Organic sulfate-free wine making

We are lucky to have had our friend Kiko help us make the wine for the past two seasons. Kiko grew up making wine at his father’s winery, studied winemaking and has worked in various wineries. We make wine from organic grapes and nothing is added during the wine-making process and no chemicals to the grapes during the growing for truly organic wine.

This blog details the process and if you live nearby and have grapes you can bring us your grapes next year and we will make your own wine for you in exchange for some of the wine.

Step One – Pick the grapes

Harvesting grapes
Harvesting grapes at various friend’s farms in exchange for a portion of the wine. Each winter we are planting more vines in our agroforestry systems if you would like to join. We pick the grapes slightly later than most of the local population for higher sugar content. This will result in less wine but with higher quality.
The grapes we harvested totalled 300kg from a few farms. On top of this grapes were added from our friends that wanted us to make their wine.

Step two – Squashing the grapes and separating the stalks

The grapes are squashed and the stalks are separated in a machine that we borrow. The wine is then left in this barrel for two weeks whilst it ferments. During this time we have to push the grapes down three times per day as they float and may oxidize with the air. We also have to test the wine for sugar content and temperature two times per day so we know how it is fermenting and if I have to take further action. The natural yeast on the grapes eats the sugar and turns it into alcohol.

Step four (optional) – Making Jiropega


Making jeropiga
Making jiropiga, a Portuguese liquor from 100% grapes. This is a mix of grape juice and ‘aguardente’. Aguardente is made by distilling the leftover grapes post-fermentation of wine. A delicious liquor that can be made with any excess grape juice. After one week the jiropoga has to be syphoned out to remove the sediment.

Step five – Filtering the wine

Fermenting wine
Once the yeast has eaten all the sugar (10-15 days), we filtered out the wine from the grape skins. The wine is then added to an airtight fermentation tank. The grape skin is then used to make aguardente, a very strong spirit.

Step six – Making Aguardente

Our friend Darren’s Still/Alambique for turning the waste from the wine making into Aquardente (firewater) or grappa. Nothing is wasted.

Step seven – Cleaning the fermentation tank

Cleaning the fermentation tank happens in November. This involves emptying the wine into a sterile container. Cleaning the build-up of acid on the inside of the tank walls, cleaning out any sediment and dead yeas. All of which contaminates the flavour if left in the tank

Step eight – Tasing the wine

Tasting the wine – repeat this set a few times.

Step nine – Making a wine blend

After cleaning the fermentation tanks the volume of wine will be reduced and so it needs to be filled up to the top again by adding wine from your other fermentation tanks. but first, you have to decide on what percentage ratio of the two tanks you want. our second smaller fermentation tank had more sediment so was a stronger flavour.

Step ten – ageing the wine

To age the wine, the wine goes back into the air tight tank to age. At this point, there is no more fermentation happening. The wine must be clean and free of sediment. Currently, we use a stainless steel tank but one day hope to get an oa barrel

Bottling the wine

Last year we decanted the wine in January. This photo is from last year’s decanting in our storage room. This year we are making a dedicated wine-making room.
150 Wine bottles from last year’s harvest

Thank you to all the permaculture interns and friends from our growing wine cooperative for being involved. Want to make wine with us next season, then please get in contact.


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