Making Wine Like A Pro
More Things To Keep In Mind
Juice produces ethanol, not methanol: Making homemade wine, or alcohol in general, is simple because of the simple fact that yeast converts sugar to ethanol . There is a misconception that drinking homemade brew is not safe, but that’s only if you drink methanol. Brewing with fruit juices and yeast cannot produce methanol. It can only produce ethanol.
This process can be done in as little as three days: My attempts at wine making usually take around 7 days, but some people who have tried this method have reported that the fermentation stopped in about 3 days. So this method can actually produce wine with a moderate alcohol content in about 3 days.
You might need to add sugar: Since this fermentation method produces wine that isn’t very sweet , I am updating my recipe by saying that you should add one cup of granulated or cane sugar or corn syrup to a one gallon batch or half a cup to a half gallon batch before adding the yeast. This might produce a sweeter wine, if that’s what you want. It might be best to pour the juice into a large saucepan and heat it up slightly so the sugar will dissolve properly. Then pour it back into the bottle using a funnel and allow to cool to room temperature.
A hydrometer will tell you the alcohol content: I’m not sure of the alcohol content of this brew, but you could buy a hydrometer to measure it. They are cheap and readily available online or at any brewer’s store.
Whats A General Formula For Making Fruit Wine From Any Kind Of Fruit
Making wine is more of an art than a science, which means it takes some experimentation to nail down exactly what works for you and your tastebuds, but as a general rule of thumb, you can use this formula for a one gallon batch of fruit wine:
3 pounds of fresh or frozen fruit + 2-3 pounds of cane sugar + 1 gallon of water + Yeast and desired additives
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Understanding The Role Of Sugar In Wine
Experts discuss methods for achieving varying levels of actual and perceived sweetness
Science says, dab sugar water on a babys lips and shell smile. Swap in salt water and youll elicit a more neutral reaction, while sour or bitter flavors will make her fuss and frown. In other words, more Negronis for mommy.
Some scientists point to the experiment above as proof that we are hardwired to enjoy sweet things. To the developing human body, sugara carbohydraterepresents an easy fuel source. But too much sugar brings cavities and bad skin more still can invite diabetes and obesity. The key to good health is a balanced dietone needs some broccoli to offset all those carbs. Similarly, the key to a good wine is balance.
Baby wine drinkers also often crave the sweet stuff. How many of us began our fine wine journey with a taste of Boones Farm, Liebfraumilch, or a wine cooler? Sweetness is a reliable characteristic of bottom-shelf brands, yet many of the worlds greatest wines contain some degree of residual sugar. Even so, there has been a dry wine revolution in the last few decades. Consider the rise of the VDP and Grosses Gewächs in Germany, the swelling category of non-dosé Champagne, and the increasingly sluggish sales of dessert wines.
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How To Stabilise A Wine
Once the wine is at a point where you are ready to stabilise, of course, you will have sampled the wine and tested with a hydrometer, youll need to rack the cleared wine off any sediment into a new vessel. As we will be adding potassium sorbate and mixing any sediment will be stirred back into the wine which is not what we want.
Now with the wine in a new vessel, we can add the potassium sorbate and Campden tablet. You should pay attention to the recommended dosage instructed on the packages you have just in case they are differing strengths. The common dosage is 3/4 tsp of potassium sorbate and one Campden tablet.
Dissolve the additives in a small amount of boiled and cooled water until clear, the solution can then be added to the wine and mixed gently. Leave the wine for at least 12 hours before doing anything else.
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What Does Muscadine Wine Taste Like
In the past, muscadine wines generally only had one flavor: sweetness. This taste derives from the fact that muscadines themselves arent as sweet as other grapes. To compensate for this, winemakers would add extra amounts of sugar to help give the wine more flavor.
These days, however, there exists a range of flavors when it comes to muscadine wine. While most are to some degree sweet, there also exist some milder muscadine wines that are lighter on sugar and therefore more refreshing in the traditional sense.
