In all the excitement of adding yeast to start off the fermentation of the blackcurrant wine yesterday, it slipped my mind until later to take the initial Specific Gravity (SG) which measures how sugary the juice is.
When the fermentation has finished & the yeast has transformed all that sweetness into alcohol, the SG is taken again & the strength of the wine can be calculated, which is useful so that you know how much respect it deserves - some of the parsnip wine that I have made has been nearly as strong as sherry, so I serve it in a sherry glass.
If mum came round for Sunday lunch after church & I gave her a wine glass full, although it would slip down in a most agreeable fashion, I suspect that she'd fall asleep before pudding was served, & she'd certainly lose at Scrabble in the afternoon.
Measuring the SG is simplicity itself, assuming that you have a jug, a hydrometer & a sample tube (or a tall glass). As ever, sterilise these (DON'T use boiling water on the hydrometer! It will break! Use a tsp of sterilising powder in a big mixing bowl full of water and put the jug, tube and hydrometer in for 10 minutes before rinsing off with cold water).
Dip the jug in the bucket, fill the sample tube with the hydrometer in until it floats. Give the hydrometer a whirl round to dislodge any airbubbles & to make sure that it floats freely and read the SG off the scale.
The wine measures 1086 at the mo (the aim is for 1080-1090 as a start) so that's fine - and off it goes.