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Taste of winter: fermented rice wine

(gowuxi.com)

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A bowl of rice wine. [Photo/WeChat account: news-wuxixinwen]

We have entered the coldest days of the year, which is a good news for wine makers in Youwang village, Wuxi, East China's Jiangsu province, as the season of making fermented rice wine has arrived.

The 10th lunar month is the best time to make rice wine. Such lingering cold days are favored by saccharomycetes, a type of fungi, which can smoothly turn rice into mellow and soft wine.

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Soaked glutinous rice is being steamed. [Photo/WeChat account: news-wuxixinwen]

Making wine is skilled work and requires some strength, patience and control of timing.

The first step is to soak glutinous rice for a day and then steam it until the rice grains' edges become transparent. Next, spray the well-steamed rice with cold water and cool it down to a temperature of 28 to 35 degrees Celsius.

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Fermented glutinous rice is a by-product of rice wine making. [Photo/WeChat account: news-wuxixinwen]

The most crucial step of the wine making is the control of the rice's temperature, which depends entirely on the hand feeling of experienced vintners.

Stir some distiller's yeast into the cool rice evenly after it is poured into a wine jar and then make some deep holes in the rice. After that, it is all up to the passage of time.

About three weeks later, the rice wine is done. The longer the wine is stored, the mellower it tastes. Fermented glutinous rice, a by-product of rice wine making, is also a popular winter food in the Jiangnan region.

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