I'm trying to make white wine vinegar using the traditional method - leaving an open jar with water-wine solution in a warm place (~7% alcohol content in the mixture) and waiting for the right bacteria to make their way inside.
At the moment I have the jar covered with a paper towel held by a rubber band. I assumed it wouldn't be a problem for bacteria to get through and I need something to prevent dust and other particulate from getting into the batch (especially cat hair, I keep finding them everywhere). Is this setup fine for making wild vinegar, or should I uncover it to make it easier for bacteria to find their way inside? It can take a very long time for first colonies to form using this method, I don't want to wait a month just to find out I was doing it wrong.
As a side-note, the wine bottle I used for making this vinegar makes a "pop" sound every time I open it. Does it mean that I already introduced the right alcohol-eating bacteria into it? I covered it with an old cork I had laying on the counter, because the one it came with was so swollen, I couldn't push it back inside - that might have been a source of bacteria.