Ever wanted to try to make your own wine but always thought it was too difficult to make? It actually is not that difficult and could be a fun project to try one day, who knows, maybe you might be the next Robert Mondavi. Most of the people I speak to that make their own wine tell me that it is a rewarding hobby. There are kits available with a basic online search; you can find inexpensive wine making kits online. Now with making wine, you have to experiment a little to get the style of wine that is more suitable for your tastes. Results vary with every batch but most of the time; you will wind up with a pretty descent drinkable wine. Now when you make wine you don’t always have to use grapes. You can mix it up and use all different types of fruits like apples, peaches, pears, etc. As far as some of the equipment you need include:
- Yeast (found in brewing shops or supermarkets)
- A large plastic tub to put the juice in and also needs a lid.
- A juicer (for lazy people who don’t want to squeeze their fruits)
- A glass fermenting jug. A large glass jar with an airlock. Something like mason jars but only larger.
- A plastic tube for siphoning
The first step is to get the juice. Some kits or recipes suggest watering down your fruit juice but I disagree. If you want a flavorful wine then don’t add the water. The electric juicer is great for hard fruits like apples and pears. There are many ways to extract the juice from your fruit. One method is boiling your fruits in a little water but this will lighten the flavor. Another method is to soak the fruit for a few days which is a good way to get extra coloring from the skins of the fruit. This step of making wine can be the most fun because you can include the kids and try to do it the old fashion way by stepping on your fruit like they did in the past. Stepping and crushing your fruit can be a little messy but a great memory making moment to share with family and friends. Some people mix fruits which has been successful so you might want to try that.
The second step is to add the sugar. Some juices are already naturally sweet so you will not need to add sugar but most fruit juices do need a little extra sugar. The ratio of sugar added is two pounds of sugar to one gallon of juice. This ratio will make a sweet wine but if you prefer a dry style wine, you can reduce the amount of sugar. Always remember that the more sugar in the juice will create a higher alcohol wine. One of the better ways to add the sugar to your juice is to slowly simmer your juice in a large stainless steel pot and dissolve the sugar into the juice.
The next step on our way to making some great wine is to add the yeast. Dissolve your yeast in a little warm water to activate the yeast. Usually there are instructions on the temperature of the water to activate the yeast. After activating the yeast wait a few minutes then add the yeast to your juice and seal up the jar. The fermentation should start soon and you will know by seeing bubbles which is the yeast converting the sugar to alcohol.
The waiting game is the name step. Put your jar in a warm place and leave it. The longer you wait, the better your wine will taste. Average time is about nine months to a year. It can be consumed earlier but it will be rougher and not as good. The waiting really makes a difference. Now you do have to maintain the juice once a month. You will begin to notice a white layer appearing on the bottom of the jar which is the dead yeast cells falling to the bottom. To prevent the wine from absorbing the yeast taste, you should siphon out the juice to another container and discard the dead yeast cells. Do not bottle your wine until the juice is clear. Once the bubbles stop showing and the juice is clear, you can then bottle your wine for storage.
Some tips to remember are to store the wine away. Resist the temptation of drinking it at this stage and store it in a cool place for up to two years. Enjoy it with friends and family and reap the benefits of your rewards. There is no exact recipe and experimenting with all different types of fruits and juices is good. Eventually you will find your style and have your own personal recipe. So enjoy and have fun. If the wine comes out really good then please send me a bottle. As always enjoy.
Further Reading: Joining a Wine Club
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