It has been almost two months since Rita and I started our dandelion wine and 99% of the fermentation seemed to have stopped. We each had just a minuscule amount of teensy bubbles in our jugs, and the liquid had cleared significantly; so we decided it was time to move on to the next step: siphoning the wine into a new carboy.
I lugged my full wine and an empty, clean carboy across the street to Rita's house after dinner. I must have been quite a site carrying those jugs as I got honks from every pickup truck that passed!
Rita had kept all the supplies that we got from our wine-making neighbor down the street. We got them back out and tried to remember all that she had told us. There was a solid plastic tube with a sort of cap on the end, which she had told us to insert into the carboy and hook the siphon onto. This would prevent sludge from getting sucked up with the liquid. So we set this up, put the empty carboy down low and I gave it a suck to get the siphon going.
I tried and tried but I couldn't get it flowing so we recruited Rita's husband Frank to help.
Frank had a little better luck than me, but even he could only get a little liquid to flow.
We looked at our set-up and decided it was the solid plastic pipe with the cap that was messing up our suction. We took this off and resolved to just be careful with the end of the siphon in the full carboy, to not let it down too close to the bottom. I held it in place.
Frank sucked on the end of the tube again, and - Woah! Did it flow!
Before long we had gotten all the clear liquid out into the new carboy, and just the sludge and a little liquid remained in the original carboy.
Here's a look down into the original jug.
And the remaining liquid is pretty clear! We did it! Now it has to sit a while longer to clarify more and see if anything else settles out of it. Then the next step is to bottle it.
This is my official "bootlegger" picture Rita took as I was walking home.
While sucking on the end of the siphon, I got the chance to taste the wine so far. At this point, it tastes a lot like a dry white wine, maybe a little too dry for my taste. Our neighbor told us that you can add a sugar syrup to it at the end of the process, before you bottle, to adjust the sweetness to your particular taste. I think that might be on the horizon for us.
Now that I have a free carboy, I think I might start a batch of mint wine. I'm hooked on fermentation! It's fun to learn something new and now I'm so interested to see how the different wines made from stuff already growing in my yard will taste.