Wine Making Overview
Wine making is one of the fastest-growing hobbies in the United States. Why? It's cheap, it's fun, it's legal, it's easy, its results are delicious, and let's face it: everyone digs someone who can make their own wine. The Trusty Guide to Wine Making will lead you through the process of making your own wine, telling you what equipment you'll need and where to get it. We'll lead you through the process step-by-step in simple, easy-to-understand language. We'll also give you a whole range of recipes to choose from in our recipe section, from the simplest and tastiest reds and whites to fruit wines to some fun and unusual wines no liquor store would ever dream of carrying.
Here is a brief overview of what we will cover:
|How Wine Making Works
- Wine is made through a process called fermentation. During fermentation, a living yeast breaks down sugar into two by-products, carbon dioxide and alcohol.
- Fermentation consists of two stages: primary fermentation (a very violent, fast first bubbling) and secondary fermentation (a slower, more mellow step).
- Wine must be racked, or siphoned away from its sediment before it is aged.
|Wine Making Ingredients and Additives
- Must is the raw juice which will become your wine. You can make the juice yourself, open a bottle from the grocery store or special order concentrate from a vineyard.
- Yeast. An inexpensive, all purpose wine maker's yeast is best for the beginning wine maker. Baker's yeast from the grocery store is not acceptable.
- Sugar is the food that lets the yeast do its magic. You may need to add some.
- Campden tablets help keep things clean and sterile. They are also added to the wine at several stages to stabilize the wine and prevent the growth of unwanted bacteria.
- Acid blends, pectic enzymes and grape tannins are sometimes added to correct the flavor and improve the quality of the wine.
|General Directions for Wine Making
- Preparing your ingredients and cleaning your equipment are the important first steps.
- Prepare the must by adding sugar and sometimes water, acid blend, pectin, tannin and a campden tablet.
- Wait 24 hours before adding the yeast.
- Primary fermentation is a fast, very violent bubbling. The yeast is very active.
- Secondary fermentation is a slower, more mellow bubbling.
- During secondary fermentation, the wine must be kept away from contact with the air.
- When you rack a wine, you remove the clear wine from the sediment.
- Aging is an important step, as you let the wine mellow and develop flavor.
|Wine Making Equipment
- A primary fermenter is used for containing the must during its first, violent fermentation
- A secondary fermenter, usually a glass jug with a narrow opening plugged with an air lock, is used for the second stage.
- A hydrometer measures the amount of sugar in a must
- An acid titration kit measures the amount of acid.
- Bottles, corks, a corker and wire brushes help make the wine maker's job easier
Read on to learn more about how wine making works.