Ever wanted to make wine at home? Just for the fun of it, or because you have a surplus of fruit? Here's what you need to know!
To begin, there's no much in terms of special equipment you need. If you want to go beyond the basics, you can late/
Wine can be made with any type of fruit. Of course grapes are most common, but blackberries, peaches, area also used. If you use apples, that's hard cider!
Remove stems and leaves, and dirt or grit. Rinse the fruit thoroughly. Note: peeled fruit has a much milder flavor and the color typically comes from the skins. It's your choice!
Using a clean potato masher or your hands, crush and squeeze the fruit to release its juices. Keep doing so until the level of the fruit juice is
within 1 1⁄2 inches (3.8 cm) of the top of the crock. If you don't have enough fruit and juice to fill the crock almost to the top, top it off with
filtered water. Add a Campden tablet, which releases sulfur dioxide into the mixture, killing wild yeast and bacteria. If you're making wild yeast
wine, don't take steps to kill the yeast.
As an alternative to using a tablet, you can pour 2 cups of boiling water over the fruit.
Using tap water can affect the taste of your wine, since it may contain chlorine, fluorine and other additives. Best to use filtered or spring water.
Many home winemakers prefer honey, but you can use any type of natural sugar. The sugar is what the yeast feeds on! The amount you add affects the sweetness of your wine. For a less sweet wine, limit honey to 2 cups.
You can always add more sugar or honey later if your wine doesn't come out as sweet as you like.
Dissolve the yeast in warm water and add it to the fermentation vessel or crock. Stir with a clean spoon. You now have a "must".
Cover the crock and store overnight. It's important to use a cover that will keep bugs out but allow air to flow in and escape the crock. You can
use a crock lid designed for this purpose or stretch a cloth or t-shirt over the opening and secure it in place with a large rubber band. Place the
covered crock in a warm area with a temperature around 70 degrees overnight.
Putting the crock in a cool place won't facilitate the growth of the yeast. Storing it in a place that's too warm will kill the yeast. Find a good in-between place in your kitchen.
Stir the must few times per day. The day after you make the mixture, uncover it and stir it thoroughly, and recover.
Repeat every 4 hours the first day. After this, stir a few times per day for the next 3 days.
The mixture should start bubbling as the yeast moves into action and fermentation steps up.
When the bubbling slows down, about 3 days after it begins, it's time to strain out the solids and siphon the liquid into your carboy for longer-term storage.
Once you've siphoned it into the clean, sterile carboy, affix the airlock to the opening to allow for the release of gas while preventing oxygen
from coming in and spoiling your wine.
If you don't have an airlock, you can use a small balloon placed over the opening with about 5 pin sized holes in it. Secure it with tape. This will let the gas escape but not let in oxygen.
Let the wine age for at least one month. It's better if you can let it age for up to nine, during which time the wine will age and mellow, resulting in a much improved taste. If you used extra honey in your wine, it's better to age it on the longer side, or else it will taste too sweet when you drink it.
To prevent the wine from catching a bacteria that could cause it to turn to vinegar, add a Campden tablet to the mixture as soon as you remove
the airlock. Siphon the wine into your clean bottles, filling them almost to the top, and cork them immediately. Allow the wine to further age in
the bottles or enjoy it immediately.