies about 500 BC. Places like Spain, France, Italy and Greece were perfect for winemaking due to their volcanic soil and warm climate all year around.
800 BC see’s the rise of Greece and with it came wine, a symbol of trade, religion and health. The god Dionysus in named in honor of wine. In 146 BC wine was promoted by the rising Roman empire who decided to formalise the method of winemaking. When in 380 AD the Roman Empire adopted Christianity it washed it down with their favourite drink. Wine became part of many religious ceremonies and plays a crucial part to this day.
It was back then when the Catholic church helped spreading wine to northern parts of Europe. With the exploration of the oceans and new worlds came a new drink. Wine was taken on journeys to America and even to Japan. Although it is said that the Japanese had already invented their own wine, Sake. With the South American countries new wine regions emerged.
1619 saw the French cultivating imported grape wines in Virginia. In 1659 the Dutch went to South Africa and guess what they brought with them? 1769 California entered the wine club. Most importantly all of those regions are able to produce their own brilliant wine. Finally 1788 Australia was introduced to this splendid drink which accidentally emerged almost 9000 years earlier.
If we look at the human development it is hard to ignore the spread of their favorite drink. Russians make vodka, Scots make whiskey, French make brandy, Germans make korn and Greeks make ouzo. However, we all make and love wine. Today it is sold almost everywhere on the globe and I have no doubt if we were to colonise other planets we would take the delicious juice with us.
Back to winemaking, the argument is simple. If people thousands of years ago managed to do it, so will you. Today we have far more sophisticated tools and chemicals for the trade. Yet the basic process is still the same. Considering that this tradition is so old and still so important to us, why would one not want to make their own?
The stages of winemaking:
- Primary fermentation (7 to 14 days)
- Secondary fermentation ( up to 30 days)
- Maturing and aging (up to 1 year)
- Stabilisation and clearing
Basic Sake production steps:
- Koji rice (3 days)
- Fermentation (up to 20 days)
- Straining and secondary fermentation (1 week)
- Clearing (1 week)
- Pasteurisation and bottling
- Primary fermentation container
- Secondary fermentation container Demijohn
- Airlock and rubber fittings
- Specific gravity measure
- Siphon tube and fittings
- Corker and corks
- Yeast nutrient
- Acid blend
- Fermentation stopper, campden tablets
- Clearing agent
- First Steps in Winemaking, C.J.J. Berry
- Joy of Home Wine Making by Terry A. Garey
Starter kits online :
Andrea will be doing a talk on how to make your own wine and sake: