Basic Wine Making Techniques

Simple home wine making instructions.

Wine making is considered by some to be a delicate art. For others it is only an enjoyable hobby. Either way, wine making at home is fun, relatively easy, and doesn't require a lot of expensive equipment.

Home wine making kits are sold in brew shops around the country or can be found online. These can be expensive. The other alternative is to create your own kit from readily available products. All you really need to get started is a fermenting vessel, an airlock and a bung, or length of plastic tubing and a quart jar. The only thing you will need to purchase from a brew shop, or online, is wine yeast. You can use regular bread yeast in a pinch, but wine yeast makes a far superior wine. Yeast energizer is nice to have, but optional.

Should you decide to collect your own equipment, the simplest way of acquiring a fermenting vessel is to purchase a large jug of bottled water, 5 to 7 gallon size, available at any super center and many grocery stores.

While you are at the super center, purchase enough unsweetened, white grape juice frozen concentrate to make four gallons of juice, a tube of clear silicone caulking and 2 three foot lengths of aquarium tubing. One length of tubing is for your airlock; the other is for siphoning off your home brew. You now have everything you need to brew your own wine, including fresh water.

When you get home, remove the lid from the water jug. Place a dishtowel or other cloth over the jug opening. Drill a hole in the center of the jug that will allow you to insert one end of the tubing snugly. You want to keep the hole as close as possible to the diameter of the tubing.

Insert the tubing until you have at least two to three inches inside the cap. Apply silicone around the tubing on the inside and outside of the cap and let dry overnight. You have now made your airlock and bung.

Now that you have your brewing equipment ready to go, now it's time to make wine. For a beginner, it is easier to start with a simple white wine made from white grape juice concentrate.

Begin by mixing the concentrate with the correct amount of water. This is simple to do by removing the unneeded amount of water from the jug.

Add eight pounds of sugar (2 pounds per gallon of juice) to the mix and stir until sugar is dissolved.

In a cup, dissolve one packet of wine yeast into 1/4 cup warm, but not hot, water that has three tablespoons of sugar. Stir to thoroughly mix. Allow the yeast to activate and rise until at least double in volume.

After the yeast has doubled, add it to your juice and stir gently. If you wish to add yeast energizer, 1 tablespoon for each gallon is added now.

Replace the lid on your fermentation jug and move the jug to a spot where it can remain undisturbed for up to thirty days. The spot you choose should also have a consistent temperature of between 65 - 75 degrees.

Fill your quart jar half full with water and insert the loose end of your hose. This allows for the safe evacuation of fermenting gases.

Your wine should begin working within twenty-four hours. You will hear the water in the quart jar begin to burp regularly; this is how you know the process is taking place.

When the water stops bubbling, i.e., the gasses stop forming, your wine is ready for rebottling. Using the second length of tubing, siphon off your new wine into smaller containers. Be careful not to let the tube touch the bottom of the fermenting jug, as the residue on the bottom will cloud the wine.

For containers, you can use quart jars or plastic, gallon size, fruit juice jugs with screw on lids. You can also purchase wine bottles with screw on lids from a brew shop or purchase a bottle corker for regular wine bottles.

Once you've made your first batch of wine, you'll be hooked. Experiment for your next batches, using different types of fruit juices and concentrates.

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