Mar 14, 2010

Smash. Rot. Wait.

For a recent student-faculty exhibition at UCCS, I decided to teach myself to make wine from scratch. Smash. Rot. Wait is one in a series of projects that utilizes Do-It-Yourself techniques to produce everyday objects. Encouraged by the process and outcome of this project, I will continue to make wine from foraged seasonal fruit.


3-4 lbs fresh fruit

2-1/4 lbs finely granulated sugar

1/2 tsp acid blend

1/2 tsp pectic enzyme

1/8 tsp grape tannin

7-1/2 pints water

1 tsp yeast nutrient

1 crushed Campden tablet

1 package wine yeast

3-gallon bucket (for primary fermentation)

3-gallon glass jar (for secondary)


racking equipment

wine bottles

Pick only ripe berries. Combine water and sugar and put on to boil, stirring occasionally. Wash and de-stem berries. Put in nylon straining bag, tie, put in botton of primary fermentation container, and thoroughly crush berries in bag. Pour boiling sugar-water over berries to set the color and extract the flavorful juice. Add acid blend, tannin and yeast nutrient. Allow to cool to 70 degrees F. and add crushed Campden tablet. Cover primary with plastic wrap secured with a large rubber band. Add pectic enzyme after 12 hours and wine yeast after additional 12 hours, resecuring plastic wrap each time. Stir daily for a week, replacing plastic wrap if it looks like it needs it. After a week, remove nylon bag and allow to drip drain about an hour, keeping primary covered as before. Do not squeeze bag. Return drippings to primary. Continue fermentation in primary another week, stirring daily. Rack to secondary, top up with water and fit airlock. Use a dark secondary or wrap with brown paper (from paper bag) to preserve color. Ferment additional 4 months, then rack again and bottle into dark glass. Drink after one year.


  1. I'm not sure I'd have the patience to wait so long to drink my creation, but it definitely would be an excuse to have a mighty celebration when it was finally time.

  2. I don't think that's how Bachus did it! "The grapes are washed and stemmed, but never crushed. Make the wine in any large jar, crock or keg. Just put 2 cups grapes in the container and cover with 1 cup suger. 2 more cups grapes, 1 cup sugar until you run out of room or grapes. Cover but do not seal tightly and set in cool dark place between 55 and 60 degrees. It takes 2 months to settle out and appear clear. Carefully decant and tightly bottle. Caught at the right time it will still be slightly sweet with sparkle." Euell Gibbons..."Stalking the Wild Asparagus"

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