St. James Detour



A quite thought came to mind as I drove through Missouri: "Stop at St. James Winery for a tasting". I was a beer geek in wine country dressed like a truck driver passing swiftly. I had no time to stop, a to-do list, and a deadline. I thought of a solution: "Make our own wine using grapes from this region".

I purchased grapes on my way home. Determined to ferment on the skins I would produce a naturally fermented Vin de pays wine. I could run a secondary fermentation on the wine to mellow its acids & tannins. Saving the yeast collected to make an artisanal beer.

Proceeding with this plan I arrived home with one-half bushel of Magnolia Muscadines. The grape variety is a hybrid of the native American Scuppernog found during the early 1800s. The box was enough to make 1.625 gallons. The attempt at wine could turn into a natural disaster so extra precautions were taken. I rinsed the grapes in a bath of salt water and separated the stems and soft fruit. After a second rinse I crushed the grapes by hand. I then pitched some pectin enzyme to help clarify the juice and some potassium metabisulfite to knockdown the wild bacteria. I missed the initial brix reading so I have no idea the final ABV.

The batch fermented on it's own. I had wine two weeks later. I racked off the skins using one gallon for a secondary malolactic fermentation. One-half gallon was blended with beer. The resulting yeast slurry was saved. I am thinking an artisanal American Saison beer would be interesting. I have a test batch going to determine how well the yeast converts maltotriose.





Notes on the blended beer later.   

Works Cited:
http://www.caes.uga.edu/commodities/fruits/muscadines/cultivars/documents/A%20Century%20of%20Muscadine%20Grape%20Breeding.pdf
http://www.caes.uga.edu/commodities/fruits/muscadines/cultivars/magnolia/magnolia.html
http://intranet.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/berrydoc/agentinfo/muscadine_testing.htm

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