Extracting Flavour From Your Fruit

Now it comes to the fun part where we take our ingredients and try to capture as much flavour and aroma from them as we can. I’m sure people have tried hundreds of ways to extract as much flavour and colour from fruit as possible but generally the methods fall into 2 or 3 categories, I like to use the simplest as much as possible (why make things harder for yourself).

_1267167

 

Hot Water Infusion

This method is simple and that’s probably why it’s so commonly used in 90% of the wine recipes you see. All there is to it is to put your prepared fruit into your primary fermenting vessel (usually a bucket) and pour over an appropriate amount of boiling water. Sugar can be added at this stage too and the boiling water will help to dissolve it. This mixture can be left to infuse for a few days then the solids separated by straining before adding the yeast  to begin fermentation

Pulp Fermentation

With this method you again chop, mash or crush your fruit and add a desired amount of water, at this stage you may add a campden tablet to “sanitise” the fruit which may have bacteria or wild yeasts on and allow to sit for 24 hours. After this point sugar, nutrients and any other additions can go in as well as the yeast. After a few hours the yeast will begin working and extracting as much sugar from the fruit as they can along with colour and flavour compounds. After the initial burst of fermentation the solids can be separated by straining and further fermentation and clearing happens in the demijohn.

Direct Heat Extraction

With direct heat you are essentially stewing the fruit. The prepared fruit is put in a pan with a small amount of water and heated to break it down. This method of extraction should only be used in certain circumstances. The flavour and aroma of fruit is altered by cooking and that flavour isn’t greatly suited for wine.

Pressing

Pressing is by far the most labour intensive method of extraction and will require further equipment, for this reason it’s usually not the best method for the average home wine maker. Pressing is what is used to make grape wines which involves crushing the fruit in a mechanical press.

Flavour Is The Key

Just remember that what you want to achieve with these methods, you want to retain the very essence of the fruit you are using to make the wine. If you are making a wine with delicate berries I myself would prefer to steer away from dousing them in boiling water which may remove some of those delicate flavour compounds.

All About Wine Yeast

Wine YeastYeast may be one of the most important ingredients in any wine. Regardless of the flavouring ingredient whether it be fruit, flower or vegetable without yeast there wouldn’t be any wine. This is the reason why it’s good to know a little bit about these wonderful organisms.

All About Yeast

Without yeast there would be no wine. Yeast are responsible for turning sugar to alcohol and they do this with great efficiency, but what is yeast? Basically they are classed as a fungus and are a single celled fungi that love sugary solutions whether that be from flour used for making bread, barley for making beer or fruit for making wine.

The purpose of yeast isn’t to make alcohol (although that’s the purpose brewers use it for), this is just a byproduct of them growing and trying to reproduce as quickly as possible. Yeast consume sugar by creating enzymes that help them digest it and along with producing alcohol they also produce carbon dioxide in equal measure (this carbon dioxide is what gives bread its holey texture and beer its fizz).

When we make a wine we add sugar in a certain quantity and the yeast will consume as much of that sugar as they can in order to grow up to a certain point. Yeast can tolerate alcohol up to a certain point but when the levels of alcohol present get too high it poisons them and they begin dying. This is why there is a limit of around 14-16% to the alcoholic strength of wines.

Yeast In Wine Making

So as a wine maker we create a sweet solution with water, sugar and a flavouring like fruit which also adds a small amount of sugar. To this we add yeast which removes as much of the sugar that it can. If there is too much sugar for it to consume it leaves a residual amount which will result in a sweet wine or a dessert wine, if it can consume all the sugar the result is a dry wine.

The yeast also creates some of its own flavour compounds as it goes about fermenting. Some of these flavours are good and some are not so desirable. The good thing about yeast however is they will clean up these undesirable flavours in time. This is why it’s important to allow the yeast an adequate amount of time to ferment your wine and then fall out of suspension.

What About Bakers Yeast

I would strongly urge you to steer clear of bread yeast. If you want to make good wines then one made with a dedicated wine yeast will always be better than one made with bakers yeast. You’ve got to think of the yeast as an ingredient, this means chooseing a strain of yeast for the type of wine you are making whether that be a red wine like a Burgundy or a white like a Chablis. There are hundreds of wine yeasts to choose from so go for one of those and leave the bakers yeast for making bread.