How to Make Wine
Ready to channel your inner winemaker? You’re in luck! Our simple seven-step wine making guide will show you exactly how you can make wine at home.
7 Easy Steps to Make Wine
Prepare the wine making produce by cutting up larger fruit, busting skins on smaller fruit, chopping up fruits such as raisins, and bruising any produce like ginger root, etc. Also, any large pits should be removed. It is also important to understand that you can over-process the produce. Food processors, blenders and such should not be used for this purpose. Doing so will cause too much bitterness from the skin and seeds of the produce to be incorporated into the resulting wine.
Stir together all of the wine making ingredients called for, EXCEPT for the Wine Yeast, into a primary fermenter. For a list of basic wine making recipes go to our home wine making recipes page. Collect any pulp in a fermentation bag and submerge the bag into the wine making mixture. Add water to equal the batch to 5 gallons. Then add 5 Campden Tablets. They should be crushed up before adding. Do not add the wine yeast at this point in the process. Adding the wine yeast at the same time you add the Campden Tablets will only result in destroying the yeast.
Cover the fermenter with a thin, clean towel and wait 24 hours. During this waiting period the Campden Tablets are sterilizing the juice with a mild sulfur gas. During the 24 hours the gas leaves the container making it safe to add the wine yeast.
Sprinkle the wine yeast over the surface of the juice and then cover with a thin, clean towel. Allow this mixture (must) to ferment for 5 to 7 days. You should start to see some foaming activity within 24 hours of adding the wine yeast. Typically, 70% of the fermentation activity will occur during this 5 to 7 day period.
After 5 to 7 days remove the pulp from the fermenter and discard. Siphon the wine into a carboy in a careful manner, so as to leave the sediment behind. You can easily remove the pulp by lifting out the fermentation bag. Wring out any excess juice from the bag. Siphon the wine off the sediment without stirring it up. Get as much liquid as you can, even if some of the sediment comes with it. If necessary, add water back to 5 gallons.
Attach a wine airlock and fill it approximately half-way with water. Allow the juice to ferment for an additional 4-6 week period or until it becomes completely clear. You may want to verify with your wine hydrometer that the fermentation has completed before continuing on to step 7. The wine hydrometer should read between 0.990 and 0.998 on the Specific Gravity scale. Be sure to give the wine plenty of time to clear up before bottling.
Once the wine has cleared completely, siphon it off of the sediment again. Stir in 5 Campden Tables that have been crushed and then bottle. When siphoning off the sediment, unlike the first time you siphoned the wine, you want to leave all of the sediment behind, even if you lose a little wine.
Additional Home Wine Making Information
Before starting your first batch of homemade wine you may want to take a look at the following article listed on our web site: The Top Ten Reasons For Fermentation Failure. This will help you to avoid the mistakes that have been most commonly made by beginners.
Being sanitary is one of the keys to great home wine making. Be sure to thoroughly clean all the home wine making equipment before getting started. Four crushed Campden Tablets to each quart of water makes a good sanitizer. Just follow the directions provided with the Campden Tablets.
During the wine making process, it is very important to keep fermentation temperatures stable between 70-75 degrees F. Getting the fermentation too cool could result in the fermentation stopping before all the alcohol is made. Getting the fermentation too warm could result in off-flavors in the wine.
Fermentation temperatures that are cooler will cause the fermentation to be slower and may even stop all together. Fermentation temperatures that are higher can result in off-flavors in the wine, and in extreme cases hinder the fermentation as well.
The wine will be dry tasting when done fermenting. If you prefer your wines sweeter, simply add sugar, honey, etc. to taste. However, you must first add a wine making stabilizer such as Potassium Sorbate, or there will be a strong chance of re-fermentation occurring in the bottles.
You may decide to purchase a Wine Making Hydrometer. It measures the concentration of sugar in your wine at any given time. With this information you can determine your wine’s alcoholic content or simply monitor the progress throughout the home wine making process.