Project: Vinegar

March 16, 2010

Dave and I have been making wine for almost a year now. We have had some really successful batches (pomegranate zinfandel, australian shiraz, merlot) and some questionable ones (blackberry merlot that tastes just like Robitussin cough syrup) and some that just plain didn’t turn out (wine from Farmer’s Market fruit that may have been sprayed with something).

Over the summer we started three batches from grape juice, two of which were directly from Italy. We’re not a hundred percent sure, but we think that one batch was infected by a fruit fly and then when we bottled the three batches at the same time, the infection spread to the other two… which caused about 90 bottles of undrinkable wine. The bottles have been sitting in our basement for about two months now because neither one of us could bring ourselves to pour them out and they certainly couldn’t be consumed as is…. but then yesterday inspiration struck and Project: Vinegar was born.

I spent more time that I want to admit looking up how to make vinegar on the Web yesterday and although the information was somewhat conflicting, I was able to deduce that yes, you can make delicious vinegar from gross wine. It goes something like (extremely simplified): wine + oxygen + bacteria = vinegar. So last night, we poured three bottles of undrinkable wine (which already smelled a little vinegary) into glass jars, added a splash of red wine vinegar, and covered them with linen towels.


(Amarone, Pinot Grigio, and Cabernet Sauvignon)

The hope is that if we put them in a dark, warm place that Mother of Vinegar will form and we’ll be on our way to having delicious, homemade vinegars. Basically Mother of Vinegar is a somewhat slimy compound of bacteria that turns alcohol from wine or cider into vinegar.

Fingers are crossed that in a couple months we’ll have some Mother!


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