Wednesday, 12 September 2012



Panic over the wine is fine (phew!!!!). Oh I didn’t sleep well; I spent all night trying to figure out (1) how to separate the vinegary cap from the bulk of the wine when it was pressed or (2) what to do with 200L of vinegar. Happily in the end it wasn’t an issue.

First thing Brett and I cleaned all the wine equipment we were going to use with diluted bleach and then rinsed it off with boiling water; we didn’t want anything we did/didn’t do to cause the wine to be spoilt.

Pam and Gail (an expat who lives the other side of Castelo Branco) came to help with the wine racking (Mark and Gail’s husband, Stephen, were back at P & M’s doing building work).
"Hubble, bubble ..........!!"
The cap definitely smelt of vinegar, but the wine underneath was absolutely fine – it smelt like very alcoholic wine in fact! I wanted to scoop the vinegary cap off (and not use it’s pressings); but Brett vetoed that, he said we’d followed the instructions so far and we shouldn’t start making it up now, just make a note of everything we’ve done this year and then, if it goes wrong, change the method next year (he’s quite sensible really!). The tap on the wine vat was rubbish, it kept blocking up so we had to scoop everything out of the vat with buckets. The press worked a treat and we ended up with a very dry ‘cake’ (skins, stalks and pips), which went onto the compost.
'Cake' left after pressing the grapes
We now have 150L of red wine in the cylinder, where it will stay until the next racking in six weeks time.
Filling the wine cylinder

150L of wine
This afternoon I picked figs to dry; I put them in the racks we bought with the barbeque and hung them from the gazebo’s roof poles. Brett demolished the concrete doorstep into the kitchen, ready for starting the kitchen floor tomorrow.

Then we went to El Clube for a, well earned, drink, with Pam and Mark obviously!


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