The DIY wine time
Are you interested in becoming a home-brewed wine master?
Unlocking the magical world of home-brewed wines is easier than you might think. With the right tools, knowledge and supplies, anyone can become an experienced winemaker right in their own home.
From choosing the right type of grapes to crushing and fermenting them for optimal flavor, there’s something amazing about creating your own distinct bottle of wine. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have years of experience making wines – with a few simple steps and some helpful guidance from experts, you’ll be on your way to crafting delicious vintages that will make your friends jealous!
Take the leap into winemaking today by gathering all the necessary ingredients, as well as finding tips from seasoned professionals online or at local wineries.
Start by finding a wine making kit or materials online. Gather all the ingredients you will need and once everything is ready to go decide on which type of wine you want to make: white, red or rosé. Then follow detailed instructions from a reliable tutorial or recipe book – this will ensure that you get the best results for your homemade masterpiece!
If you’re completely new to it, the simplest place to start might be a wine kit. There’s lots of them out there and they come with all the equipment (though not usually the consumables) that you need to get started. If you want to get your supplies and equipment piecemeal you will need at minimum the following:
8 things you’ll need to make your own wine
1. Fruit –
Historically wine has been made from grapes, but we won’t gatekeep or judge your choice of fruit. Keep in mind that you generally want to find a fruit that is high in sugar and low in starch (berries or grapes generally, though you can use pears, bananas or pineapple too).
2. Yeast –
The yeast is where the magic happens! Yeast is alive, it eats sugars and turns them into lovely alcohol. Yeast is a pretty complicated subject that could merit its own article, however, mankind has been making wine for millenia at this point and there’s folks out there who have already done the research. For a first time vintner we recommend wine yeast (google it, there’s lots of them). If you’re more experienced you can try wild yeasts but the process is more complicated.
3. Additives –
Don’t let the term put you off – these aren’t dangerous chemicals but rather things that you can add to ‘tweak’ the flavor of your wine batches. Useful additives can include tannin (for mitigating sweetness), citric acid (to mellow an overly bold wine) and pectic enzyme (greatly aids in breaking down fibrous bases such as rhubarb).
4. Water –
It’s the basis of all life and yeast is no exception! Yeast beasties are fragile little guys so the quality of your water is very important. Use filtered water only with no external additives (tap water is a definite no-no – so at least boil it first)
5. Time –
Making wine takes time – it’s why good wine is so special. Wine can take six months or more to mature so be sure you bring some patience!
So you’re going to need something to put all these lovely ingredients into while it ferments. At a minimum you’re probably going to need the following:
6. Fermentation Chamber –
You’ll need two of these, a large bucket (1.5 + gallon) will do nicely for the first. While a glass carboy bottle is perfect for the second (carboys generally range from 1-6 gallons).
7. Airlock –
This will let you bleed off excess gasses generated in the fermentation process without allowing contaminants to enter the vessel.
8. Fermentation Bag –
This is where the yeast will do its business making fruit into tasty vino. Bags are disposable, cheap, and available all over the place.
Bottles & Equipment – unless you’re drinking straight from the fermentation chamber (No, Gross! ) you’re going to want some bottles for your finished product and something analogous to a cork to seal the bottle. You may also want labels as well.
Now there are excellent guides all over the internet showing you the exact process of making wine so we will defer to them for the details but in essence you’re going to follow these basic steps:
You will begin by combining the fruit, water, and sugar in your fermentation bag. This is where you may also want to add the pectic acid to help break down the fruit pulp. What you’re trying to do here is make a very uniform, sweet, and inviting environment for your yeasties to live in. Take the filled fermentation bag, submerge it in boiling water, cover, and let it sit for about 24 hours. Keep in mind that the bag is basically full of sweet sugary fruit so be sure to place it somewhere safe from pets and children.
After the fruit and sugar have thoroughly mixed you will want to add the yeast – the amount and type are both critical so do your homework here as it’s probably the most important step. After the yeast has been added you need to let the mixture sit for five to six days to complete your primary fermentation. Once your fermentation has finished, strain the contents of the fermentation bag back into your bucket removing the fruit pulp from the liquid. Let the liquid rest for 3-5 days.
At this point you will want to transfer your not-quite-wine into your carboy to begin the second fermentation. Be sure to leave several inches of space between the top of the liquid and the airlock for carbon dioxide to escape. Now the long wait begins – store the carboy in a cool dry place. The wine should spend at least 6 months in the second fermentation stage. It’s very important to keep the mixture clean during this process to avoid yeast infections that can potentially ruin the batch. This is definitely the point where you want to make sure to do your homework, but in a nutshell you should move the wine into a clean carboy every three months or so.
Now all you need to do is to transfer your new wine into bottles for either drinking or further storage. If you have the patience to let the wine age further in the bottle the quality will likely improve further. The only thing left to do is invite some friends over and make a charcuterie board (I like bleu cheese and coppa). Enjoy!