Fifteen years ago, one of the selling features of our new home was its extensive food garden. From artichokes all the way to zucchini, there was an abundance of veggies and a diversity of berries, vine and tree fruits. Pure bliss for two mostly-vegetarian foodies with itchy green thumbs!
But sometimes you should be careful what you wish for – our Hardy kiwis (Actinidia arguta) being a case in point.
When our first harvest arrived, we were overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of fruit from our little vineyard.
From just five kiwi plants, the haul included copious amounts of the standard variety (shown above and left) as well as the smaller, green Issai hybrid (below).
Both types were delicious, but we’d been warned not to eat many at once, as these little taste bombs can be ultra hard on the system.
So what could we do with an extra 50 pounds of kiwifruit?
Kiwi wine turned out to be a big part of the answer – and we’ve been making it ever since.
Unlike commercial kiwis, these little fruit need no peeling. So after picking, sorting, de-stemming and washing them, we run them through our trusty old Champion juicer.
The result is a silky smooth concentrate that’s free of skins and seeds, perfect for making wine. It’s also delicious in yogurt for breakfast, so we always freeze some extra for eating as well as larger tubs for later batches of wine.
The “by-product” from the juicer is a thick, seedy pulp that works well in muffins or loaves. (Use judiciously though: it’s high fibre).
To make the wine, we mix the kiwi concentrate with sugar, yeast, water and other ingredients in a plastic tub. Then we move it to a heated closet for its first stage, “primary fermentation”.
After a week or 10 days, we lower the temperature and “rack” (siphon) the wine to a glass carboy for its next stage, “secondary fermentation”.
Over the next couple of months we rack three or four more times, moving the wine from one carboy to another, and adding a fining agent at the appropriate time.
Each time we rack, some of the dregs are left behind.
The wine gets progressively clearer, slowly turning from a dense, yellow concoction…
…to a transparent, sparkling amber.
It’s still not ready, though.
It needs to sit in the wine room (AKA our understairs broom closet) for another month, aging, before it’s ready for the next step.
On Bottling Day we see the fruits of our labour culminate in 30+ bottles of lovely wine.
We still need patience, though. It will be another five months before the wine is ready to drink.
But the wait is well worth it: kiwi wine is delicious. And the fact that it came out of our own organic backyard makes it all the sweeter.
I am so glad you did this post; it was so fascinating. Ever since I heard about your kiwis and wine, I wondered about how you made it. What a cool process. Now I’m left wondering what it tastes like…guess I’ll have to make a visit to find out…LOL…
Sounds great! Will put a bottle into the fridge for you. 🙂
Oh my!! Didn’t know you had this bounty! Maybe you’d better bring some samples into Photo Club some time!
Hmm…maybe an argument for not holding our meetings in the morning!