If Using Fresh Grapes: The Harvest
Harvesting or picking is certainly the first step in the actual wine making process. Without fruit there would be no wine, and no fruit other than grapes can produce annually a reliable amount of sugar to yield sufficient alcohol to preserve the resulting beverage, nor have other fruits the requisite acids, esters and tannins to make natural, stable wine on a consistent basis. For this reason and a host more, most winemakers acknowledge that wine is made in the vineyard, at least figuratively. In order to make fine wine, grapes must be harvested at the precise time, preferably when physiologically ripe. A combination of science and old-fashioned tasting usually go into determining when to harvest, with consultants, winemakers, vineyard managers, and proprietors all having their say. Harvesting can be done mechanically or by hand. However, many estates prefer to hand harvest, as mechanical harvesters can often be too tough on the grapes and the vineyard. Once the grapes arrive at the winery, reputable winemakers will sort the grape bunches, culling out rotten or under ripe fruit before crushing.
How Do You Sanitize All The Tools
Level of sanitization is one of those things that falls on a wide spectrum. Some folks prefer to absolutely blast their tools with synthetic chemical sanitizers before making wine to kill any yeast or bacteria that might impact the flavor of their wine. On the other end of the spectrum, some people dont even wash the spoon they use to stir so itll keep the same yeast on it from batch to batch!
Like most things in my life, I stick to the middle path. We make sure all of our tools are cleaned very well with soap and hot water. Plus we use an oxygen wash as an extra layer of sanitization before making our wine.
Lower Heart Disease Risk
Many observational studies have shown a link between moderate alcohol intake and heart health benefits.; A 2011 research study from the British Medical Journal analyzed the difference alcohol intake had on cardiovascular health compared with people who did not drink alcohol.; This study pooled results of previous studies studying the effects of moderate alcohol intake and heart health.
Researchers found people who consumed moderate intake of alcohol, for an average of 11 years, had 25% lower risk for heart attack, 29% lower risk for being diagnosed with coronary heart disease and 13% lower risk for dying from any cause.
These results suggest there is a health benefit to drinking moderate alcohol intake and heart health.; Many research studies have particularly highlighted red wine as being heart healthy in moderate doses.; Red wine has antioxidants that can help lower cholesterol, reduce blood clotting and increasing the good HDL cholesterol.
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How Wines Are Coloured
Wines normally get its colour from the skin of grapes. White wines are made in two ways: one being only with the juice of white grapes. This juice is generally colourless. The second type is made with a mixture of black and white grapes. The skins of the black grapes are removed soon enough before it can leave any pigment to the wine.
Red wine is made by keeping the skin in contact with the juice for a longer time. The skin also gives wine tannin which is a natural acid.
Rosé wines get its colour when the skins of the black grapes are left in the must for sometime until it imparts the necessary colour.
Making Wine Like A Pro
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A: Fermenting For White Wine
Start with at least 5.25 gallons of white grape juice to end up with five gallons of wine. Pour the juice into a carboy or other closeable container larger than the volume you will ferment, as the wine can foam or expand and ooze out the top.
White grape juice is actually green or golden at first, but it will turn a brown color after its pressed and as it starts to ferment. Dont worry, it will lighten to pale yellow or gold later. Use an airlock to keep oxygen out and allow the carbon dioxide produced by fermentation to escape.
Add wine yeast, according to the instructions on the packet. Keep the juice at a comfortable room temperature, as advised on the yeast instructions. It should begin to emit a light foam of carbon dioxide within a day or two, which signals the start of fermentation.
Remove the stopper once a day, or as needed, to stir the juice and the lees that will begin to settle to the bottom. If the fermentation speeds up and the wine foams out of your vessel, just mop it up and cool the container slightly.
A Primary Fermentation Container:
The size is important. I recommend it be at least 40% bigger in volume than what youd like your final amount of wine to be. Why? Because your primary fermentation will have fresh fruit in it, which well later filter out. Also: during the initial fermentation, the yeast can get quite overzealous, and youll need room for all the bubblesplus, extra room gives the yeast extra oxygen to work with! The strawberry wine recipe below is for a one gallon batch, so your primary fermentation container needs to be at least 1.4 gallons in size.
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The Mysteries Of Fermentation
The seemingly mysterious world of fermentation is actually as straightforward and easy to comprehend as any other chemistry experiment. A solution called must of water, sugar, fruit juice, and fruit pulp is prepared in a scrupulously clean container and wine yeast is then introduced to the must.
That’s wine yeast, and not baker’s yeast. Baker’s yeast is bred for the taste it leaves in baked goods, while wine yeast has been carefully developed over hundreds of years to leave no taste in wine at all. Baker’s yeast is “top fermenting” … wine yeast “bottom ferments”. Baker’s yeast is sometimes killed by the first few percentage points of alcohol that develop in a container of must … wine yeast can withstand as much as a 16% concentration of alcohol.
When the yeast plants are added to the must, they rapidly reproduce themselves and release carbon dioxide. And, once this carbon dioxide has flushed all the oxygen from the must, the yeast settles down to consume the sugar in the solution and produce alcohol in earnest. Then, when all the sugar is gone , the yeast automatically dies and drifts slowly to the bottom of the container.
Variations On Wine Recipes
The blackberry drink we’ve just made is a dry wine. . . which means that almost no sugar remains in the beverage after it has fermented. The wine, in short, is not sweet.
If you prefer a sweet wine, there are a number of ways to alter this recipe . Most are beyond the scope of this article.
There is, however, a very easy way for a home vintner to serve sweet wines. Just make up a solution of half water and half sugar. Heat it until it clears and then allow it to cool , and keep it in a pretty decanter on the table for anyone who wants to sweeten his or her wine to taste. Honey, of course, may be used in the same way … but stick with the milder tasting light honeys and use only about half as much .
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Racking And Secondary Fermentation
Once the primary fermentation has slowed down, its time to strain out the fruit and rack the wine into a carboy.
What Makes Great Wine Great
What makes a great wine great? By understanding the processes involved with making a great wine, youll be able to identify a great wine based on your own tastes. It doesnt matter if youre a collector or a novice to the world of wine, a solid foundation provides the basis of how to find great quality .
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Embrace What You Really Like
If you purchase the wine again, chances are you like it. When you find one you like, stick to it. Its simple, but be mindful of the grapes varietals in the wines you prefer. If you like Pinot Noir from Oregon, you just might dig a Burgundy from France. Then again, a Syrah from the Rhône region may be slightly different from a South African or Australian Shiraz. Explore the world of wine. Taste is subjective, which means the best wine is the one you like, says Click. Take time to try new varietals from regions all around the world and find your own personal style.
Wine Tip: Screw It!Dont be afraid to try wine with a screw cap closure, says Click. A screw cap doesnt mean the wine is cheap, it means the winery is committed to quality. Approximately 8 percent of wine bottled under cork is cork-tainted or undrinkable.
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Preparing Supplies And Ingredients
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Use The Right Equipment
Make sure you use the proper equipment. That means food-grade materials and containers large enough to hold the amount of wine you’re making plus room for the rising foam produced during the fermentation. Your equipment should be clean and in good condition. Scratches or stains can harbour bacteria which can spoil your wine. We recommend that starting winemakers purchase new equipment. Equipment for winemaking is fairly inexpensive and can be used over and over.
Can Homemade Wine Make You Sick
The quick answer is that homemade wine, in general, cant make you sicker than regular store-bought wine.
However, the chance of making errors when homebrewing wine is obviously higher than the manufactured wines you see in stores.
Homebrewed wine cant kill you unless you really mess up.
The process of making both beer and wine simply doesnt allow hostile bacterias that can make you sick on a life-threatening scale.
There are some things that can go wrong tho, that might give you indications that it is the winemaking you sick, but usually, it is due to human mistakes when brewing the wine.
Here are some things that can go wrong and possibly make you a bit sick when drinking and making homebrewed wine:
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Crushing And Destemming The Grapes
Crushing the whole clusters of fresh ripe grapes is traditionally the next step in the wine making process. Today, mechanical crushers perform the time-honored tradition of stomping or trodding the grapes into what is commonly referred to as must. For thousands of years, it was men and women who performed the harvest dance in barrels and presses that began grape juices magical transformation from concentrated sunlight and water held together in clusters of fruit to the most healthful and mystical of all beverages – wine. As with anything in life, change involves something lost and something gained. By using mechanical presses, much of the romance and ritual has departed this stage of wine making, but one need not lament too long due to the immense sanitary gain that mechanical pressing brings to wine making. Mechanical pressing has also improved the quality and longevity of wine, while reducing the winemakers need for preservatives. Having said all this, it is important to note that not all wine begins life in a crusher. Sometimes, winemakers choose to allow fermentation to begin inside uncrushed whole grape clusters, allowing the natural weight of the grapes and the onset of fermentation to burst the skins of the grapes before pressing the uncrushed clusters.
Five Ways To Spot A Good Wine
Heres a shocker: Good wine is neither expensive, nor old. So how do you know what makes for a good bottle of vino? Well, for starters, its deep, complex and stays with you long after youve tasted it. Youre saying, but there are so many. How do I choose? The general tasting rules of swirl, sniff and sip are a start, but theres more to learn when determining if a wine is worthy of your taste buds and cash. We went to the experts to find out exactly what to look for.
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Winemaking Techniques You Should Know
Q. What is the difference between good and superlative wines?
A. The WOW! factor. A good wine offers everything that the varietal or style is meant to provide. While it can provide great balance and drinking pleasure, perhaps it doesnt quite jump out at you with oodles of fruit, aroma and flavor complexities, or a lingering finish.
A superlative wine, on the other hand, is packed with charming aromas and concentrated flavors that linger on and on, and provides more than simply great drinking pleasure; it excites the senses. A great wine makes the palate dance; it makes you close your eyes as you inhale the multitudes of subtle and harmonious aromas. It creates a lasting memory. Its the type of wine that you will still talk about years from now.
Sure you can make good wines from true and tried recipes by simply following a set of instructions, but youll need to go beyond that to craft memorable wines. This is where you need to leap from the science into the art of winemaking.
Here are 10 proven winemaking techniques and practices you should know and implement if you want to make that leap.
How To Make Homemade Wine
Winemaking at home requires several pieces of inexpensive equipment, serious cleanliness, and a mess of patience. Turns out, Tom Petty was right: “The waiting is the hardest part.”
- One 4-gallon food-grade-quality plastic bucket and lid to serve as the primary fermentation vat
- Three 1-gallon glass jugs to use as secondary fermentation containers
- A funnel that fits into the mouth of the glass bottles
- Three airlocks
- A rubber cork to fit into the secondary fermentation container
- Large straining bag of nylon mesh
- About 6 feet of clear half-inch plastic tubing
- About 20 wine bottles
- Number 9-size, pre-sanitized corks
- Hand corker
- A Hydrometer to measure sugar levels
- Lots and lots of wine grapes
- Granulated sugar
- Filtered water
- Wine yeast
To the above basic list you can refine the process by adding such things as Campden tablets to help prevent oxidation, yeast nutrients, enzymes, tannins, acids, and other fancy ingredients to better control your wine production.
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Try This Secret Technique
My scientifically based no-mess, and totally free, top secret for instantly improving any wine?
Pour off a glass, re-cork the bottle and shake it up. Thats all there is to it!
Pour off enough to reach the bottles shoulder, which is where it broadens out from the neck. This creates a greater surface area of wine thats exposed to the air. And since air is a great way to open up a wine, when you re-cork the bottle and shake it up, youre quickly exposing all of the wine to that good air as you shake. Not just the surface, which is why traditional breathing takes so long. Because you dont need a decanter or other tool, you can do this one on picnics, at the beach, on the goits the single fastest way to make wine taste better!