Last Saturday night, rather than drinking wine, I started making wine. I'd bought a kit (a bag of grape juice concentrate, plus yeast Saccharomyces bayanus and few packets of dry chemical powders as well as a little bit of a goopy liquid) and the necessary equipment in the form of a "beginner's starter pack" (glass carboy, plastic bucket, siphon, hydrometer, thermometer, etc).
The first stage, termed "Primary Fermentation" in the instruction manual, involves sterilizing the needed equipment (Fig. 1), then pouring the concentrate into the bucket (the "primary fermenter") along with enough water to reach the correct volume and concentration. The nasty grey dirt named "Bentonite" goes in next, (lots of stirring) followed by the yeast (no stirring) (Fig. 2). Then I just put the bucket somewhere stable with its lid on (not airtight) and let the yeast do their thing.
Fig. 1. Pink sterilizer solution killing greeblies on my big-ass spoon and other equipment.
Fig. 2. The primary fermenter just after the yeast was added.
Now my apartment smells like rotting grape juice - but that's OK. I have long found the soft buzz and occassional flicker of flourescent lights less bothersome than most other people, and I always attributed this comfort to my teenage years spent in my parents' basement, on the computer. My father makes wine at home in much the same way I now do, so the smell of rotting grapes wafting from the basement laundry room area has long served as an aromatic accompanyment to the aforementioned visual and auditory components of my childhood. The pre-wine fermenting away in my basement apartment just triggers happy memories for me of years wasted in front of a 486 computer.
Fig. 3. The primary fermenter bubbling happily away in a stable place.
Also, eventually I should end up with 23 litres of red wine, which is approximately 30 bottles. Huzzah!