FUN FACT: The driest of the muscadine wines clock in at 10g/L RS, meaning theyre not particularly sweet .
When The Wine Is Finished
Please drink responsibly, and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
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Read Me: An Important Winemaking Caveat
Like most things in life, the craft of home winemaking falls on a wide spectrum. On one end, you have the folks who love to dive all inthey spend hundreds of dollars on special tools, they sanitize everything using synthetic chemicals, they take scientific records, they use very specific winemaking additives. On the other hand, there is what I like to call heritage winemakers. These people use barely nothing more than a clean canning jar, fruit, water, and some sugarafter all, thats the way folks have been making wine for generations. And then there are all of us who fall somewhere in between on the spectrum.
Muscadine Wine Health Benefits
Though muscadines are one of the lesser-known grapes, these fruits have been described as perhaps the most super of all superfruits. Thats because the grapes contain a very high level of antioxidants, ellagic acid , and resveratrol.
Knowing this, lets take a look at some potential health benefits of muscadine wine:
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The Physical Measure Of Sweetness
I moved to wine country nine years ago. Back then, when speaking with winemakers, we would discuss the ripeness of grapes in terms of Brix. At some point, I noticed that winemakers were eschewing talk of Brix for something called gluc/fruc. Gluc/fruc is exactly what it sounds like: the total amount of glucose and fructose in a solution. How is this different than Brix? Dont they both measure sugar and therefore potential alcohol?
Dr. Rich DeScenzo, of ETS Laboratories in St. Helena, breaks it down. Brix, which is often checked in the field with a refractometer, is effectively a measurement of density, not of sugar. All sorts of things affect Brixsugars, acids, tanninsbasically any soluble solid. As freshly harvested grapes are composed of around 25% sugar, sugar is the dominant component of the density. Because of this, there is often a strong correlation between Brix and final alcohol, but it is not infallible. Depending on the conditions of the vintage, there may be more or less solids in a given year, which will affect how closely Brix correlates to the resulting alcoholic strength of the wine.
Using Sugar To Sweeten Wine
Yes, you can use sugar to sweeten your wine in a pinch. We dont recommend it because even with the use of metabisulphite it is possible that there are still some active yeast cells left. Sugar is easy for the yeast to ferment, so it might lead to a carbonation issue in your wine. But, if you properly store the wine after it has been bottled, then you should be OK. Again, just add a little at a time, stir, and taste.
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Back Sweeten Your Wine
There are a few options as to what to sweeten your wine with. Plain sugar is the simplest, dissolve the sugar in water at a ratio of 1:1 and it can be dosed into the wine. Another option is to use a fruit juice. Grape juice, for instance, is going to add both flavour and sweetness that may be more desirable than just adding sugar. Glycerine is another option, its a liquid polyol that is colourless, flavourless and odourless that tastes really sweet plus its unfermentable as well. Its also sold in home brew shops as wine sweetener as well as some pharmacies.
To keep things simple lets say we want to back sweeten with sugar. You will want to dissolve a small amount of sugar, say 100 grams in 100 ml of water by boiling to create a sugar solution.
A small amount of this sugar solution can then be added to the wine. Add very small amounts, mix and test, it is very easy to over sweeten a wine.
To work out roughly how much youll need to use its you can take a small sample of wine to back sweeten. Take a small sample of wine and add a few drops of the sugar solution at a time , keep sampling the wine to see when you reach the correct level of sweetness. Once you hit your sweetness extrapolate out the amount of sugar to the whole batch.
This same method is applicable if you are using fruit juice or other sweeteners.
What Kind Of Airlock Should I Buy
Youll see two different kinds of airlocks out therethe 3-piece airlock and the twin S-bubbler. Both work just fine for making wine. The only real advantage here is that its slightly easier to see bubbles moving on the S-bubbler. I have and use both kinds.
You will need a stopper or cap with a hole to affix the airlock to the top of your carboy or fermentation container, so make sure to grab that, too. They are often sold together in sets.
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How To Stabilise And Back Sweeten A Wine
One of the issues many new winemakers face is making a wine that is simply too dry, back sweetening a wine is a simple remedy that can transform the finished wine.
Back sweetening ranges from turning a really dry wine into a semi-dry wine that isnt necessarily sweet, but suits your taste better. Or you can go all the way to creating a dessert wine that tastes sweet as dessert wines are intended to.
It is most often the case with fruit wines that rely on sugar as the primary fermentable. Plain sugar is 100% fermentable so when the yeast ferment the wine all of the sugars gets converted to alcohol leaving no residual sweetness. A wine that is too dry is fairly easy to remedy by back sweetening but youll need to make sure of a few things before just adding sugar to the wine.
Back Sweetening a wine involves adding a type of sugar or sweetener back into the already fermented wine. Before you can do this we need to make sure that the sugar we add isnt going to start a second fermentation. To do this the wine needs to be stabilised which needs to be done once fermentation is completely finished and the wine has cleared.
Back Sweetening With Unfermented Grape Juice
A more preferable method of back sweetening is to ferment the wine completely dry and add unfermented grape juice to it. This process is known as back-blending.
It works best when the juice used to sweeten the wine has come from the same juice that was fermented to make the wine. This makes for a much more integrated final product.
If you know you want to make a sweet wine from the start reserve a portion of the grape juice for sweetening. After the wine is dry and stable you can blend the unfermented juice back into your wine until it reaches the desired level of sweetness.
When back-blending add the unfermented grape juice in small amounts and taste samples often. Its a good idea to first try this with a sample glass of wine. After all, you cant un-sweeten a wine that is too sweet so be careful not to go to far.
Sweet wine kits come with a package of unfermented grape juice pre-measured in the correct proportions for the amount of wine made in the kit. The Riesling kit I made included an F-Pack of unfermented grape juice concentrate.
I can say from experience that the f-pack did not negatively affect the flavor profile of the wine. It tastes just as integrated today as it did before I back-blended it.
This is the preferable way to produce a sweet wine at the amateur level. Wineries have more complex methods, however, some wineries do produce sweet table wines by back-blending.
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How Do Winemakers Make Wine From Grapes
Here’s a quick rundown of how to make wine from grapes:
Pro tip: Many people use the terms maturation and aging interchangeably, but they are two separate things. Wine maturation refers to the period after fermentation but before bottling while wine aging occurs after bottling. A more accurate term for aging would be cellaring, which can be done for many years depending on the wine. Learn more with our crash course on how to properly store wine.
What Can I Use To Sweeten My Wine
So, you have opened the first wine bottle from a new batch, and it’s too dry for your liking. It isnt unusual for a homemade wine to be a little dry because we simply add wine yeast and let it ferment. A winery will take measurements throughout the fermentation process and stop the fermentation when they believe the wine is at the correct sweetness level. If your wine is a bit dry for your liking, then well show you how to sweeten it up.
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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!
Removing Yeast By Fortifying
The more well-known technique for interrupting fermentation which you may have heard of is fortification. Yeast naturally dies at 15% ABV, so fortification is when the winemaker poisons the yeast by adding sulfur dioxide or more alcohol into the blend. Port is a famous fortified wine made in this way.
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How To Make Muscadine Wine In 7 Easy Steps
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One of the lesser known truly American wines, muscadine wine is also one of the tastiest.
If you find it hard to locate in your area , youll need to know the best way to make it at home. It took me some time to find out just how to do this, though its actually quite simple.
How do you make homemade muscadine wine? At its core, the muscadine wine production process involves just a few ingredients , a handful of steps, including grape mashing and fermentation, and a bit of time.
The process of making muscadine can be broken down into the following steps:
Coming up, Ill go over everything you need to know about muscadine wine, including how to make it yourself for a refreshing and quite different wine experience.