I'm assuming this is the video you're talking about: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nexwvhscFCQ
. Cool video. In advance I'll say that I've never made wine specifically, just lots of mead. And I've also never used a wild fermentation. So here's my thoughts, but take everything with a grain of salt.
The first thing is that Cleve definitely seems to do things with approximate amounts. He appears to use measurements of ingredients that he recognizes visually or by feeling the weight. So he probably couldn't give you any specific measurements (like fruit weight or water volume) even if you were talking to him directly. This is definitely very different from a lot of home brewers today where specific measurements of ingredients, times, etc. are used for every batch. What he's doing is definitely not that.
Something else I noticed is that he didn't add any yeast. Which means he's using a wild fermentation. The yeast will be what is on the fruit itself and in the air. Toward the end of the video the guys say to try making the wine at home and you could use store bought fruit. One thing to keep in mind if you want to try a wild fermentation, any fruit you get at the store won't have that live yeast on it.
The grits he added are to act as a yeast nutrient.
The other main thing he does is add sugar and water every week. My guess on the reason for this is to allow the yeast to grow gradually and not over power them with a very high gravity level right at the beginning. Adding just a little sugar and water at the beginning is doing essentially the same thing as making a yeast starter. Then he adds more every week as the yeast propagates to get the volume and alcohol level up.
If I was going to try to do a batch like this, here's what I would do:
- Find a source for fresh fruit. Preferably something that's coming right off the tree (or vine) and into the batch, just like in the video.
- Determine what specific gravity I want the batch to have. Run the calculation for how much sugar is needed, and divide that into 5 or 6 parts (however many weeks to do additions).
- Do the same with the water. Calculate how much water will be in the batch at the end, and divide it up into the 5 or 6 additions.
- On how much fruit to add, I would probably look at modern recipes and see the amount of fruit that's normally used in the batch size I was doing. It wouldn't need to be an exact amount, but a ballpark number would help increase the chance of having something good at the end.
- And on the grits as a nutrient, just eyeball it and dump some in. It's just corn, so even if you add a little too much, it shouldn't hurt anything.
If you give this a try, best of luck to you. Cheers man!