hist-brewing: 1596 wine making text

Bill certainkindoffool at gmail.com
Sun Nov 13 18:26:22 PST 2011

Thanks for this forward.  It was very interesting!


On Sat, Feb 27, 2010 at 9:50 PM, Jack C. Thompson <tcl at teleport.com> wrote:

> This is a little off-topic, but given the interest shown
> in older ales and brewing chemistry the following text
> about making wine may help a little bit.
> The text is one I published in 1995.
> The original text was black letter, with paragraph headings in a roman
> font.  Aside from changing the black letter to a more legible font, the
> text is, for the most part, unchanged from the original; "u" has been
> replaced with "v"
> where appropriate in modern usage (i.e., "conuenient" is now "convenient,"
> etc.).
> Jack
> A
> Instructions for ordering of wines:
> Shewing how to make wine,  That it may
> continue good and faint not, Neither become
> sower, nor loose colour.  And how you
> may remedie faint Wine, take away
> the hoarinesse, with other
> instructions for the
> preservation of
> the same.
> Written first in Italian, and now newly translated
> into English, by W.P.
> eeeeeeeeee
> Printed by Adam Islip for Edward
> White, and are to be sold at his shop
> at the little North dore of Pouls,
> at the signe of the Gun.
> 1596
> Reprinted in 1995
> by
> The Caber Press
> Portland, Oregon
> Of the preparation for the Vintage, or gathering in of the grapes, where
> Wine is made.
> When the time of the vintage approcheth, you must prepare and make ready
> the vessels in the places where the wines are used to be botled, & the
> chests, baskets, presses, and other instruments that are fit for every kind
> of worke belonging thereunto, according to the maner and diversities of the
> places, the vessels ought likewise to be washed and made cleane, and looke
> for old rushes that have beene long gathered, because they are better, &
> indure longer then the new that are in a manner but halfe growne.
> Of the time when the vintage or gathering of grapes
> should be.
> Some gather grapes before the berries bee ripe, and thereby make their wine
> smal, weake, and not durable, others gather them late, and thereby doe not
> onely hurt their vines, (their strength and vertue being already come
> forth) but make their wine of lesse force, & not indure so long as
> otherwise it would, so that for a generall rule to be observed, the time to
> gather grapes is to be knowne, by the sight and tast of the same, for if
> the kernell of the grape bee not green, but rather blacke, or of another
> colour, then the grape wherein it groweth doth commonly bring forth, it is
> a signe that it is ripe, there are some that crush the grape betweene their
> fingers, and if the kernel come forth clean without any meat sticking upon
> it, they say the grape is ripe, and that it should be gathered, but if the
> kernell come forth with the meat upon it they say it is not ripe: some cut
> a branch out of the stocke of a vine, that is thicke, and when a day or two
> is past they looke if the place where the branch grew be in like manner as
> it was when the branch was taken away, and if the other branches that were
> about that place be not anything more growne, they make ready to gather
> their grapes, but if the place where the branch grew be less then it was,
> they stay gathering their grapes till such time the grapes ware riper.
> Grapes ought to be gathered when the moone is in Cancer, Leo, Libra,
> Scorpion, Capricornus, or Aquarius, but the moon going out of those signes,
> they must make hast to gather their grapes.  They should be gathered after
> three or four of the clocke, when the dew is all consumed, and dried up, &
> that the aire is hote and cleare, & the wine will be the stronger, and
> indure the longer: the grapes that shine and are not fat, that are not
> withered, nor rotten in anie part, make the wine stronger, and continueth
> better , and the contrarie work the contrarie effect.  Grapes that are over
> ripe make the wine the sweeter, but lesse in strength, and continueth not
> so long as those that are first gathered.  The grapes that are over soure,
> make the wine so much the sourer: but those that are indifferent make the
> wine strong, & continue better: if the black grapes be boiled in the
> bottome of the vessel, the wine will be the redder: if the ripe bee lowest,
> it make the wine the riper: if the soure, it maketh the wine soure, if they
> be boiled with hony it will be sweet: if with sage, it will tast thereof:
> and for a generall rule, the wine receiveth the tast of the thing that is
> put into it, boiling moderately together for certaine daies.  If the grapes
> that are gathered lie certaine daies in heapes together, the wine will be
> the riper: if the Must boileth in the tun without grapes, it will be good
> and continue long, but it will be longer before it waxeth cleare then that
> which boileth with grapes.
