There are few things more satisfying than enjoying the fruits of your labor, literally. Winemaking is a great hobby or career that lets wine enthusiasts have a hand in producing their own wines to enjoy. Some companies now sell wine making kits that contain everything needed to create your own perfect bottles of vino.
Making Homemade Wine
Winemaking begins after the grapes are harvested. The process for making red wines differs slightly from that used to make whites. With a red wine, the grapes are crushed and fermented with the skins and seeds. In a white wine, the white grapes are pressed and the juice is fermented. During fermentation, the sugars are converted to alcohol with yeast. A second fermentation allows the wine to become clear.
After the fermentation stages, some wines are aged in oak barrels to add additional notes of flavor in the aftertaste. Others are directly bottled.
Before beginning to make homemade wine, there are a few supplies needed to get you started:
- 23-liter glass or plastic carboy
- 30-liter plastic container with a non-airtight lid
- 5 feet long plastic tube
- airlock and bung for the carboy
- dairy thermometer
- long pipette
- long spoon
- long tube or jar.
A carboy is a plastic container with a fermentation lock and rubber stopper that is used to ferment the wine.
A winemaker needs a few ingredients to begin:
- ascorbic acid or potassium sorbate to stop fermentation
- bottles and corks
- filtered water
- grape or fruit juice
- sodium metabisulfite to sanitize
Of course, many professional winemakers use other ingredients as well, such as oak barrels for the aging process.
Many companies sell winemaking kits that come complete with everything needed to make your first bottle of wine, as well as a detailed instruction manual.
These kits are fairly inexpensive and are a great way to experiment with the winemaking process.
Avoiding Common Winemaking Problems
Many amateur winemakers come across a few problems along the way to their first bottle of vino. Fermentation is a tricky stage; check in on the wine to ensure it has not gone into stuck fermentation. Make sure the temperature is around 75 degrees Fahrenheit during this stage to allow the yeast to ferment at a pace that is best for wine.
Always sanitize all the equipment used. There is a special solution specifically for winemakers.
It is important to take note of the wine”s exposure to air, as this could lead to oxidation, thus tainting the wine.
Thanks to the Internet, there is a wide variety of choices in homemade wine recipes. Recipes from Cabernet Sauvignon to Merlot to Mead are all capable of being made from the comfort of your own home.
Many people enjoy experimenting with their own recipes once they have mastered the wine making technique. Recipes using dandelions, sweet potatoes, beets and watermelon all offer new aspects to the traditional grape wines.