Here are some more thoughts on wine making. As you will soon see I've got some more pictures from what to do, and what not to do...
Enough with the concord rocket fuel. That stuff will make you go blind! Let's try real grapes.
Once a year, our local wine store gets a huge shipment of wine grapes from all over the west coast and Colorado's western slope. After you purchase the grapes they crush them for you and you end up with something like this. I think it was 300 lbs. my father bought. Maybe more... It was more than enough.
After fermenting the 'First Run' off the primary grape, you siphon off as much juice as you can...
The 'First Run' wine is usually the most full-bodied, darkest in color, and takes the longest to age. Considered to be of higher quality.
Then we get greedy!
The 'Second Run' wine is the juice that is squeezed out at high pressure using a wine press. Usually lighter in color, the second run has to have a large amount of additional sugar added to start the fermentation. This ends up in the finished product, hence, second run wines are often called 'Table' wines because of their sweetness and quick aging time.
This is what happens when the yeast is not quite happy. The primary fermentation was not complete and the sugar that was left floating around was converted to CO2 and alcohol. With no where else to go, a lot of gunk is shot out of the water lock.
This is why we rack. The wine will drop 'lees'? (or sleaze depending on who you ask). We rack to siphon off the good stuff and dump the bad. I forget how often this occurs, but it is no more than three or four times over the life of the baby wine.
Two carboys and Einstein riding his bike...
So after totally fowling up my most expensive wine to date, my father and I combined forces to create the Denver Red. I had some really (really) acidic Merlot (2 gallons), my dad got 12 lbs. of Concord grapes from someone's back yard, and then I think we took the third run from one of the above quality grapes. Combined the whole thing together, and hoped for the best (6 gallons). Surprisingly, the thing is actually drinkable. Since we have nothing invested in it, I have no doubt it will turn out very good.
Have fun brewing!