> How grapes should be gathered and dressed to make wine.
> They put the grapes into the baskets, doe part and chuse out the leaves,
> and if they find any branches or berries that are bitter, putrified or
> drie, they cast them away: it is requisit likewise that such as tread the
> grapes, do take out the leaves, if those that put them in out of the
> baskets, do chance to forget themselves, the leaves brused with the wine,
> make it the sourer, and sooner to corrupt and become faultie: & of the
> grapes that are soure, putrified and drie, there proceedeth great domage
> unto the wine.
> How to purge wine, that is made of soure grapes.
> It is good to separate all the soure grapes, likewise such as are corrupt,
> and keepe them by themselves from the better sort, and the Must that is
> made of such grapes, is cured in this manner: seeth raine water till it
> consumeth half away, and of this sodden water put thereof into the the
> wine, as much as you esteem to be the tenth part of the Must, and then
> boile it againe with the wine, til the tenth part consumeth in the boiling.
> To cure the wine that is faulty by reason of raine water
> fallen upon it.
> If the grapes growing yet upon the vine, or after they be gathered, be
> moist and wetter then they should be, by reason of the water and raine
> fallen upon them, if you perceive the Must be too weake, (which is knowne
> by tasting thereof) after it is put into the vessell, presently after the
> first boiling, you may poure it out into other vessels, because that all
> the slime and thicknes by reason of the weight thereof sinketh to the
> bottome: some boile it upon the fire til it consumeth the twentie part,
> putting into it the hundreth part of gesso.
> How to put Must into the vessels.
> It is good to wash the vessels with pure salt water, and make them cleane
> with a spunge & perfume them with insence before the Must be put into them,
> but fill them not too full, nor yet too little, but doe it with a meane,
> boiling the Must till it rise up unto the top, but not run over, then with
> your hands or else with glasses (when the Must is in the vessels) take away
> the froth or any other skum that riseth upon it, & cast it far off from the
> vat, for if it lieth neere, it ingendreth hoarines and causeth a filthy
> smell, which two thinges make the wine to turne, wherefore it is convenient
> that in such places there be a sweet smell.
> How you must keepe Must all the yeare.
> Before the grapes are stamped, put the Must that commeth from them, (the
> same day it is made) in a vessel by it selfe, which shall be well clensed
> both within and without, fill the vessell halfe full, and stop it well with
> gesso, because the Must may continue sweet a long time, but it you put the
> vessell (being stopped with copper) into a wel, it will continue much
> longer, because that not being able to boile, it will alwaies bee Must.
> How to know if there be water in the wine or Must, and how to seperate the
> one from the other.
> Put into the Must either peares, or mulberries, and if there be water in
> the wine or must they will sinke unto the bottome, and if there be none,
> they will swim on the top: others put the wine into a new earthen pot, not
> washed, & let it continue therein for the space of two daies that the water
> may distil out of the pot, and nothing remaine but the wine: others
> annointing a spunge with oile, stop the mouth of the vessell therewith, and
> then turne it cleane over, and if there be water in the wine, it will soake
> into the spunge. Water is taken from wine in this maner, put alum into the
> wine vesell, then stop the mouth of the vessell with a spunge dipped in
> oile, then turn it in such sort, that there may nothing but water issue
> forth.
> When you shall draw or rack wine, and open the vessels.
> You must racke wine when the wind is in the North, but never when it is in
> the South, the weakest in the spring time, the strongest in the summer, but
> those wines that grow in dry places, shall be racked after the sunne is in
> the equinoxiall hivernall.  When wine is racked the Moone being in the
> full, it maketh it sharp: when wine is taken from his lees it maketh it
> more subtill and weake: it is necessarie to racke wine when the Moone
> increaseth, and is under the earth, and to observe the rising of the stars,
> because the lees (when the stars rise) doth move & stir up, especially when
> roses bud forth, and vines begin to spring, when the vessell is opened, it
> is good to spend the wine that is on the top of the vessell, and that which
> is in the bottome, and to keep that which is in the middle thereof, because
> it is of more strength, and continueth longest, for the wine that is neer
> unto the mouth of the vessell, as being neerest unto the aire, is weaker,
> because it casteth foorth a vapor from it, & that which is in the bottome,
> is in the lees, doth soone decay.
