How to make grape wine at home, So you have come to the conclusion that you would like to make grape wine at home, in this article you will find out the steps and some pitfalls in home made grape wine. This will help you make sure that your fist batch of home made grape wine is drinkable.
The first thing that we suggest is that you make around the 5 gallon mark (which is about 25 bottles) the reason for this is that you would like to try a bottle or two before they have had the right amount of time to ferment. And before you will know it the whole lot will be gone.
Now you could just try it out with a small amount like say a gallon jug, but the problem there is that once you have tried your home made grape wine it will all be gone and you will have to start again.
Now with making a bigger batch is better because you might let your home made grape wine age in the bottle a bit longer. Which will give you the better taste of the wine and you will think it’s just AMAZING.
The next step is to decide what sort of juice you would like to ferment. Like Grape juice, cranberry, muscadine, and cherry which are all a good starter choice. Grape juice, cranberry juice and muscadine will give you a normal tasting wine, where the cherry will give you a sweeter tasting wine. Now of course you can add sugar to your home made grape wine after it has stabilized and stopped fermenting.
Now that you have your home made grape wine ready you have to make sure that all your equipment and containers are all 100% sterilized. Some may use boiling hot water or a sanitizer. I like to use the sanitizer only because you are not dealing with boiling hot water which could scald you. You should make sure that the sanitizer is poured over everything and it has touched all your equipment. Then all you have to do is just rinse everything off with hot water and the job is done.
For the next step all you have to do is put your juice in a 5 gallon bucket, but don’t add your yeast yet. You first have to sterilize the “must” or the juice. You do this with 4 campden tablets. These are a sulphite table is will get rid of any bacteria that can be present in the juice. All you need to do is crush the tablets in some warm water then you just need to pour it over the juice or “must”. Then let the sulphites do their work over night.
Now after 24 hours have passed you can now sprinkle in or “pitch” your yeast.
Now the type of yeast that you use is a good question but I would have to go into great depth and it’s just beyond this article. I will say this that there is hundreds of different yeast strains for many different uses. For this batch we can use baker’s yeast which is not hard to come across. Maybe later on when you have mastered it a bit more you can use more specialized strains.
Just wait for seven days to pass and watch, you will need to cover your bucket with a cloth towel or an airtight lid. Now there is no reason to worry as your home made grape wine will be perfectly safe as the fermentation stage will give off lots of carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide will protect your home made grape wine from the oxygen in the air.
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Now that seven days have passed, you need to siphon off your home made wine out of your bucket and place into another bucket or glass “carboy”. You can find these by doing a search in Google or at any wineshop. Now that you are doing the siphoning you must be careful not to get the junk that is on the bottom of the bucket. This junk on the bottom is called lees and is made up of the dead yeast. Your home made grape wine that sits on top of the dead yeast sometimes cans an off flavour.
Now that you have transferred your home made wine into the second fermenter, you will need to put an airlock in place and then just let it sit for about one month. Did you know there is a song about this called “The Waiting Is the Hardest Part”? As this is true because you just made your first batch of home made grape wine and you cannot wait to taste it. Now don’t temp yourself to do it as in this month your wine is still fermenting. Your home grape made wine is not finished yet just be a bit more Patient.
Now you have waited for the month, you need to transfer the wine back into the bucket, just like before try to leave the junk at the bottom again. This process of transferring from one bucket to the other is called Racking. This will be an article by itself in the future.
Now all you hard work is just about over, all you need to do now is add the “stabilizer” to your home made wine. The stabilizer will stop the yeast reproduction. So what I’m saying is that it will stop the yeast from doing its job. Part of the thing that happens during the yeast growth and reproduction is that it releases carbon dioxide gases. If this was to happen after you have bottled and corked your wine you could end up with cork and or exploded bottles or both. So you must make sure that you put in the stabilizer, and stir the wine well, and then just return it to your secondary carboy fermentation vessel. As before you will need to resterilise and clean it before you return the wine.
All that is to be done now is waiting till the wine has cleared. Now gravity is your trusted friend here. It will not hurt any little bit to bottle a cloudy home made grape wine. If you would like to wait say one more month. Before bottling you wine should be crystal clear. Now the cleaning process is another subject all on its own I’m sure you can find a lot of information about this I do suggest that you read up on this when you have the time.
Now for the last step time to bottle your home made wine, all you need to do is to make sure that ALL BOTTLES are CLEAN and SANITIZED and then just siphon the wine into your bottle. Now the process of corking your bottles can be a bit difficult and I do recommend you get some king corker. Now if you look online or in local wine store you should have little trouble finding it.
Now this is the hard part try to let your home made grape wine age in the bottle for at least six to nine months, I say this because your wine will taste better with the longer it ages. I will guarantee it Oh Happy winemaking!
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