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Home wine making
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Savvy Wino's complete guide to growing grapes and making your own wine at home.
The knowledge of making home made wine also gives a business opportunity to you as the owner because of the high demand for grapes by the public. By understanding and utilizing the information of how to make home made wine, people are able constitute wine drinking and grape eating in their daily diet. The process of making home made wine has many varieties depending mostly on the type of culture where it is practiced. Some cultures adore and like their wine sour thus diminishing the amount of sugar and sweet seasonings in the homemade wines they make and culture. Some cultures and places on the other hand demand that their daily serving of wine be as sweet as honey. This entails more addition of sugar and sweets for the achievement of the desired taste. Also, some busier people tend to make use of grape juice. This is of course okay but nothing compares to the real and fresh ones used as ingredients for wine making at home.

Before we begin get your self familiar with the commercial wine making process. This will serve as an introductory guide to what you are about to learn when making wine at home. Also, the information within this guide is just to serve as a general guidelines, you should pick up a comprehensive wine making book of course before really getting started. We have listed some of out favorite reading throughout this article.

Recommened books on making wine at home:
From Vines to Wines: The Complete Guide to Growing Grapes and Making Your Own Wine
The Wine Maker's Answer Book (Answer Book (Storey))
The Home Winemaker's Companion: Secrets, Recipes, and Know-How for Making 115 Great-Tasting Wines
The Joy of Home Wine Making
Home Winemaking Step-by-Step


How to turn your grapes into wine

Please note, this section on making wine is just an overview of the general steps involved. If you are truly interested in making wine at home we strongly encourage you to purchase a home wine making kit and books on making wine at home.

1. Getting your Ingredients together. Of course you will need grapes (in fact just about any fruit is capable of being made into a wine). You will also need sugar, yeast, a variety of chemicals such as Sodium/Potassium Metabisulfite (Potassium Metabisulfite is what the vast majority of wineries use. Using Sodium will add sodium to your wine, but it will work just as well), Potassium Sorbate, Wine Yeast and Yeast Nutrient. Double check the labeling on the chemicals you get. Some will have varying amounts of ppm.

2. Equipment. get yourself a good wine making kit online or from your local home brewing supply shop. Basic wine making equipment includes:
  • (Primary) Food-grade plastic bucket with lid, 7.8 gallons - Used for primary fermentation and bottling. A fast-flow spigot at the bottom is essential.
  • (Secondary) 6 gallon glass carboy - Used for secondary fermentation.
  • Airlock - Allows carbon dioxide to escape the carboy during fermentation.
  • Drilled rubber stopper - Also called a bung. Placed within the neck of the glass carboy, it provides an airtight seal while the drilled hole in the middle holds the airlock.
  • Siphon Hose - Used for racking (transferring) wine from one vessel to another.
  • Curved cane and racking tip - At a minimum, you'll need this to bring your wine UP and over the mouth of the carboy during racking.
  • Wine Thief - A device used to obtain a sample of wine from a carboy (for testing) without having to tip the carboy and pour it out. A regular wine thief (either glass or plastic) will work fine, but we recommend the Wine Thief/Test Jar Combo, which pulls double duty and saves time, effort, and wine.
  • Hydrometer - A device that measures specific gravity, sugar, and potential alcohol. These usually come packaged with a small test jar.
  • Spoon - A food grade, plastic 18 inch long spoon to mix your chemicals as well as stir all the CO2 out of your wine.
  • Wine bottles - You'll need around 30 bottles (750 ml size).
  • Corks - size #9 fits most wine bottles, buy quality corks.
  • Corker - buy a cheap hand corker to start with, but be prepared to buy a floor corker later.

3. Sterilize and sanitize. Sanitation or your equipment is the most important step. If not done, your "wine" will just turn out to be a giant jug of vinegar and be hardly palatable at all! You can tell if this occurred by the stench of vinegar. Sanitation means to reduce the amount of bacteria, wild yeasts, etc. to negligible levels.

4. Pouring the Juice. Pour half of a bottle of apple juice/cider into the container then put one pound of sugar into bottle and shake it to dissolve the sugar into it. Pour another half of a bottle of juice in. Pour your Sulfite(if needed) and yeast nutrient into that bottle, mix it thoroughly and then pour into the container.

5. Mixing the juice. Mix the container thoroughly for about 1-2 minutes. You want a nice vortex to form. This is referred to as "degassing" the wine. It is getting any dissolved gases out of the liquid.

6. Pour in the yeast. Pour your yeast through the funnel into the mixture. This is referred to as "pitching" the yeast. Keep the funnel in the neck for the moment.

7. Pour the remaining juice in. Depending on what yeast you are using you may be able to get away with filling it right up to the neck. Leave about 3-4 inches below where the neck begins at the bottom as there will be a foam build up. pour the remaining amount of juice in, washing the yeast out of the funnel and leaving enough space.

8. Primary wine fermentation. Always begin fermentation in a primary, without an airlock, unless specially instructed to begin in a carboy. The inoculate (yeast culture added to the must) needs exposure to oxygen for the first 48-72 hours to assist the yeast in rapid reproduction and increase the population to a density suitable for rapid fermentation. If the must has been sulfited, they need the large surface area to take in the oxygen needed. The top of the primary need only be covered with a clean cloth of tight weave, such as muslin, held in place with an elastic band. If you have a primary with rigid lid drilled for an airlock, use the lid but plug the hole with a ball of cotton for the first few days.

9. Secondary wine fermentation. Strain off the liquid from the pulp, put the wine from the primary fermentation bucket into a secondary fermentation vessel (a carboy or jug). Depending on your variety of airlock, attach it. Place it somewhere relatively cool (65-75F) like a basement cellar. Check your airlock occasionally and make sure it is still firmly attached, especially the first few days. Leave it there for about 4-5 weeks. Once it becomes clear, it's ready for tasting and drinking. Some wines are quicker, some require longer. The key is to wait until it clears up. You can check whether the wine is done fermenting by using test equipment such as a Wine Thief.

10. Adjusting the wine to taste. Once the wine has finished and begun to clear on it's own, you can modify it to your taste. Sanitize your turkey baster by submerging it in a jar of sanitized liquid and sucking some into the baster. Discard the sucked up liquid and and pull a sample from the container.

11. Bottling the wine. When the fermentation in the secondary stops (when positive pressure inside the carboy stops pushing bubbles through the airlock) it is essential to use the hydrometer to ensure fermentation is finished. Sanitize the siphon/siphon tubing(inside and out), funnel and the caps and bottles you wish store the wine in. Remove the airlock and put the siphon into liquid. Make sure you do not let it sit on the yeast at the bottom of the container.

Recommened equipment for making wine at home:
Wine Making Equipment Kit
Deluxe Wine Making Kit (High Quality and Durable Wine Kit)
Pinot Noir Wine Making Kit
Wine Making Kit - Gold Edition


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