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I wrenched the last reasonably-priced dehumidifier off the shelves of Homebase last weekend, and it's been sorting stuff out since. I still have a bit of a rough chest, but the damp is in retreat, even as the temperature plummets. There's still cold and air-flow over the outer wall in the studio, so I may still have to do something; jinty made the fine suggestion of a passive brick which, as I have an airbrick in the room already (carefully sealed under a layer of polystyrene), might just do the trick.

I gave up waiting for a dry day and harvested the grapes in the rain. When it started to ferment in the crush bowl, I was pleased. Three days later the ferment stopped, so timscience and I learned how to use a hydrometer, adjusted the sugar content of the must, and inoculated the bucket with a sachet of Wilco Universal Wine Yeast. Which may have been overkill, as the leftover grape juice (which I popped in an old Jura bottle) is also fizzing merrily away, no yeast added, under the watchful eyes of lounge singer Lorne and the totally drunk dinosaur:

all the kit but wait, what's this?
the perfect bunch punching the grapes

If it turns into anything drinkable (and I have a demijohn and a syphon waiting) I'm going to call it Earwig Dreaming, after the most startling piece of wildlife I saved from the harvest bag.


( 5 worms — Feed the birds )
21st Nov, 2013 23:36 (UTC)
Wine! I'm fascinated by the spontaneous fermentation in particular.
22nd Nov, 2013 07:53 (UTC)
my wild yeast
it is awesome but fragile compared to the the speed and efficiency of the wilco yeast. I'm not sure I'll be able to take the Jura bottle to wine dryness with it, but I might be able to get it to fruit beer levels
24th Nov, 2013 22:25 (UTC)
Ah... the earwigs. I've never seen so many earwigs since I made wine from my own grapes. I had a whole cupful. Are you sure you removed all of them? It might be earwig wine in more ways than one!
25th Nov, 2013 07:00 (UTC)
I had just the one! There were though an awful lot of small, black, unfamiliar-looking snails, with a slightly flattened shape to their shells. I would be surprised if a few of the tiniest of them ha not made the mix.
25th Nov, 2013 07:12 (UTC)
Investigation suggests that the snails are probably the strawberry snails that were making lace of my strawbs earlier this year. I need more birds to carry them away! Also; hairy snails. Who knew they were a thing!
( 5 worms — Feed the birds )