This is the raspberry blood aftermarth of my first 'racking off' - the transferring of the wine 'must' from one vessel to another using a pump which at the same time passes it through filter sheets. The pump is the silver cylinder, the filter which holds six filter sheets is the other side of the gauge. I racked off the wine before it was fully fermented out into a vessel in which a mix of neat alcohol and sugary water was waiting. This blending is to get the wine up to liqueur strength. My mind is full of recipes and formulas in thought bubbles over my head as I plot in the shepel - different proportions of raspberries, syrup (sugar + water) and neat alcohol. How many grammes of sugar per litre is desirable? What acidity? What volume of liquid is created by what weight of sugar once it is dissolved? (about 0.6 litres from 1kg of sugar FYI).
The next step is to send it off for analysis to determine the exact alcohol strength and to do some fine tuning based on tasting.
Meanwhile in the field it's all kicking off. The dry spring means that the first variety of blackcurrants (there are 5) have ripened prematurely, three weeks earlier than last year!
I chide them camply as I monitor their progress, 'oo you're a bit previous', but am concerned at not having the requisite picking power to cope. I am grateful for Laetitia the new Wwoof-er charmante but a rate of 8kg a day in the bucket will not get the job done in time.