A quick recap from posts one and two. In the first red wine vinegar post I was lamenting that I hadn’t managed to find a supplier for a vinegar mother in Canada so after some research had decided I would try to grow one using raw and unpasteurized red wine vinegar. Research shows that there are two distinct camps of vinegar makers – do not disturb the vinegar at all during the conversion period or keep adding wine periodically. I chose the second option as I like putting to good use leftover wine.
Then September came around and I found a US source of vinegar mother that would ship to Canada (link to source is in the post). The instructions suggested it would be ready in three months so I had planned to go the do not disturb route with this batch, but when I checked it after one month I just about had a heart attack at the amount of evaporation that had occurred and immediately opened a bottle of wine to add some. The two batches were now sharing the leftover red wine.
I stopped adding wine about three weeks ago to both batches so any alcohol would hopefully be converted in time to do a Christmas holiday bottling when I would be off work. If you’re smelling it all the time you can recognize the smell variants between just added wine and fully vinegar. I used the instructions in Sandor Katz’s The Art of Fermentation (an amazing source of info if you’re into that sort of thing) with regards to heating it enough to stabilize but not kill off the acidity before bottling for six months of aging in the basement. I kept enough of each to start two new batches. As an experiment I added a bit of dark maple syrup to batch 2 of the original raw vinegar. Neither of my batches grew a gelatinous mother but as I learned from my first batch made with raw vinegar and per Katz’s book, this isn’t necessary to making vinegar – as long as the acetobacter are alive in your starter vinegar and you provide the right inputs/conditions, you can make vinegar without a mother. My vinegar is much richer than store-bought, almost in a balsamic sort of way. I can’t wait to taste it in six months.
Next up will be white wine vinegar via a raw organic apple cider vinegar.