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Margaritifer #3

Margaritifer Winery’s 3rd Wine is in the Bottles!

This morning, Molly and John came over and helped us bottle The Canali Cab 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon. It all went very smoothly, and we managed to finish before the weather got stinky hot. I had a couple sips of it, and I think it’s going to be good! We’ll drink more tonight! Pictures will be posted to www.margaritifer.com soon!

After the bottling, we drank some other wine, and Molly said it was similar to, but not as good as the Margaritifer Phoboshine Apple Wine. That’s nice. I cooked some sausages and almost burned down the house because the bbq was so filty with grease from previous barbeques. That frightened me, and so I spent some time this afternoon cleaning it up.

Thanks Molly and John for the help. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Me? Overextended? Nah.

I’ve been an insane ball of energy lately. I’m reading about 20 books and 10-20 magazines now, I’m learning 2 different programming language, making wine, planning events and more events, blogging and updating a lot of personal sites, running a growing business and a couple fun businesses, taking golf lessons, planning to start making cheese, swimming, practicing chess, trying to get a band together, trying to learn guitar, and some other stuff I’ve forgotten about.

I often enjoy having a million things going on. I’ve been trying to move at least one thing measurably forward per day. This isn’t always easy, especially with things like learning guitar where measuring progress is sometimes very difficult from day to day. But, that’s my strategy.

Lately I’m a bit worried that I’m not paying enough attention to my health, though. So, that’s the thing I’m starting to think about now. Now, here’s the big catch…I think I’d be healthier and less stressed if I worked just as hard as I do now, but on a lot fewer things. Is there anyone out there in blog-reading land who has gone from being a scatterbrain to being a focused person and found it less stressful? Can it be done?

Fun Fermentation Facts

I’ve been learning a thing or two about winemaking lately. I will now share one of those things with you.

The process that converts grape juice (or other fruits, or grains) into wine is ethanol fermentation. Here’s the formula:

C6H12O6 –>2 CO2+ 2C2H5OH + Energy Released (118 kJ mol-l)

At the most basic level, that’s all there is to it: sugar gets converted into carbon dioxide gas, ethyl alcohol and energy.

A little bit more specifically, though, here’s what happens:

When yeast come in contact with a high-sugar liquid, it starts multiplying. As it multiplies, it secretes enzymes — 5 of em. It’s these enzymes that actually do the work of breaking down the sugar to glyceric acid and glycerol and then to Pyruvic Acid (through a process called glycolysis) and then breaking that down to acetaldehyde + carbon dioxide (which bubbles away), and then converting the acetaldehyde into ethyl alcohol. What exactly are glyceric acid, glycerol, pyruvic acic, and acetaldehye, you ask? I don’t know yet, but I’ll find out.

Interestingly enough, another kind of fermentation, Lactic acic fermentation, happens in muscles of animals when the muscles need energy faster than the blood can supply oxygen.

Another interesting piece of info is that the exercise/>lose-weight-exercise/>weight of the carbon dioxide that’s produced is almost the same as the exercise/>lose-weight-exercise/>weight of the alcohol that’s produced. So, if you start with 10 lbs of sugar in your juice, you’ll end up with 5 lbs of alcohol and 5 lbs of CO2 that will have escaped. So, the crazy thing is that the wine weighs less than the juice did, but you still have the same volume. So, what changed? The density!

Specific Gravity is the ratio of the density of a liquid in relation to water. The grape juice that you start with might have a specific gravity of 1.081, and the wine you end up with might have a specific gravity of .990. From knowing how much less dense the wine is than the juice, you can figure out how much alcohol it has! Crazy.

My first wine, the Martian Red Australian Shiraz was made from juice with a specific gravity of 1.080. When it was done, it had a specific gravity of .995. One formula for calculating the alcohol content is ((Starting SG *100) – (Final SG *100)) / 7.36 . So, 1080 – 995 = 85 / 7.36 = 11.548%!

I’m going to update this article as I learn more. There’s a LOT of misinformation and conflicting information out there about exactly how fermentation works and exactly how winemaking works. I’m hoping to clear some of that up here as I learn more and make more wine.

Margaritifer #1!

We bottled the first Margaritifer wine a couple weeks ago: Martian Red Australian Shiraz (23 liters; from a kit). We acually bottled it a week later than I had originally planned because we went to Boise for my Grandpa’s funeral. In honor of him, I’m calling the wine Spencer’s Martian Red Australian Shiraz.

We’ve drunk a few bottles already. It’s good! I’m curious as to how it’s going to develop over the next few months. Actually, we haven’t had any in about a week now, and I’m pretty curious as to whether it’s still the same now. We’re going to be showing it off and sharing it with our friends Saturday night, so I’ll find out soon enough!

Winemaking is really interesting. Sometimes I think that I do too many things and that there’s no place in the world for a generalist like me, so I try to focus on something…but then something else that’s incredibly fascinating to me pops out and I have to chase after it.

At any rate, I’ve started on my second wine now: a Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon. I’m really excited about this one. I learned so much from the last batch and I’ve aquired so much more general winemaking knowledge and much better tools since then.