Simple Steps to a Quick and Easy Wine

by admin on January 22, 2008

traditional_cyprus_wine_making

If you have are a wine enthusiast, then it’s easy to assume you may be well suited to making wine at home. It’s becomes a hobby to many people worldwide. And in today’s technology of light speed information exchanging hands there are many options offered through the Internet. Your dream of wearing a beret while whistling an Aria making wine may very well become a reality. Most uninformed people will shy away from making their own wine due to research involved investments and space available.

It may even sound complicated and out of reach. After all, most of us don’t own a vineyard, or a fruit grove. Where would one get the equipment? How would one set it up in a house? The truth of the matter is making wine is simple, straightforward, and the equipment easy to find. With enough tenacity and creativity the equipment is inexpensive and easy to find. As far as room I have seen home wine makers use a microwave cart in their house. It is not a pastime for the impatient, however. Wine can take anywhere from a month to several years to enjoy the fruits of their labor. However once the bottle is uncorked the enjoyment and taste can fulfill anyone’s doubts. Imagine the joy of popping the cork on a bottle you made, and tasting it for the first time. Nothing could compare to sharing your very own vintage with friends and family.

Before you begin you will need to purchase a list of equipment and products. The best resource for this is a wine making supply store, which should be listed in your yellow pages or from any online supplier. Generally some of these online wine shops will also supply their users with blogs articles including links to buy the required equipment.

Following is a list of equipment you will need:
• Primary fermentation container (4-5-gallon food grade quality heavy plastic container with a lid)
• Secondary fermentation container (2 or 3 1-gallon glass jugs)
• Bung (rubber cork for the airlock to fit in. Should fit into the opening on the secondary fermentation container)
• Airlock
• Large nylon mesh straining bag
• 6 feet of clear plastic 1/2″ tubing
• 5 wine bottles for one gallon of wine
• Corks (size #9 fits standard wine bottle)
• Hand corker
• Hydrometer (which measures the alcohol content)

Other items you may want to purchase, but are not essential are:
• Thermometer
• Acid titration kit (measures the acid level)
• Grape press (essential if you are making wine from fresh grapes)
All of these items can be found at a winemaking supply store where you will also find these ingredients that you will add to your wine. Keep in mind there are also “Wine Kits” these will generally have all the required equipment for any beginner
• Campden tablets
• Wine yeast
• Yeast nutrient
• Pectic enzyme
• Grape tannin
• Acid blend

Now that you have all your equipment you need to prep everything by first sanitizing you area and euipment well. You want your preparation area to be as sanitary as possible. Be sure to clean and sterilize the bottles you intend to store your wine in. The last thing you want after investing your time and money is a bottle of vinegar. You will need to clear a cool, dark place to place your secondary fermentation jugs at the end of your process.

The next step, if you have not already done so, is choose a recipe. Most people stick to the different grape varieties, however you can make wine from many fruits. It is fairly easy to find good grapes, apples, plums, berries etc. or concentrate of the various fruits to use in the recipe. If using whole fruit wash it thoroughly, check for debris or rotten spots and discard. Make sure to remove stems, which could make your wine taste bitter.

You are now ready to prep the fruit or juice for the remaining ingredients to be added. This entails crushing, chopping, soaking, pressing, or boiling. The extracted fruit is called “must”. Make sure to follow the recipe’s instructions carefully with this procedure. Once extracted place the must in the primary fermentation container. (If you are using juice concentrate prepare it per instructions on the can or bottle and put this in the primary fermentation container.)

This is where you add the other ingredients you purchased with your equipment. Pay close attention to your recipe since the order is imperative to the quality of wine you are making. First you will add the Campden tablet. This is a sulfite that prevents oxidation and growth of wild yeast and promotes the growth of the cultured yeast. Second you will add pectic enzyme. This helps promote the flavor, aroma, and acid extraction from the fruit. Next is tannin if called for. Tannin sometimes needs to be added to white wines to give it more bite. Yeast and sugar are necessary to produce the wine’s alcoholic content. Use granulated sugar for this, do not use powdered or brown sugar.

Once all these ingredients have been added the fermentation process begins. This part of the process takes 3-10 days. Make sure the primary fermentation container is covered lightly with a cloth secured with a rubber band.

Once the initial process is over it is time to transfer this to a secondary glass jug. Begin by straining the pulp from the liquid in the primary container. Pour the remaining liquid through a funnel into the gallon jugs. Once the jugs are filled fit the openings with an airlock. This traps the fermentation as you let the jugs sit for several weeks in a cool, dark place. Over the weeks check your wine to see how clear it is. It may be necessary to siphon the wine from this gallon jug to another clean jug. This may take several times until the liquid is clear and not cloudy. This procedure is called racking the wine.

Finally, when this fermentation process has ended, it will be time to bottle your wine. Using the same tubing you used to siphon during the racking procedure, transfer the wine from the secondary containers into the individual bottles. Do not overfill. Be sure to leave room for the corks. Now cork each bottle tightly and store upright for at least 3 days. Then you can store your bottles on their sides in a 55 degrees Fahrenheit storage closet. The rule of thumb is white wines are aged at least 6 months, before sampling, while the red wine should be aged for a year or more.

You explored the idea, educated yourself and produced your first vintage wine. Now, be patient and wait for the day you can open a bottle with pride and pour the first glass of this nectar to swish on your palette. Savor the ultimate flavor and aroma, as you taste for the first time your harmonious creation.

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