Hi Gals and Guys
Beautiful workmanship BA_loko - I have a trick for you if you like Zin...
3 gallons pure apple juice - no preservatives
2 gallons pure cranberry juice - no preservatives,
Mix well, transferr to a pail or 6 gallon carboy and pitch your yeast then ferment, rack and bottle when ready - It's uncanny how much this knockoff taste like white/blush Zin.....
Shellbellc: timeline on a barrel goes like this:
Grapes come in here in NC around the end of august - I have a fellow who works with the agricultural extension and works with several vineyards in the area experimenting on which varieties grow well and produce satisfactory wine - I buy my grapes, usually a mix of Merlot and Cabernets with some Shiraz sometimes - for about $.50 a lb.
First step is to crush and de-stem the grapes then add a little potassium metabisufate and let set over night - Pitch the yeast and fermentation begins and continues violently for about 4-5 days ( Each day I push the cap of seeds and skins to the bottom)
then the juice is drained from the bottom of the vats and strained and placed into the bourbon barrel. Now it's fairly alcoholic and fizzy - sort of electric grape kool aid - Then the skins and seeds go into the wine press and we press the juice from them - it takes the better part of a day to do this as you tighten the screw and wait a bit until the juice stops flowing and then give er' another turn. Rendered juice is strained and added to the barrel - So far you've a week tied up -
Once all the juice is rendered I seal the barrel with an airlock and seal the wooden bung with wax. The wine ferments for awhile longer - time depends on the sugar content of the grapes, temperature, etc.
I let the wine set in the barrel until around the New Year and wait until we have a few days of really cold weather which helps settle the sediment. - Around February, March We rack the wine off into 5 gallon carboys and seal with airlocks - wine will clear and is ready to bottle and lay down where we keep it for at least a year before drinking - The trick is to get a year ahead and drink what you made the year before so the wine ages correctly.
So I guess the answer to the question is roughly a year and some months from beginning to end.
Cowgirl: Nothing wrong with your method - I do small batches of fruit wine through the year myself - My only suggestion is to invest in some cheap airlocks, available anywhere - cheap insurance agaionst losing your hard work and materials.
I guess Tony and I have tailored our consumption to the available supply - my half of the barrel is about 125-130 liter bottles - as Dottie prefers Zinfandel and Chardonnay I'm really the only one drinking it - That doesn't count cooking - Sauce, Sausage, etc. Coup[led with the fact that theres usually some left over a barrel's about right for our two families.
And ahhh Yes...the stainless barrel...My cousin in New Hampshire owns a specialty metals company and he has contacts out the wahzoo - I mentioned I'd like to have a used stainless drum a few years back and about a week later that beast showed up on the loading dock at work with Terry's compliments - That's some cousin eh? If I had to buy one I'd never have one as they are sky-high..
Thanks for all your interest - a bit later I'm going to post something that might entertain you, perhaps bring back some memories for a few..