Learn To Make Wine

Wine making is a fun and rewarding hobby. Learn about the basic steps, tools, and ingredients needed to make your own wine.

Have you ever looked over a store's wine selection, unable to find exactly what you wanted? Or have you ever puzzled over what wonderful process turned a bunch of grapes into the fine wine you drink. If so, then you would probably enjoy learning how to make your own wine.

Wine making is a very popular and rewarding hobby. You can purchase all of the necessary equipment at any brewing supplies store; such stores usually have wine recipes as well. Wine kits, which include easy-to-follow directions and basic ingredients, are also available; these are especially helpful for new wine makers, although even some veteran wine makers like to use the kits after modifying them slightly for personal taste.

Before starting the wine making process, you will need to collect several important tools. You will need a jug, a carboy, an airlock, a long-handled spoon, a siphon hose, a funnel, a hydrometer, bottles, and corks. Some directions may call for additional tools, but these are the mandatory basics. All equipment must be properly sanitized before every step; otherwise, containments can ruin the wine's flavor.

Wine is made from fruit, water, acid, and yeast. Some recipes rely on naturally occurring yeast and do not require you to add any. Many recipes call for extra sugar, although the fruit also naturally contains sugar. Wine kits usually include a fruit concentrate and require added sugar. Other ingredients, such as tannin and peptic enzyme, are used in some recipes and wine kits.

In order to make wine, you combine all the ingredients in a jug, following your recipe's directions. The jug is then sealed with an airlock. After a day or two, the mixture will begin bubbling, signaling that fermentation has begun. This stage usually lasts about five to seven days. Use a hydrometer to measure the gravity (density of liquid compared to water) of the wine; when the gravity is less than 1.02, the primary fermentation is complete.

Most recipes will then direct you to transfer the wine to a carboy (another container; many winemakers prefer glass carboys) for the secondary fermentation. Secondary fermentation usually lasts about 15 days. The final hydrometer reading should be between .99 and 1.009; lower numbers indicate drier wines.

Once the desired hydrometer reading is achieved, you need to add potassium sorbate in order to stop the fermentation process; this step is referred to as stabilization. You then allow the wine to settle for about 20 day. You can add finings to speed up the settling process. If you want exceptionally clear and sediment-free wine, you can use a wine filter.

In the final step, you bottle the wine and allow it to age. Wines usually need to age for a few months, but the exact amount of time depends of the type of wine and on the patience of the winemaker. During this time, you can make your own wine labels, either with a computer program or by hand.

Homemade wines are perfect for gifts, parties, and, of course, personal enjoyment. After you have made a couple of batches, you can get creative and make some very unique wines. In addition to the common grape-based varieties, you can make any type of fruit wine; strawberry, cherry, watermelon, and blackberry wines are all delicious. Other possibilities include mead, a traditional wine made from honey, and garlic wine, which is great in cooking. Experiment and have fun!

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