We have 20 vines of grapes, 10 Merlot and 10 Sultanina (seedless green), and there’s only so many grapes two people can eat. Our neighbor Katerina suggested we make wine vinegar, and this is her recipe.
1. Pick the grapes, do not wash them (we do not spray insecticides), and place them in 1-meter tall plastic barrels. Squeeze each clump slightly with your hands to break the grapes open. Cover the barrel with netting (I used netting from past *boubounieras).
2. After 10-15 days, the garage smelled divine! Remove the grapes, squeeze well, leaving the juice in the barrel. Discard the squeezed grapes.
3. Pour the juice through a strainer (again, netting from past boubounieras) into a large glass 15 liter bottle (here called a damitzana–demijohn?).
4. Add water in the ratio of 10:1 or one container of water for every 10 containers of grape juice. Also add 1 cup of vinegar for every 10 liters of juice (acts as a yeast/starter).
5. Add a small handful of any kind of pasta. I am not kidding. Use spaghetti, elbow macaroni, rotini….add the cork/lid slightly off kilter to allow air to escape from the demijohn/bottle as it ferments, and to allow a small vinegar-loving fly to enter and leave. Again, I am not kidding you..
6. After 30 days, strain (hello, boubounieras) through netting into smaller, cuter bottles to store and/or give to friends.
*Boubounieras are given to guests at weddings and baptisms in Greece. They are usually made of netting holding candied almonds and tied with beautiful ribbon. To see traditional and modern boubounieras plus more items for weddings and baptisms, visit my friend Maria Zeaki’s website.