Wine Making Process

I am posting this to help you out if you are looking at my wine recipes which are basically just a list of ingredients and saying “Ok but how do you make it?!” First thing my process is a smidge different than others because I make one gallon batches and to get the clearest wine possible I rack (explained below) my wine one more time than most.


Day One

Mix all your powders together in a small bowl ( all the yeast nutrient, tannin, pectic enzyme etc) and set aside. This helps prevent lumps of ingredients in your bucket.


In a two gallon bucket add your flavor component be it concentrate, juice, or fruit (put the fruit in a mesh bag and give it a good mashing with a potato masher). Then add your sugar syrup. Note: Making a syrup is just me and my recipes – I believe that it is much easier to get the sugar into a yeast friendly solution by simply taking the amount of sugar called for and half that amount of water and heating and stirring it until the sugar is all melted. Then pour the hot syrup into the bucket with your flavor component. I think this helps bring flavors out of fresh fruit too.


Cover the bucket with a clean dishtowel and then set the lid on top. That lid will save your bacon should anything fall on top of your bucket. Set the bucket aside overnight. This lets the metabisulphate nuke any wild yeasts that might spoil your wine and dissipate so that the yeast we add (pitch) will have a nice place to get to business.


Day Two

Take 1/4 teaspoon of your wine yeast and add it to about 1/2 cup of water hot from the tap. Let the yeast sit for about five minutes and get all saturated and milky looking. (The yeast will float at first and slowly sink as they soak up the water). Give this a good swirl and dump it in your bucket. Replace the dish towel and lid and sit it in a cool (in the house with the ac) dark spot away from curious folks and/or dogs. I recommend a closet, pantry or cabinet. Now let it sit 5 days. On the third day give the contents a stir with a sanitized spoon. Note that it may well finish primary fermentation before 5 days but to me it is just easier especially with multiple buckets going.


Day Seven

Transfer your wine from the bucket (the primary fermenter) to a glass 1 gallon jug (the secondary fermenter) using a siphon hose. Be sure to try to not transfer the sediment in the bucket to the glass jug. This process is called racking and you will do it one or two more times as we go along.


Affix an airlock to the gallon jug and sit the jug back in your cool dark spot. On rare occasion certain wines might foam up into your airlock so sitting the jug in a pie plate will catch any overflow and save you a mess. If it does foam up into the airlock simply replace the airlock with another or cover the stopper hole while you clean and sanitize and replace.  Now let this set for another 5 days.


Day Twelve

Rack your wine into a sanitized one gallon jug again leaving behind all the sediment. In a small cup catch a bit of the wine to taste. At this point we will want to stop fermentation by adding 1/2 tsp potassium sorbate. Your wine should be starting to clear if it is not add a clearing agent (fining agent) as you rack. I use Sparkolloid and you mix 1/4 tsp to 1/4 cup hot water to activate it then add to the jug. If you have empty room in the top of the jug you will want to fill it up either with water or simple syrup. If the wine is sweet at this point I add water if it is super tart I add simple syrup. Note right here I do not like dry wine – all my wine is sweet at the end so you may want to just stick with water for topping up if you like dry wine. Replace the airlock and let set for five more days.


Day Seventeen

Rack your wine to a sanitized one gallon jug or 5 750ml wine bottles and cap/cork. Store your wine somewhere cool and dark to age – the longer the better. Taste your wine – it will be unpolished and a bit alcohol harsh but should be other wise tolerable at this point. 

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