ramblings from the hive mind

Winemaking and the lack of a decent video editor for Linux

23 October 2008 | View comments
Damien Austin-Walker

After my presentation on scrumping 2.0 I was encouraged to put an actual community scrumping plan into action, however though many apples are to be seen up for grabs in back gardens in my neighbourhood, time is less easy to come by and it's getting a little too late this year. In my distraction I had forgotten all about the annual grape harvest or La Vedange as they say over the channel. With the grapes ripe and the pigeons swooping in for the kill I had to organize a trip to deepest darkest south-east London. This year due to time constraints I took the winery to the vineyard for a change, It's surprising how quickly a few 5 galleon buckets, wine press and associated paraphernalia can fill up a car boot.

I now know why people who do this kind of thing for a living start at the first crack of sparrow fart. It takes a while to pick a full 5 galleon bucket worth of grapes.

It takes even longer to pluck the grapes from their stalks; it was midnight before I got to the joyous task of mashing the fruit. I'd love to have a container big enough to do it the traditional way, with feet, but a potato masher had to do for now.

Last years wine was (is) drinkable but a little tart, however this years grapes seem sweeter and I have gone for a policy of quality not quantity and only picked the truly ripe and undamaged grapes, I'll get less wine but it will hopefully taste better. Also having run out of my stock of Burgundy and Bordeaux red wine yeasts I have added a white wine yeast - Gervain No.5 s.cerevisiae strain GNV (all purchased a while back at the very wonderful Cheers). It states '...for quality white table wine, ferments down to 12 degrees C'. This should be good in the cold kitchen, and even though I left last years brew fermenting on the must for 4 days over the recommended limit of 10 days for red wine it still came out rose - so I'll just set out to make a light rose or blush this time round as it seems the grapes are more suited to this.

I took plenty of footage with the Flip mino intending to stitch together a record of the days work, I haven't attempted this yet as I'm so demoralised with the lack of a decent video editor for Linux. I use Ubuntu and have tried many editors - there's Kino (only deals with DV), open movie editor (too geeky/hardcore)...only cinelerra seems to able to do enough and be usable but it's still fairly fiddly. I think however it may be partly my technical skills or rather editing knowledge, and as it's the best I've found so far I will persevere (maybe even read the manual). I was not so much impressed but mildly heartened when after spending what seemed like hours attempting to cut a 6min section of footage from a longer recording last week without it crashing I admitted defeat and handed the job over to the guys with iMacs and Final Cut Pro only to find they couldn't even load the film into the timeline properly. Something to do with different time codes on the different component clips that made up the footage, allegedly.

Final scores on the wine:-
Starting Specific Gravity of the must - 1.074 (S.G. the density and therefore natural sugar content thus final alcohol content - almost 12%)
Acidity - 3.0ph (a little on the acidic side but better than last year and almost the desired 3.2ph)

The wine will need to be strained and the must pressed at the end of the week. At which point it will be transferred into galleon demijohns and fermented under airlock until the density reaches 1.000 or just below. With luck, by the time it's bottled I'll be an expert with cinelerra.

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