> It is requisite when the wine is drawne into other vessels, not to let it
> run at the mouth of the vessels, but somewhat lower, that it stop not at
> the mouth, but have some aire in the running out, least you feare it will
> become soure, which if you doubt, let it not take any aire, but make the
> vent of greene willowes, the bark or outward peele scraped cleane away: if
> you open the vat by day, you must beware that the heat of the sun touch not
> the wine, and if you open it by night, you must keepe the light of the
> Moone from it, and when the vats are emptie, you must wash them presently
> with salt water, and ashes, or drie them with clay earth, if the wine be
> weake, but if it be very strong, it is sufficient to close it up on all
> sides, because the smell and strength of the wine preserveth the vessels.
> What time and how you shall tast wine.
> Some tast wines when the wind bloweth in the North, but it is better to
> tast when it bloweth in the East, because the Eastwind moveth the wine
> more, and sheweth what it is.  It is not good to tast wine being fasting,
> because it spoileth the tast, neither is it good to tast it after much meat
> or drink.  Further, he that tasteth wine, must not have eaten any bitter or
> salt meat, nor have eaten much, but a little meat, & that it be digested.
> Some seeking to deceive those that buy wine, take a new vessell, which they
> dip into old wine that is good, and hath a good smell, and then put that
> wine into it that they meane to sell, which I set downe to give you
> instructions that you be not deceived.
> How to know wines that will indure and continue long.
> Herein you must have care oftentimes to smell unto your wines, least there
> bee any alteration in the lees, ingendring hoarines or white mouldines that
> groweth under the buts, or divers other like things, because that such
> things are signes that the wine decaieth, but if no such things appear, it
> is to be judged that the wine will continue long.  Some botle a little
> wine, and being cold, they tast it and as they find that in the tast,  so
> they esteme the rest of the wine will fall out in goodnes, but it is
> requisite to tast the wine in the middle of the but.
> Of divers infections that happen unto wine.
> It happeneth unto wine by meanes of the corrupt waterishnes that is in the
> vines, or in the vessels, that it infecteth and spoileth by divers meanes,
> wrought in it by the strange heat thereof, as you shall perceive, for if
> there fal unto it a little lees, or a little wine that hath lees in it, and
> bee put into the vessell without opening it, it will convert into hoarines,
> and infect the wine: besides this, all other wine that is put into it, is
> thereby infected.  And if any of that wine be put into a good butt, or be
> mingled with other wine, it both infect it, and converteth it into the same
> corrupt nature: further, wine that is perfect good & strong, & especiallie
> that which is sweet above measure, when the weather is hote, the vessel not
> being ful, and not close above, the heat and moistnes thereof issueth
> forth, the coldnes and driness thereof remaining, whereby it turneth to be
> soure.
> At what time wine doth soone change, and corrupt.
> All wines doe oftentimes change in the rising of Charles waine, and in the
> Solstitio estinall, and in the dog daies, which commonly are called Cumina,
> and generally when the wind is westwardly, and in heat, or frost, or in
> great tempests, or by overmuch wind, or by earthquakes, or thunders, or at
> the springing of roses and of vines.
> How to prevent the changing of wine.
> Salt burned, and put into wine, doth keep it from changing, and that it
> boileth not by more than it should, nor that it riseth with any great scum:
> put sweet almonds into black grapes, and letting them stand, they conserve
> the wine.  Grapes being gathered, the kernels taken forth and mixed with
> sand, and put into the Must, or wine being sodden, maketh it fat, and
> indure long.  Gesso when it is first put into the wine maketh it bitter,
> but in time, the bitternesse goeth away, and the Gesso worketh this effect,
> that the wine indureth a long time, & suffereth it not to change: the
> quantitie that must bee put in, if the wine bee small and of a humide tast,
> or troubled with tempests, is the hundreth part of Gesso.  But if it bee
> strong by reason of the strength, the halfe of an hundreth part of gesso
> will serve.
