Your Source For Making Wine and Beer

Making Your Own Wine - Part 1

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

This is the first part of a 4 post series on how to make your own wine.
So, you want to make your first wine?  How do you get started and what equipment do you need?  Hopefully over the next 4 posts I'll be able to guide you through the process.  This part will take you up to the point where you test for sugar content and acidity.
The first step is to decide what kind of wine you plan on making.  Do you plan on making it from fresh fruit? Or, do you plan on using juice?  Let's start with using frozen juice.
One of the simple ways to make wine is to use frozen juice concentrate.  I have used Welch's frozen concentrate for numerous wines.  For a recipe, click here. You must use the frozen since it does not contain potassium sorbate.  The potassium sorbate will prevent your wine from  fermenting.  So make sure you buy the frozen kind of juice.
You can also buy juice in 5 gallon containers and these are usually specific kinds of juice.  ie Merlot, Syrah, etc.
Another kind of juice that you can buy is Vintner's Harvest.  Usually this comes in 46 ounce or 92 ounce cans and is usually fruit.  Ie. Peach, Cranberry, Raspberry, etc.  The side of the can provides generic instructions on making your wine.
Ok, back to the frozen juice.  Next you have to decide if you want a light bodied, medium bodied or full bodied wine.  The recipe is pretty easy to remember.  1 can per gallon for a light bodied wine, 2 cans for a medium bodied wine, and 3 cans for full bodied wine.
Next pour your juice into your fermenter.  I use an Ale Pail, like the one pictured.  Fill it to about the 3 gallon mark with juice and water This fermenter has a lid and airlock, which I do not use for the primary fermentation.  You can if you want, but I kinda' like to watch my wine ferment.


If you plan on using fresh fruit, then you must crush the fruit first.  For a batch that is less than 5 gallons, I use a potato masher.
Crush your fruit and add it to your fermenter. 
At this point we need to test for sugar and acidity, which I'll talk about on the next post.

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