How to make homemade wine
Here are the fundamental basics necessary to make winePope Pius XII summed it up nicely when he said, "Wine in itself is an excellent thing." It was years later when winemaker Robert Mondavi said, "Making good wine is a skill, making fine wine is an art."
Whether or not you want to make good or fine wine is entirely up to you, but here are the simple basics on how to make wine, at least to get you started.
You will need grapes (or grape concentrate) and yeast. If you elect to use a grape concentrate, make sure you buy it at a specialty wine store or online - not from the juice shelves at your local grocery store. Making good wine requires a high quality of concentrate, so plan accordingly.
If this is your first time making wine you will need a wine-making kit. Buying a kit is easier than purchasing the necessary brewing equipment separately. Hold off until you get a taste of wine-making and decide it is something you truly enjoy.
How to make wine - the process:
If you decide to use actual grapes instead of grape concentrate, the first step is to harvest the fruit and remove the stems completely. Stems may not seem like a big deal, however because they contain high concentrations of bitter tannins, the stems can completely change the taste of wine.
Now it's time to break the skins on the grapes in order to release the juice. This is the stage of wine-making that most everyone is familiar with - crushing the grapes. How much you crush will also affect the outcome of the wine. For a fruity aroma, you barely crush the grapes at all.
Primary fermentation is next. During this phase, which can take up to a few weeks, the grape juice converts to alcohol. Yeast interacts with the natural sugars of the fruit and creates ethanol, with carbon dioxide being the natural byproduct of this reaction. Wine is generally fermented between 64-68 degrees unless you're making red wine, which is traditionally fermented at higher temperatures - up to 85 degrees.
At this phase it is beneficial to press the grapes once more in an effort to release more juices. Following this extraction, a second fermentation will occur.
It is up to the winemaker to determine when the fermenting process is complete.
The last step is bottling. When bottling your wine you might consider adding sulfates to ensure that fermentation has ceased.
A quick and easy recipe for homemade wine:
(adapted from essortment.com)
- 13 32-ounce bottles of white grape juice
- 1 1/2 gallons of filtered water
- 7 1/2 cups of sugar
- 1 package of yeast
- 15 bottles
Pour the juice into a 5-gallon container. Boil the water and sugar together until the sugar dissolves. Set aside to cool, then add the grape juice and yeast package. Securely close the container so that no air is released. Allow the wine to ferment for four weeks before bottling.