You have always wanted to make some wine for yourself but never seemed to be able to do it. The wine experts know that making your own batch of wine is all about the constituents. We have put together a piece that should give you all you need to making wine at home. This is information that the beginners, as well as pros, will find useful in their wine-making process. Before you read on, check out “How To Make Wine At Home” for the initial guide on how to make it.
First, the basics!
The beginner winemaker can really benefit from a book about wine making for more details on the whole process of fermenting wine. There are tons of books with a world of information on the subject that will do more than outline the process.
Crusher and Press
You can have concentrates, like fruits or grapes as a raw material for your wine. We prefer that you use grapes whenever you can even though there are fruit varieties that also make good wine. If you intend to use whole fruit, then you will need a crusher and press for extraction purposes. These come at a premium so you are better off renting until you are sure you will use it more often. Grab this best-seller from Amazon.
You will need restricted airflow, and this can be achieved with the use of airlocks. These are used in wine making to allow for the escape of gases from the fermentation process without letting oxygen in. They work in the same way as a sink trap. Get a rubber bung that fits the type of airlock you have so that it snugly fits the mouth of your container. The other alternative you could use is a screw cup lid. Get some lids for your containers and they should function just fine.
Look for five-gallon water jugs, preferably glass. The jugs will be used to ferment the wine. Glass equipment is the preferred option in this case due to the ease of cleaning. Glass also stores the wine well since it does not react with it or deteriorate in the storage period. By using glass jugs, you can keep track of the fermentation process. Use six- or seven-gallon jugs if you can’t find five-gallon varieties. Stay away from one-gallon jugs, especially if you are making wine for the first time. These need more care as the wine is more prone to oxidation. If you have beer kegs at your disposal, use those. Plastics can only be used for a short time as you find other storage options because they are highly permeable to air, which spoils the wine due to oxidation.
Professional winemakers prefer packaged strains of wine yeast since these can be used in colder temperatures. The yeast is also better at making alcohol and does not disturb easily. There are a number of strains in the market that offer different wine making capabilities. Choose a yeast strain with characteristics that are compatible with your wine making process, like this one for white wine, or this one for red wine. These are relatively cheap so you shouldn’t have a problem getting as much as you need. Besides, you won’t need too much of it so you will have a lot left over for the next time you are in the mood for homemade wine.
Can’t think of anywhere that sells yeast for wine? Check out “Where to Buy Wine Yeast?” for more.
Your need very few chemicals for homemade wine. First, you will need a chemical that produces sulfur dioxide. For this, you can use Campden tablets or potassium metabisulfite. You may also need tartaric acid if you are using grapes with low acid levels, such as California grapes. Potassium bicarbonate and calcium carbonate are the two other chemical compounds you may need for higher acidity levels. For sweet wines, get potassium sorbate to prevent fermentation. Use it with an appropriate amount of sulfur dioxide as it can develop a ‘geranium’ odor.
If you have decided that you want wine from fruits other than grapes, then you will need pectic enzymes. You will also need a fining agent, yeast nutrients (also yeast ghosts), and tannin. These are added to the wine when it seems not to clear well enough on its own.
Cleaning and Sterilization
Clean and sterilize your equipment using sal soda (washing soda). As you buy the salt, ensure you get the highest quality salt you can find. Some low-quality brands of washing soda can leave the material with a scent that clashes with the aromas of your wine. The best place to get this would be a a store that specializes in wine making equipment and supplies. The storekeeper can advise you on the type of washing soda to get for the best results. Mix this with tri-sodium phosphate for a commercial-grade type of cleaner. Invest in carboy brushes which can get to the tough-to-reach corners of the container. Clean all the equipment using a solution of potassium metabisulfite when you are ready to bottle the wine.
The Instruments You Will Need
To begin with, you will need sugar and acid readings, which may be provided with your concentrate if you are using this. You will also need a hydrometer and a vial, which are used to measure the specific gravity you are brewing at. The hydrometer is a handy tool that will give you readings for sugar content and alcohol level just so that you know how the process of fermentation is moving along.
Beginners are better off getting a winemaking kit. Such a kit would contain all the salts and chemicals you need for your homemade brew. The kits are cheap and take away the worry of having to pick the right chemicals.
Check out this beginner wine making kit for home, here.
The Ideal Conditions for a Cellar
Now that you have all you need for your wine, start thinking of a place to keep it for fermentation to occur.
The Ideal Conditions Should Ensure:
- Protection from direct sunlight
- Cold temperature
- High humidity
- Absence of smells and odors
Making wine, even in small batches, is a science.You not only require the right equipment but also the correct set of conditions to put forth a great brew that rivals commercial wines. Take time to get it right, and you will love the results!
Thanks for reading! Let us know in the comments if you’re daring to try making wine at home. Are you thinking of getting that wine making kit? Let us know below.
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Bottoms up! We’ll uncork ya later!! 🍷