Making Wine Like a Pro
Wine making is an easy, cost-efficient way to stock up on your favorite vintages. Although the wine-making process is fairly simple, it’s important to follow the steps carefully to ensure you don’t miss any elements. These steps will be crucial to the success of your batch.
Once you’ve decided to make a batch of wine, the first thing to consider is the equipment needed. The following is a list of the wine making equipment required to make a basic batch of red wine:
• Large nylon straining bag
• Cloth (any kind will do)
• Large pail (with a lid)
• Acid titration kit
• Clear, bendable plastic tubing (a half inch in diameter)
• Two, one gallon glass jugs
• Hand corker
• Fermentation lock and bung
• Wine bottles (between 5 and 7)
After you’ve assembled the necessary equipment, just follow these easy steps and you’ll produce a great batch of wine in practically no time at all:
1. Prepare the Produce – First, inspect the fruit to ensure the grapes are ripe and free of insects or other contaminants. Put the grapes in the straining bag and measure the sugar level using your hydrometer. A hydrometer can be purchased at any wine making store. The sugar density should be 22 ideally. Also, remember to remove the stems from all grapes in order to make your wine smoother and sweeter. Finish this step by transferring the ingredients into the jug.
2. Adjust the Juice – This is a crucial step in the wine-making process. You must measure the acid content using your titration kit. The ideal level is 6 to 7 grams per liter for red wine and 6.5 to 7.5 per liter for white wine. You’ll want to regulate the sugar level by measuring it with your hydrometer from time to time. Sugar levels should remain at 22 for both red and white wines. The fermentation should remain around 70-degrees-Fahrenheit for basic red wines. Abiding by these temperatures will ensure that the process goes smoothly.
3. Rack the Wine – Insert your clear plastic hose into the wine jug and attach it to the opening of the other (empty) sanitized jug. Siphon the wine from one jug to the other in order to keep the wine in a completely sanitized container. Next, fit the jug with a bung and fermentation lock. This step may take some time, but it’s important to be slow and careful so you don’t stir up the sediment. Let the wine sit for an extended period of time (some people choose to wait weeks or even months).
4. Bottle the Wine – Bottling your wine is the easy part. Simply siphon your wine from the jug into your wine bottles. Be sure to leave about 2-inches at the top of every bottle, otherwise it will cause overflow when the cork is inserted. To cork your wine bottles simply insert a cork into the hand corker, position the corker over the lever and insert.
5. Drink and Enjoy!
Bill Kaplan spends most of his free time researching and practicing the art of beer brewing and wine making and serves as a contributing editor for the Beer Brewing and Wine Making website. The site offers information on making wine, various types of wine cabinets, the beer and wine forums and more.