> Wines that change being taken from their infected lees, and put unto the
> lees of good wine, they will indure long. Some men put into wine the fruit
> of the Cedar tree, well brused to pouder, and therewith doe mingle gaules
> likewise brused to pouder.  Some beating the ashes of a vine being burnt,
> with fennel seed, mixing them together, doe put them into wine.  Others put
> the wine that changeth into other vessels, & remove it into another house,
> for if it be hurt by reason of heat, they remove it into a fresher place,
> and if it spoile by reason of the humiditie and coldnes of the place, where
> it is, they put it in some other place that is drier and hote.  Clay put
> into wine after it hath botled, doth purge it, drawing downe with it the
> infection thereof into the lees but if it be stamped it maketh the wine of
> good favor, and sweet, because the birds that eat of it in winter time, are
> preserved therby and live, for it comforteth the wine and maketh it
> continue long.  A little yvie both black and white put into wine, maketh it
> continue, the like doth sodden wine, mixing a third part thereof in the
> must.  Wheat flower maketh it durable.  The root of the pine tree, keepeth
> wine from changing.
> An excellent infection to preserve wine, which is called
> Panaccia.
> Take two ounces of Aloes, two ounces of insence, & two ounces of amomo,
> bind all these fast in a linnen cloath, & put them into the vessel after
> the wine is therein, and that it hath purged, and of this mixture, put into
> each vessel a measure called a cluchiero, full, then shake it out of the
> cloath, & leave the pouder in the wine, and three daies after do it again
> with roots of canes.
> To keepe wine from changing.
> Let it boile two or three daies in the grapes & draw it out in the month of
> Februarie, and of this boile the third part & mix them together, then into
> twelve corses of wine put a common poringerful of salt.  Or doe it in this
> sort, and it will be excellent and pleasant to drinke what wine soever it
> bee: scum the grapes, and all the wine that is not boiled with the grapes
> boile it on the fire, and scum it, and so put it in the vessell.
> How to remedie wine that is changed.
> Temper wine that is turned or changed, with a good quantitie of hony,
> throwing it into the vessell wherein the wine is.  Then stir it in the butt
> with a sticke, at the bung, letting it remaine so, and the wine will cleare
> it selfe, by reason the honny maketh the dregs that are in the wine to
> descend into the bottome: it is good to put into the vessell where the wine
> is changed (at the time when grapes are gathering) divers berries of
> grapes, which shall lie therein in steed of the mother, because those
> grapes, after a certaine time, will turne the wine that is changed, to his
> right goodnes and favor.  And before you doe any thing unto wine that is
> changed, you must draw it foorth and take it from the infected lees.  Also
> put the wine into vessels out of which wine hath ben newly taken forth,
> that it may clarefie therein, and let it remaine therein as long as it is
> needfull, but if there be any quantitie of wine, it must not bee done all
> at one time, but a little at once, that the wine doe not extinguish the
> heat of the grapes and hinder not the boiling thereof, wherein it
> clarefieth, and how little a time the Must continueth in the grapes, so
> much the stronger it worketh,
> Wine is clarefied & made good when you beat twentie graines of pepper and
> twentie pestachie, putting thereto a little wine, then put afterward
> thereto sixe cesternes of Wine, having first stirred everything together,
> then letting them rest quietly, that they may worke, a foggie wine is
> presently cleare, if in a sexter of wine you put seven kernels of a pine
> aple, stirring them often, and then letting them stand, by little and
> little the Wine will clarefie, that you may draw it and use it.  Some
> clarefie it with white of egs, and with salt, but take white stones out of
> a river and bake them in an oven till they begin to cracke, then beat them
> into pouder, take likewise white salt beaten into small pouder, and in a
> vessell of ten messers put six ounces of pouder of stones, & foure of salt,
> and stirring them together, put the wine into the vessell, and if for every
> measure you put therein two or three egs it will be good.  This may be done
> likewise with the same stones not baked, being beaten to small pouder, and
> without salt, and it shall bee good to put thereunto a little hony, because
> hony that is red, restoreth the colour of white wine that hath lost the
> colour, and hony is clammy, and heavy, and a preserver of all liquors. But
> if the wine bee over much troubled and thicke, put thereto a little more of
> each of the thinges aforesaid, because, by reason of the waight, do keepe
> downe the lees, and drive the thickenesse to the bottome, that it can not
> so easily rise up unto the top, and it giveth likewise no evill savour to
> the wine. But if the wine be so much troubled, that being as it were rank
> and in a manner fatty like oile, the naturall heat thereof being in a maner
> wholy extinguished, then there is no remedie to be had, no more then for a
> deadman.
