Wine has been made by man for thousands of years. It can be made using any fruit, although grapes are the most popular choice. After mixing the ingredients, the wine must be allowed to ferment so that it will age; and, finally, bottling. This simple and ancient process, explained below, results in a delicious wine that you can be proud of having made yourself.
- 16 cups of fruit;
- 2 cups of honey;
- 1 pack of yeast;
- Filtered water.
Method 1 of 3: Preparing supplies and ingredients
Step 1. Arrange supplies
In addition to the ingredients for the wine, you will need some basic supplies to ensure the wine ages without being affected by insects or bacteria. Making wine at home is not expensive; therefore, it is not necessary to spend a lot on any special equipment. You will need the following supplies:
- A 9 liter jar or pot made of glass or earthenware or porcelain (often found in vintage or second-hand stores; however, remember that many of these jars may have previously been used to preserve sauerkraut or pickles, which contaminate wine.).
- One gallon of glass with a narrow opening (gallon type of mineral water);
- A sealing chamber;
- A thin plastic tube to be used as a siphon;
- Clean wine bottles with corks or screw caps;
- A Campden tablet (optional).
Step 2. Choose the fruit that will be used
Wine can be made from any fruit, although grapes and wild berries are the most popular choices. Choose the ripest fruit. It is best to choose organic fruit that has not been chemically treated, as it is not good for chemicals to get into your wine. If possible, pick the fruits yourself or buy them from an organic market or directly from the producer.
Step 3. Clean the fruit
Remove the stems and leaves and remove any dirt or sand particles from the fruit. Wash the fruits thoroughly and place them in the jar. You can peel the fruit before crushing it, but then much of the wine's flavor will come from your skin. Peeling the fruit makes the wine much smoother.
Some manufacturers choose not to wash the fruit before crushing. As the fruit has natural yeasts in the skin, it is possible to make wine using only the yeast from the skin and air. However, washing the fruit and controlling the yeast ensure that the wine tastes to your liking; wild yeast can produce unpleasant tastes. If you want to experiment, make two batches of wine – one with controlled yeast and one with wild yeast. This will help you discover your favorite option
Step 4. Crush the fruit
With a potato masher or with your hands, crush and squeeze the fruit to release the juice. Do this until the juice level is 4 centimeters from the rim of the jar. If you don't have enough fruit or juice to fill up to that mark, top up with filtered water. Add a Campden tablet, which releases sulfur dioxide into the mix, killing wild yeast and bacteria. If you are making wine with wild yeast, don't do this.
- As an alternative to the tablet, you can add 2 cups of boiled water to the fruit.
- Tap water can affect the taste of wine as it contains additives. Always use filtered or bottled water.
Step 5. Add and stir the honey
Honey will feed the yeast, in addition to sweetening the wine. The amount of honey used will directly affect the sweetness of the wine. If you prefer sweet wine, add more honey. If you don't like it sweet, add up to 2 cups of honey. Consider the sweetness of the fruit you are using as well. Since grapes are high in sugar, you don't need to add a lot of honey to your grape wine. Wild berries and other fruits with lower sugar content, on the other hand, need a little more honey.
- You can add sugar or brown sugar instead of honey if you prefer.
- You can add honey later if the wine doesn't turn out as sweet as you'd like.
Step 6. Add the yeast
If you are using your own yeast, now is the time to add it. Pour it into the earthenware jar and stir the mixture with a long-handled spoon. This mixture is called must.
If you are making wine with wild yeast, you can skip this step
Method 2 of 3: Fermenting the Wine
Step 1. Cover the jar and let the wort sit overnight
It is important to use a cover that keeps insects out but allows air to flow and escape from the container. You can use a cap designed for this purpose, or you can stretch a cloth or T-shirt over the opening and secure it with a rubber band. Place the covered jar in an area with a temperature of around 20 degrees overnight.
Leaving the jar in a cooler place will hinder yeast growth. Leaving it in a place that is too hot will kill the yeast. Find a sheltered place in the kitchen
Step 2. Stir the wort a few times a day
The next day, uncover it and stir it well, and cover it again. Do this every 4 hours or so on the first day; so continue stirring a few times a day for the next 3 days. The mixture should start bubbling when the yeast kicks in. This is the fermentation process that makes the wine delicious.
Step 3. Separate solids and siphon liquid
When bubbling slows down (about 3 days later), it's time to remove the solids and siphon the liquid into the carboy for the long period of storage. After this step, fix the sealing chamber in the opening to allow the release of gases and at the same time prevent the air from entering and spoiling the wine.
If you don't have a sealing chamber, use a small balloon placed over the opening. From time to time, remove the balloon to let the gas out and add another immediately
Step 4. Allow the wine to age for at least a month
It's best to let it age for up to nine months; the wine will taste smoother, resulting in a much better taste. If you have used more honey in the wine, it is better to let it age longer, otherwise it will taste too sweet when you drink it.
Step 5. Bottle the wine
To prevent the wine from having any bacteria that turn it into vinegar, add a Campden tablet to the mix as soon as you remove the chamber. Siphon the wine into the clean bottles and fill them almost to the brim. Stopper them immediately. Allow the wine to age longer in the bottle or enjoy it immediately.
Use dark bottles to preserve the wine's color
Method 3 of 3: Making Wine Like a Pro
Step 1. Learn the tricks of making a successful wine
Wine has been man-made for thousands of years, and he learned a few tricks during that time. Keep the following in mind when making your own wine for the first time:
- Use extremely clean equipment to prevent bacteria from spoiling the wine.
- Keep the first fermentation covered but allowing for ventilation.
- Prevent the second fermentation from coming into contact with air.
- Keep all bottles filled to minimize the amount of oxygen inside.
- Keep red wine in dark bottles so they don't fade.
- Make very dry wine rather than too sweet: you can add sugar later.
- Taste the wine from time to time during production to ensure the process is going smoothly.
Step 2. Take precautions in home winemaking
Avoiding some common pitfalls guarantees the success of the endeavor. What not to do:
- Sell your homemade wine as it is illegal.
- Let flies come into contact with wine.
- Use metal containers.
- Use tools or other containers made of resinous wood, as resin spoils the wine's flavor.
- Speed up fermentation by changing the temperature.
- Filter early for no reason.
- Store wine in unsterilized containers or bottles.
- Bottle the wine before finishing fermentation.