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Turning Water into Wine

Second run wine

Second run wine

It is not often that I reflect on a religious note. I let that to my daughter Meghan who has written a series of articles for the Wine Trail Traveler’s website called “Wine in the Bible.” However, this past weekend gospel centered on the wedding feast at Cana. There at His Mother Mary’s request, Jesus performed a miracle and turned water into wine. It seems as though the miracle was immediate, no waiting period for fermentation and aging. The story always brings a smile to my face.

Kathy and I have been making wine since 2008 thinking that if we were going to write about wine we should make wine. Over the past eight years, we made two wines from water and a few other ingredients. Turning water into wine has been at winemakers disposal for eons. It is frowned on if this wine is later sold, and should be when it involves deceiving consumers. On the other hand, for home winemakers it is certainly a winemaker method to get the most out of their grapes.

Turning water and a few other ingredients into wine is sometimes referred to as a second run wine. For our second run red wine, we pressed the must after it fermented. Our wine went into a barrel to age. Normally the winery takes the left over pomace including a small amount of wine, skins and seeds and throws it onto a compost pile. We took several gallons of this pomace home to use to make our second run wine. To the pomace we added water that we dissolved sugar into. We added a yeast nutrient but did not add any yeast since there were starving yeast still in the pomace. The sugar water picked up color, flavors and tastes from the skins and fermented rather quickly. We then racked to carboys and oaked for several months.

The second run red wine had amazing color, just a tad bit lighter than the original wine made from the grapes. There was a black berry fruit wine aroma and taste, just not as complex as the first run wine. As a daily table wine, our second run wine could certainly go with many dinners. Our original wine was made with grapes that we sourced from Stagecoach Vineyards in the Atlas Peak AVA of Napa Valley. We had ultra-premium grapes and the leftover pomace still had more to offer. In the past we have also added sugar water to the pomace and then after extracting color and flavors proceeded to make jelly. This too worked out well.

I would classify the second run wine as an acceptable table wine, not nearly as miraculous as the one Jesus made. But it is kind of cool to hear the Gospel story of turning water into wine and knowing that one can turn water and a few other ingredients into wine.


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