> It will clarefy also in this maner, if you put into a vessel of forty
> measures, twentie egs, which you must beat in a basen or boule with a clean
> spoon, then put into them a poringer ful of Tartarum, & mingle them
> together, adding thereto a little wine, then put it into the vessell, which
> done, stir them well at the bung with a cloven woodden stick, & thrust it
> oftentimes downe into the lees, then put it againe into the vessel, and
> when it is clear take out al the thick matter on the sides of the vessell:
> but you must understand, that into white wine you must only put white of
> egs, but into claret or red both whites & yolks, and into Wine that is much
> troubled, you must put in more quantitie: further in place of Tartarum, you
> may put salt, and lastly there is put into the vessel a little clear water.
> Wine is clarefied, and holpen of the il savor & changing, if in a vessel of
> three measures, you put halfe a pound of cleare roch alum, & as much sucket
> of roses, with eight pounds of hony.  In this maner, seeth the honny very
> wel, & skim it, & when it is cold, put the alum into it, being beaten into
> small pouder, and the sucket dissolved, which mingle all in a measure of
> wine, then put them into the vessell, & stir them wel with a cloven stick,
> & the vessell being open, let it stand so till the next day, & the second
> or third day it will be cleare: but if the wine bee much troubled &
> spoiled, put so much the more of the thinges aforesaid: nevertheles you
> must understand that before you do it, you must draw the wine out into
> another vessell, and take it from the infected lees.
> How wine and the vessels are preserved from hoarines.
> If wine be hoary or have any other evil savor, take a white grapes sprigs
> with the roots, and set it in the ground under the butt, in such sort that
> the roots may be right against the mouth upon the butt, & put the branches
> in the wine a handfull deepe, at the bung above the butt, let it stand
> there three daies, and till it looseth the evill savor.  Some take a white
> grape branch & put the head of it into the vessell in place of the bung,
> and set it on the ground, setting it fast that it stirreth not, and so the
> hoarines daily issueth forth by the branch, by which meanes the evil savor
> deminisheth.  For the same, take Medlers that are bitter, being hanged on
> three or more packthrids, put them in at the bung that they may descend
> into the wine, letting them remaine therein fifteene daies or a month, &
> they remedie the wine & the vessel of the hoarines.  It is said likewise it
> is done, if every morning and evening there bee hanged in the wine a bundle
> of sage, that toucheth not the wine, and being taken out againe, wash it in
> water, stopping the bung well.
> Take likewise a handfull of the hearbe called Nierella or Morella, and
> being bound with a litle string, in the morning put it into the vessell at
> the bung, that it descend not into the wine above two fingers deep, and the
> cord being made fast upon the vessell, stop the vessell hard, and let it
> hang therein the space of one day, and at night take it out, putting other
> fresh hearbs therein, letting them remaine therein till the next day in the
> morning, which you must do for three or foure daies one after the other.
> Those vessels that are hoarie are cured in this maner, put a quantitie of
> sleacked lime, into a butt of twelve baskets, and put into the same butt
> being stopped, either boiled water or wine, & let it bee so well stopped
> that no aire issue forth.  Let it stand a little space, then roule it up
> and downe divers times: that done, open it, and let the liquor that is in
> it issue forth, & wash the butt againe with cold water.  Or otherwise, put
> gineper (being sodden in a chaldron of wine, and that is seething hote)
> into the vessels, & do as I said before, and it will be better, if both the
> remedies be used one after the other, that is, the second after the first.
> In the same maner, the fats are remedied, but because they cannot bee
> stopped in such sort as the buts may be, they are covered with clothes, so
> that they cannot send foorth any aire: the buts are preserved from
> mouldinesse, if when they are to be emptied, they stand open untill there
> bee but a smal quantitie of wine in them, and that they bee very well
> dried, and after that well washed with salt water, or wine, or else not
> emptieng foorth that little quantitie of Wine that is in them, the butt
> being wel stopped, that the smell or sent may not issue forth.
> Thompson Conservation Lab.
> 7549 N. Fenwick
> Portland, OR  97217
> 503/735-3942
> http://www.teleport.com/~tcl
> "The lyfe so short; the craft so long to lerne."
> Chaucer  _Parlement of Foules_  1386
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