How To Make Wine

How To Make Wine

How to make wine, Sampling the Wine
By Tim Patterson from Flickr.com

How to Make Wine – Wine Making is easy.  I have made homemade wine with grapes, honey, dandelions, apples and blackberries with both wonderful and not so wonderful results.   I can only imagine our ancestors 8000 years ago discovering that those overly ripe grapes packed a “punch” that they wanted to exploit.  Wine making has been around that long, at least. 

Wine can be made out of almost anything that combines the right amount of sugar, acid and yeast.  Of course, the most common wines are made from fruit, and the most common of those are grapes.  Of course, now we have many options other than using the fruit itself, since you can also make wine from fruit juice or juice concentrate.  There are even wine making kits you can use.  This brief video shows some of the beginning steps in the wine making process.  Of course, he is doing a larger batch than this recipe shows.

One of the key things to keep in mind is Keeping Your Utensils And Equipment Clean.  This is Very Necessary.  You do not want stray organisms in your must (the fruit mixture) contaminating it and making vinegar instead of wine or something with “off” flavors or even mold. 

So, getting down to business.  I will take you through a basic wine recipe using some juice concentrate that you can buy from a wine making supply store or even use frozen fruit juices from the supermarket.  I will assume about 1 gallon of juice mixture for this grape wine recipe.  You can scale this upward if you want more.

Equipment You Will Need:

1 Gallon Glass Jugs (You need 2 of these)
Hydrometer and Test Jar
Fermentation Lock
Plastic Tubing
Funnel
4-6 Bottles
Corks

Ingredients You Will Need:

2 Cans Frozen 100% Grape Juice
1 Gallon Distilled Water
1 Package Winemaking Yeast (not bakers yeast)
1 1/2 lb Sugar
2 Teaspoon Acid Blend (or juice from 1 lemon) to give mixture right acidity
1 Teaspoon Pectic Enzyme to clarify wine
1 Campden Tablet Crushed (Potassium metabisulphite) to stop fermentation or sterilize jugs (This kills bacteria and the yeast.  It will also kill wild yeast, if you are using fruit instead of juice.)

Wine Making Process:

Sterilize gallon jug with boiling water or chlorox (rinse very well).  
Bring 1 quart water to boil and add the sugar.  Stir until dissolved.  
Now add the frozen grape juice and mix together.  
Add enough water to make 1 gallon.  Pour into gallon jug to 1 inch from top.  Cover with napkin.
Set aside for 12 hours, then add yeast and mix in.  
Keep covered with napkin.  Some recipes insert sterilized fermentation lock at this point.
After 5 days when fermentation has slowed down, rack wine into a second sterilized gallon glass jug.  (Racking is siphoning wine into second jug using sterilized plastic tubing)
.  Use hydrometer to test specific gravity.  It should be about 1.090 to start for a wine 12% alcohol. 
Top up with water and insert fermentation lock, if you haven’t already done so.
Let this mixture continue to ferment until wine is clear for up to 30 days.    You will want a place that is fairly dark and between 65-75 degrees.  (You really do want that yeast to keep growing.)
Rack wine again, sweeten, if desired and stabilize with Campden tablet to stop fermentation. You can take a chance you will get some off results if you don’t want to use Campden tablets.  To do this, you will want to make sure that fermentation has stopped completely.  This may take a little longer than 30 days since you don’t want your bottles to explode if fermentation has not stopped. 

I didn’t use Campden tablets when I lived in California, because I don’t like the sulphites in my wine, but it is a risk.  When I moved to the Pacific Northwest, there are a lot of mold spores on the fruit and I had to start using Campden tablets to avoid that risk.  (Mold will give you really  yucky tasting wine, which you need to throw out.)
Siphon wine into sterilized glass bottles and cork them up.
Let age for at least 6 months.  
Enjoy

This video shows the rest of the process with racking your wine. 

Well, that is it.  A very simple recipe for grape wine along with the process on How To Make Wine.  There are lots of variations on the wine making process and many, many wine recipes.  It becomes a little more complicated when you use your own fruit, but not much more.  I have used grapes from my own garden for the wine.  The key thing to remember is to keep things clean so that you lessen the chance of getting vinegar or yucky wine.

One really serendipitous thing happened to us about a year ago.  We purchased un-filtered, un-pasteurized apple cider from a local farm.  We did not drink it fast enough.  One day, I saw that it had bubbles on the top, a sure sign that fermentation was going on.  Even though, I could have gotten something really yucky, I cleaned out a glass jug, racked and siphoned the apple cider into the jug and put in a fermentation lock into the top and let it sit.  Three weeks later, I had wonderful hard cider.  All of this was by accident.

I have had some fun making nice wines.