Instructions for Wine Making

grapes for making wineYes, this site is about that beautiful liquid called beer. But let’s face it, all alcohol is good. Beer, wine, liquor, they all have their places. So this is something I thought a few of you might be interested in.

These instructions will take you through the complete step by step wine-making process, from crushing the fruit to bottling your homemade wine.

The secret to good wine making is to start with the right amount of sugar, to little sugar and the yeast cells will not produce enough alcohol, too much and they are poisoned before they can convert all the sugar.

With the right amount of sweetness and tannin you will make a delicious homemade wine.

The secret to good wine making is to start with the right amount of sugar. A saccharometer of the same type used in beer making makes it easy to measure the sugar content. Always start with a good fruit that is neither old or under ripe.

For richness and full flavor in your wine, add tannin by mixing in 1/2 cup of strong tea per gallon of juice. However grape wine needs no extra tannin since grape skins contain tannin.

Beginners should use all purpose vintners yeast but there are many other varieties of yeast, such as those used for making sherry and champagne.

Have all wine making equipment clean and sterilize by rinsing in a solution of six Campden tablets, available at wine making stores. They inhibit the growth of wild yeasts. They are also used during the wine making process itself.

After fermentation the real magic of wine making takes place. It can take up to as much as a year, dead yeast cells and other sediments gradually settles to the bottom. When they settle the wine is carefully racked, off (siphoned) into a clean container.

The more the wine settles and is racked off the better the wine will taste. When it becomes so clear you can see the edge of a candle flame through it, it’s ready for bottling. Check out this comprehensive wine guide for more information on how to take care of your wines.

When you have the wine in the bottle, stopper the bottles with new corks and seal with paraffin. After several days put the bottles on their sides in a cool, dark place to age. The process takes at least 6 months but can continue for up to a year for wines made with high quality grapes.

Grape Wine:

1. Crush 70 lb.of unwashed grapes and stems with a potato masher. Put juice and crushed grapes in a 7 gallon pail. It should be 3/4 full or fill pail 3/4 full of purchased grape juice.

2. Check sugar content. Pour juice (should be 70f) into glass cylinder. Twist saccharometer to dislodgesaccharometer bubbles,and take reading. Add about 4 3/4 teaspoons sugar for each percent needed to raise reading to 22% (for 11% alcohol).

3. Use acid testing kit to check acidity. Juice for wine should be .6 to .8 percent acid. If too acid, add cooled, boiled water, if not acid enough, add 1/2 acid blend per gallon for each .1 percent that acid must be raised. Retest acidity.

4. Dissolve five campten tablets in a small quantity of juice,add to pail, and stir. Wait 4 hours, then add yeast and yeast energizer (packaged nutrients that encourage yeast growth in the wine). Add tannin if using purchased grape juice.

5. Cover pail and place in 65f to 70f area to ferment. Stir several times daily to mix grape skins with juice. When fermentation has nearly stopped and sugar level is 3 to 5 percent (three to 7 days) strain through nylon mesh bag.

6. Siphon juice into five gallon glass bottle, filling it to 1 in.from stopper. Fill smaller bottle with remaining juice. Close wine bottles with fermentation locks so that carbon dioxide can escape but wild yeasts and other contaminants cannot get in.

7. When fermentation stops (bubbling ceases and sugar level is almost zero), rack the wine into a clean 5 gallon bottle. Do not disturb lees. Keep outlet end of siphon near bottom of bottle to avoid splashing and over oxidizing wine.

8. Dissolve 2 1/2 Campten tablets in some wine. add to bottle, then fill bottle to 1 in. from stopper with reserved juice or previously made wine. Insert fermentation lock and set bottle in 65f to 70f area for two to three months.

9. Rack wine into clean 5 gallon bottle whenever lees accumulate. When wine is clear (after two or more rackings) refrigerate for two days to stabilize. Let wine return to room temperature, then siphon wine into bottles, cork, and label.

And that’s it. Pretty easy right? Not super easy, but not as difficult either.

Instruction for Making Dandelion Wine

Dandelion wine is a really tasty wine. And what’s great about this one is that you can usually find as many dandelions as you need right in your front lawn. Now you probably don’t want to use this to play drinking games with friends and neighbors, but it’s good enough for the casual dinner.

Ingredients: 1 gallon dandelion flower heads, 3 oranges, 3 lemons, 1 gallon boiling water, 5 1/2 cups sugar, 1 package vintner’s yeast, 1 capsule yeast energizer, 1 tablespoon strong tea.

1. Wash flower heads well in cold water, pull off stalks and other green parts, place petals in a large plastic pail. Chop fine the colored outer rinds of oranges and lemons, add to petals, and cover with boiling water.

2. Drape pail with sheet of plastic or cloth, and tie sheet tightly in place to keep out insects. Stir wine mixture twice daily for three days. After three days strain juice into large kettle, squeezing out as much liquid as possible. Add sugar, to bring its level to about 21 percent, and cook juice at medium boil for 30 minutes. Let cool to 70f, and mix in yeast and energizer. Divide wine mixture between two 1 gallon bottles, and seal the bottles with fermentation locks.

3. When fermentation slows (one to three days), siphon all the liquid into one bottle, filling it to 1 inch of the stopper. Add tea. Reseal with fermentation lock, and let ferment at 70f until bubbling stops (one to four weeks).

4. Rack as often as necessary to clear wine, adding enough liquid each time to fill bottle within 1 inch of stopper. When wine is clear (usually after 3 rackings), bottle and cork as for grape wine. Makes 1 gallon.

So there you have it, a basic starter recipe that any new beginner can follow. And if enough people enjoyed this, I’ll go ahead and add a few more recipes. Let me know if you want them by liking this page!