WINE HAPPENS -Raw Wine Making

By Patti Jo Edwards 
November 16, 2012

For each quart mason jar * you will need:
1 sweet organic unwashed apple: remove stem and seeds**
2 cups organic cane sugar dissolved in filtered water (sugar syrup) makes 2 cups ***

Place into a blender and blend coarse
Fill jar adding sugar syrup to top off
Place lid on loose and sit in a bowl at room temperature ****

* a quart mason jar is easy to handle and fills a standard wine bottle
** unwashed apples still have yeast on their skins. The yeast is the reason alcohol happens so do not wash your apples.  If you are using organic apples, there will be no pesticide residue.
*** you may substitute organic local honey, blackstrap molasses or anything else organic and rich in natural sugars.
**** as the yeast reacts with the sugar it will bubble causing the liquid to expand which will leak out and pool at the bottom of the jar.  A bowl to catch the overflow will make clean up easier. Yeast is very active between 60 and 70 degrees.

Fermentation begins immediately, but you'll really start to see the bubbles in about 3 days.  Notice the layer of apple bits floating at the top.  This actually creates a seal that keeps the air from getting to the wine.  I usually take this off after about 4 days and place this used fruit in a half gallon mason jar along with the other fermented fruit bits from other batches such as bananas, pears and berries.  I call this my junk jar. I top off this mess with more sugar syrup (see above) and it will continue to ferment.

To the junk jar I add organic sugar syrup (see above) and top off all of the quart jars with more organic sugar syrup.  Happy yeasts feast on the new sugar and fermentation continues.  After about day 5, I move the fermenting wine to bottles, top off with more organic sugar syrup and cork.  You can see the fine bubbles continue in the bottles.

This is so much fun. I only do what I enjoy.  I do not enjoy labeling or keeping records.  My answer is in the name: Mystery Wine.  I don't really know what it will actually taste like.  I do know that it will be semi-sweet and nicely drinkable at this point and for the next 6 months. It may be a bit cloudy but will clear up as time goes by.  A glass of this delightful beverage before dinner is good for digestion as it is full of healthy microbes.  It is usually effervescent, light and pleasing.

I never wash or simmer my fruit.  I also do not strain the fruit out. I never use plastic as it gives off toxins such as PCBs and dioxins.  I do not use balloons or latex condoms to create an airlock. Balloons are made of rubber.  Latex as is used to make condoms is a type of rubber.  Many people are allergic to rubber latex.  

During the fermentation process, the fruits' natural sugars are converted into alcohol by wild yeasts that form on the various fruits as they grow. Fermentation time varies, but is usually seven to ten days.

Wine is made from fruits and grapes of differing varieties as well as raisins. It can be aged from three weeks to twenty years and end up with an alcohol content from 5% to 16%.

Thank the Greeks for the development and industrializing the tradition of wine. Let's face it: wine happens.  It happens on a level that drunken birds can attest to: a natural level.  Society's concern that fermenting fruit will kill you is as old as history.

A Persian fable has it that an ancient king kept grapes in an earthen jar labeled “poison.” A discontented member of his harem drank juice from the jar in a suicide attempt, but instead of dying, found her spirits quite rejuvenated. She shared the drink with her king, who took her into his favor and decreed that, henceforth, grapes would be allowed to ferment - as if the process needed his Okay.

Rather than fear the deadliness of fermenting fruits, it is enlightening to note: During ancient times, everyone drank wine and beer as the water was not safe. The old-style wines might taste more like vinegar with a hint of cider.

The people for much of history were actually afraid to bath, so were unconcerned with sanitizing containers.  They did not have prepackaged yeast or modern equipment (airlocks, balloons, condoms [yes condoms], plastic tubing, campden tablets [to kill the yeast]), thermometers, or plastic demijohns), They did not have pectic enzymes or citric acid, or plastic, or chlorine.

I doubt that they washed their feet, but grapes were stomped and fermented in large wooden vats sealed with pine resin.

The standard wine container of the ancient world was made of clay.  This goes way back to the Canaanites before the fifteenth century B.C.  Greeks typically stored their wine in porous clay jugs, which had to be sealed to preserve the wine. I imagine they were sealed with wax.

In Rome, skins and jars previously used were replaced by wooden barrels specially developed for the purpose of storage. It is believed they were the first to put wine into glass containers.

Ancient Persia was truly wine country. Not only did the Persians give toasts to their gods with wine, they also paid salaries in wine. Men earned ten to twenty quarts a month, and women earned ten.  Early Roman women were forbidden to drink wine, and a husband who found his wife drinking wine was at liberty to kill her.  Divorce on these grounds is actually recorded in Rome in 194 B. C.

Wine has been traditionally  used for everything from disinfectant to pain reliever to a water purifier. I do not fear wine - only the absence of it.

My friends and I know we'll be alright in the upcoming economic collapse.  We will know how to make wine.  Some of us keep bees, so we will have a source of sugar.  Some of us know how to take alcohol to the next level and will be able to make fuel to power our cars and heat our homes.  Some of us have cows for milk, chickens for eggs and apple trees grow all over Southern Oregon.  I will have money in the form of wine.  Wine trade is as old as recorded human history.  It is sustainable, safe, healthful and very doable.

Ancient Greece and wine

Fabulous Facts: Wine in Ancient Times  Apr 20, 2011

The Use of Wine in Ancient Times

Wine in the Ancient World by Peter Alig

Types of Ancient Wines

Traditional Wine Making


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