Wine making

For many years the Malaga province has been famous for it’s sweet fortified wines. The predominant grape variety is the Moscatel, grown on steep terraces in the hills of the Axarquia area.

To make wine our first step was to clear the drying beds of any weeds and empty the barrels of the previous years batch and give the contents to a neighbour.

Early September we headed into the terraces with buckets, crates, secateurs and a small horse. Our challenge was to pick all of the grapes from the terraces.  With the vines at ground level it was a case of crouching down, pulling back the leaves and hunting for the plentiful bunches of grapes.

Picking

When the buckets were full of grapes we loaded up ‘Rubia’ (a neighbours horse), with two buckets and led her up the terraces to the drying beds.  Rubia was soon trotting back down the campo after a break for apples, carrots, hay and water.

The grapes were laid onto a net on the drying bed directly in the sun. It had taken us a hot and sweaty afternoon to half fill the drying bed.  With an early start the next morning we had soon picked enough to almost fill one drying bed. The grapes were left for five days to dry out in the sun, and increase their sugar content.

Dryingbed

In the meantime the barrels were cleaned by swinging them with a chain on a string inside them!  The press was cleaned and the barrels rinsed. To then sterilise the barrels a sulphur candle was lowered inside the barrel, lit and left overnight to smoke.

With the barrels sterilised it was time to take the grapes from the drying bed and sit and pick the stalks off.  A long and laborious process that took three adults all day!   Once the grapes were picked over and sorted, they were tipped into the crusher (a kind of a mangle) and then loaded into the press to produce the Mosto (unfermented grape juice).  Much easier to use the crusher and press than trending your own grapes, which would have taken a whole day of constant treading to release all of the Mosto.

When we had 10 litres of mosto we poured it into the barrel. We put 29 litres into a 32L barrel to allow 3L of space for the wine to ‘rise’. (I have just been into the almacen where the wine is stored and can hear the wine fermenting ‘herviendo’, boiling in Spanish).

Grapemince

Three  8L demijohns were also filled which will be used to top up the barrel when the sediment is racked off after 40 days and 40 nights……What a fantastic experience, fingers crossed it will be a vintage year!

wine-making

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
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18 Comments Add yours

  1. Now this sounds like my kind of thing, it looks really good! I love your fab photos lovely! 🙂

    1. Thank you, we enjoyed it.

  2. tammymum says:

    Now this is right up my street! Although I’m not sure heading into the British winter is the right time to be making wine… Anyway looks like everyone got involved and it was good fun to do. Hope it turns out well – be sure to let us know xx #KCACOLS

    1. Thanks, fingers crossed for a barrel of sweet wine. It was nice to involve the children as much as possible

  3. Rainbowsaretoobeautiful says:

    Wow, what a thing up be doing, brilliant! #KCACOLS

    1. Thanks, lovely to be involved in this. There are many drying beds around here, great to see them in use and jam packed with grapes.

  4. Ok, now this looks like a blast! Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday

  5. Thanks, it was interesting, fun and great to be outdoors embracing the campo traditions

  6. What fun! Who wouldn’t love to do this. I’m absolutely jealous that you get to do this! #KCACOLS

    1. It really was brilliant and the children loved being involved. It’s not everyday you can say you’ve made your own wine! Thank you for stopping by to comment.

  7. winnettes says:

    I’ve always wanted to try wine making. This looks like lots of fun.
    #KCACOLS

    1. Thank you. The children absolutely loved it and they’re really enjoying the grape juice we’ve got leftover!

  8. ERF Mama says:

    Wow! What an adventure!! I’ve never ever seen this so thank you for sharing! 😀

    #KCACOLS

    1. Thanks, glad to share it.

  9. Ah how fun! I’d love to have a go at making my own wine x #KCACOLS

    1. It was fantastic to pick the grapes and see the whole process. Give it a try, there are many home brew guides and recipes online for winemaking.

  10. Ooh this is so interesting, I would love to give this a go…how fantastic to see the whole process. Thanks for linking up to #dreamteam Hope to see you next time x

    1. Thanks for your comment lets hope the end result turns out drinkable!

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