• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Mike Haasl
  • paul wheaton
stewards:
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Dave Burton
  • Joseph Lofthouse
master gardeners:
  • jordan barton
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Ash Jackson
  • Kate Downham

Trying to revive a red wine vinegar mother, help!

 
Posts: 2
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've inherited a very old (like 50 yrs) red wine vinegar mother. The instructions were to decant the vinegar and pour in a new bottle of red wine every month. It lives in an old wine bottle and has largely outgrown it but there's no way to get it out (short of breaking the bottle). It used to produce amazing vinegar in a short time but in recent months it has significantly slowed down in creating vinegar (like months to create something that's maybe at sipping level at best). I assume I'm accidentally killing it.

So, I'm trying to figure out how to save/revive it. Should I break the bottle and rehome it in a larger (wide mouthed) container(s)? Is is just dead and I should give up and try to start a new one? Should I keep pouring wine into this one and see what happens?

Help please!
 
master gardener
Posts: 675
Location: Lasqueti Island, British Columbia - USDA zone 8-9
301
goat books chicken food preservation pig solar homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
i am trying to make vinegar right now as well!

So i have consulted Sandor Katz The art of fermentation

And his suggestion is to try and make vinegar in a large container with a lot of surface area.

It might be worth it to break open that bottle to retrieve some of the starter.

He also notes that the vinegar needs oxygen to do its thing. So putting some cheese cloth or a cotton cloth ontop will most likely do the trick.



Another point he says is that you do not need to have a mother for the vinegar.  Do you have any old red wine vinegar? which you can use to make the new batch with?

Another thing is the wine you are using might have preservatives (sulphates) in it which i believe the vinegar mother does not like...
 
steward
Posts: 5278
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
1953
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Kate Jacob wrote:I've inherited a very old (like 50 yrs) red wine vinegar mother. The instructions were to decant the vinegar and pour in a new bottle of red wine every month.



I would go just the opposite direction... Pour about 1/4 bottle of vinegar from the old bottle onto fresh wine, and let a new mother form in the new bottle. The magic happens where the microbes touch the air. The gloppy slime seems like it's just dead cells and accumulated detritus. Then, once the microbes get established in the new bottle, throw the old one out.
vinegar-storage.jpg
Making vinegar.
 
Kate Jacob
Posts: 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you for the suggestions! I'll check out Sandor Katz.

I'd tried the approach of pouring the vinegar into fresh wine but nothing happened after about 2-3 weeks. Also tried the strange approach of pouring vinegar into wine and then adding a hot coal. No dice there either, unless I'm not giving it enough time.

It smells fine (like vinegar, not funky) so maybe its just dormant? If I were to break the bottle, any thoughts on splitting the original mother in half and putting it into two separate containers? Can you just cut it with a knife? Is it more complicated than that?

Good luck on your projects too!
 
Joseph Lofthouse
steward
Posts: 5278
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
1953
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That slime that the bacteria and yeasts leave behind, that people call mother... I treat that like feces. I think of it as essentially dead material. The part that is most living and vital is whatever is floating on the surface and exposed to air. Shaking the bottle to dislodge some microbes into the new wine can be as effective at inoculation as a huge clump of slime. Mother is self-regenerating, and the propagules are microscopic. A little inoculant goes a long ways. Any tiny speck of the slime contains the essence of the entire slime.

The mother needs to be exposed to air in order to grow, the more air, the faster the growth. (No lids on the fermenting botles. And at most a thin cloth to keep fruit-flies out.)  

If the new wine has had antibiotics added to it (sulphites, sorbates, etc) they can kill the inoculant.

Here's a photo depicting different growth rates depending on air exposure. I really like making vinegar in a rectangular glass cake pan. That gives a huge surface area.
vinegar.jpg
Mother of vinegar requires air. The more the better.
Mother of vinegar requires air. The more the better.
 
Did you just should on me? You should read this tiny ad:
BWB second printing, pre-order dealio (poor man's poll)
https://permies.com/t/147624/BWB-printing-pre-order-dealio
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic