The Pinotage grapes have now completely defrosted and the winemaking can begin.
Fill the Huge Green Container
The first step is to get the contents from the buckets into the huge container. This isn’t necessarily an easy task since the lids are quite tight. But after some effort, the berries and juice are nicely in the container. Just look at them all happy in the container waiting for the adventure to start!
Measure initial sugar content
Before starting the fermentation, it is important to take a balling reading. For this, I used the hydrometer. My hydrometer measures the Specific Gravity and must be converted to degrees Balling (i.e. Brix). I found a nifty website with a conversion tool: http://www.brewersfriend.com/brix-converter/.
In my case, the SG is 1.100, which converts to 23.774 Balling. A rough indication of the % alcohol this wine will have is to take the sugar level and multiply by 0.58. This works out at 13.78% alcohol.
Hydrate the yeast
Before the yeast can be added to the must it should be hydrated first. This is done by adding the yeast to a mixture of the juice and water. I added 30g of yeast to 300ml of liquid (210ml water and 90 ml juice). This mixture must be kept at a temp of around 35 degrees Celcius. After 30 minutes I added some more of the juice to the yeast mixture. The must was still very cold and I wanted to prevent a yeast shock. Here are some pics from this crucial moment. The yeast smelled quite nice actually, and this feels very similar to baking bread.
Add the yeast to the must
Now the yeast can be added to the must. I simply poured the yeast mix into the must, very slowly in one spot. Here is the end result. Note the blue pool thermometer floating. One thing the kit didn’t have was a thermometer and this was the best I could get. It seems to do the job quite fine. Let’s hold thumbs for the yeast to settle and fermentation to start.