How to make wine. Wines have invariably become a part of our lives. They are either at birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and have become an essential component of romantic dinner dates. So maybe you love wines and have always wanted to discover the techniques used in making them. Not to worry! You’re in the right place. Always store your wine in a wine cooler.
The theory behind winemaking is simple. It all has to do with fermentation- grape, and yeast reacting in favorable conditions. Wine can be made from many fruits, but grapes and berries are popular choices. You do not have to be a vintner, own a big winery or study Oenology to be able to make wine. With the right set of equipment and instruments, you will be on your way to making wine that people will love.
Are you ready? Let’s go:
Know the legal rules and warnings:
It is a free world, but that doesn’t mean there are no rules. Although winemaking is legal in many countries, you have to do your research on the laws and legal conditions for persons going into the business. For instance, many countries do not approve
- The production of homemade wine without authorization from appropriate government agencies.
- The sale and consumption of homemade wines for persons under the legal age.
And so much more. So get your facts right before you start.
Get your equipment and ingredients in order
This is very important.
- Ingredients such as grapes (or whatever fruit you are using), granulated sugar/honey, yeast, and filtered water must be ready before the production day. Ensure that your grapes are in good condition, as their quality will determine the quality of your wine. It is advisable that you purchase fresh grapes without any chemical additives if you are not close to a vineyard. If you own a vineyard, know the right time and conditions to harvest them. Also, do not try to use tap water, as they may contain minute dirt and impurities that could contaminate your wine. Filtered or distilled water only!
- Your equipment should also be put in place. You will need a 7.6L or 2-gallon glass jar or crock (glass jars are more preferable, as most crocks have been used for pickles and sauerkrauts that could contaminate your wine), 3.8L or a gallon carboy (a small glass container with a small neck, normally used for holding acids), a plastic tube for siphoning, clean wine bottles with corks (you would definitely want your wine to look the part), an airlock (you can improvise this by using a PVC pipe with vinyl tubing or even a balloon), a stirrer and a hydrometer for testing sugar levels. Ensure you get your equipment sterilized as well.
Clean your grapes thoroughly:
it is very essential that you take off the leaves and stems and clean the grapes very well to remove any atom of grit or dirt. Then rinse it and put it in the crock. You can decide to peel it thereafter, but it is advisable to wash the fruit first to allow you control the yeast on the body, as wild yeast can produce foul smells and alter the flavor of your wine.
You can do this with either your hands or a clean potato masher, but ensure that you crush and squeeze the fruits to get the juices to the best of your ability. Keep doing it till it almost reaches the top of the crock, about one and a half inches. If it doesn’t reach, you can add filtered water. This is why it is advisable to harvest or buy lots of grapefruits as some of them may not juice properly. Some people add substances like Campden tablet into the mixture to kill bacteria and traces of wild yeast. But if you do not want to, you can simply add 2 cups of boiling water over the fruit.
Stir in the sweeteners:
Honey not only sweetens your wine but sort of activates the yeast. The amount of honey that should be added depends on how sweet you want it to be. More sweetness means more honey. Most times, the grapes turn out to be very sweet so it may not be necessary to add honey. You can add more honey to the wine if it doesn’t turn out as sweet as you hoped. Sugar can also serve as an alternative to honey. Stir it in continuously.
If you are using the wild yeast on the skin of the fruit, then you can skip this step. But if you are adding your own yeast, now is the time to do so. Pour it into the crock and stir carefully and thoroughly. This mixture is called a must.
Store the must overnight:
Cover the crock with the cover designed for it or cloth held on top with a rubber band. This prevents bugs from entering the mixture and allows air to flow in and out of it. Then store it in a warm place overnight, preferably 70 degrees. It is highly essential that you find a suitable place for storage. A cold area will not support the growth of the yeast, while a warm area will kill it. You can find a suitable place in your kitchen.
Stir it a few times a day:
Continuously stir the must at least four times a day and re-cover it for at least three days. You will soon start seeing the bubbly action as a result of the yeast. The fermentation process has just begun.
Siphon the liquid:
When the bubbles must have reduced, you have to strain the solids and siphon the liquid into your carboy for long-term preservation. Once you put it, quickly put your airlock to allow the outflow of gas but prevent the inflow of oxygen that can render your work useless. You can even use a balloon by affixing it at the top and securing the ends with a rubber band.
Let it stay:
Resist the urge to taste it for at least a month. It is much better to live the wine to age a little bit so that it results in a better and more mature taste. This is very important, especially if you added honey, as your wine may be too sweet if you taste it immediately.
Bottle the wine:
You have to make your wine look the part, ladies and gentlemen! Siphon the wine into proper and clean wine bottles, fill them almost to the top (about one and a half inches away), and cork them quickly. You can allow the wine to age longer in the bottles or enjoy them immediately.
Quick fact: Dark bottles usually sustain the color of red wines.
Avoid certain things:
Things like selling your homemade wine or selling it in bulk without authorization, using metal or wooden containers or vessels whilst preparing, increasing the temperature to hasten the fermentation process, bottling the wine before allowing it to ferment or storing the mixture in unfermented bottles or jars. Doing things like this can jeopardize your effort in a lot of ways.
Hopefully, with these steps, you will be able to make wine to your heart’s content.