Making wine is a real art form that can change how you see the world and the people in it. You and your creativity will be contained in every bottle of wine you produce. Making wine from home is a fun hobby, not to mention delicious wines can be produced for just pennies on the dollar. Most people believe wine making is complex, but it’s not as hard as you may think. Wine making dates back centuries and people all over the world still engage in it today. Wine making can be summed up in six steps:
Step 1 – Sourcing Grapes: Making your own wine can be just as uncomplicated as you like, you can even make it from frozen grape juice concentrate. You can also buy grape juice from companies selling famous names like merlot, cabernet sauvignon and pinot noir to name just a few.
Step 2 – Primary Fermentation: After pouring your grape juice into a winemaking container, add a few campden tablets, cover and allow to sit overnight. Campden tablets create sulfur gas that eliminates bacteria and wild yeasts in the juice. Add your yeast to the mixture and allow it to ferment for five to seven days. Fermentation should start within 48 hours. Foaming and bubbling is evidence of active fermentation whereby yeast is converting sugar into ethanol alcohol and releasing carbon dioxide gas.
Step 3 – Secondary Fermentation: After five to seven days, siphon the wine into a secondary fermenter being careful to leave any sediments behind. Cap the container with an airlock to prevent oxidation of the wine. Allow the wine to ferment another five to seven weeks until the wine becomes completely clear. Fermentation will be pretty active at first evidenced by the continuous stream of bubbles in the airlock. Don’t be tempted to open it prematurely risking contamination. Patience is the name of the game.
Step 4 – Racking the Wine: Sediments, also know as lees, are created during the fermentation process and settle to the bottom of the container. The lees are primarily dead yeast cells that need to be removed before they adversely affect your wine’s flavor. This sediment removal process is called racking. It is possible to over rack your wine so be careful. Over racking can slow down or even halt fermentation while unwanted oxidation and organisms can be introduced into your wine.
Step 5 – Bottling the Wine: Before readying your wine for bottling, one last racking is necessary to remove all trace sediments from the wine. Adding campden tablets will ensure any existing yeast and bacteria are eliminated. Now you’re ready for the last step, bottling your wine. Keep in mind most traditional wine maker’s prefer bottling their wine in traditional wine bottles and sealing them with corks, however one should note there are other alternatives out there.
Step 6 – Drinking Your Wine: Now comes the best part, drinking and enjoying the fruits of your hard work. You may want to maintain a wine making journal to document what you did to each batch and the resulting wine attributes to make improvements or replicate what you did in your next batch.
Making wine from home can be a fun and rewarding hobby. Like any new hobby, there is a learning curve that one needs to come up. But with a bit of patience and a willingness for trial and error you’ll be developing just the taste you like. Nothing is quite like the feeling you get when opening a bottle of your wine and you know you’re the one who made. On top of that, it even taste as good or better than the expensive stuff at the store.
Bob Lystra is a wine connoisseur who’s been making homemade wine for many years. He has found a practical guide to make your own wine easily from home. Visit Bob’s site at www.winefromhome.com to discover where he learned how to make homemade wine.
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