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10 Easy Steps to Making Wine

Follow these 10 easy steps to make any type of wine you prefer.

Step 1: Prepare fruit by cutting up larger fruit and breaking skins on smaller fruit. Any large pits should be removed. Use ingredients raw and fresh for making when making wine. Overprocessing fruit will result in a very bitter wine.

Step 2: Take a Hydrometer Reading of your juice. Put a sample of juice in a test jar. Spin hydrometer to dislodge air bubbles. At eye level read the figures on the stem of the hydrometer where the surface of the liquid cuts across the stem. This figure will tell you how much sugar is in the juice and the potential alcohol. Adjust sugar for type of wine you wish to make.

Step 3: Sanitize all equipment and utensils with sulfite solution. See instructions below for making a sanitizing solution.

Step 4: Stir together all of the wine making ingredients called for, EXCEPT for the YEAST, into a primary fermenter. Collect any pulp in a straining bag and submerge the bag into the wine making mixture. Add water to equal the batch to 5 gallons. Then add 5 Crushed Campden Tablets. They should be crushed up before adding. Adding the wine yeast at the same time you add the Campden Tablets will result in destroying the yeast.

Step 5: Cover the fermenter and wait 24 hours. During this time, the Campden Tablets are sterilizing the juice with a mild sulfur gas. During the 24 hours, the sulfur gas leaves the container making it safe to add the wine yeast.

Step 6: Sprinkle the wine YEAST over the surface of the juice and then attach lid. Allow this mixture to ferment for 5 to 7 days. You should start to see some foaming activity within 24 hours of adding the wine yeast. Typically, 70% of the fermentation activity will occur during this 5 to 7 day period.

Step 7: After 5 to 7 days remove the pulp from the fermenter and discard. Siphon the wine into a secondary fermenter in a careful manner, so as to leave the sediment behind. You can easily remove the pulp by lifting out the fermentation bag. Drain out any excess juice from the bag. Siphon the wine off the sediment without stirring it up. Get as much liquid as you can, even it some of the sediment comes with it. If necessary, add water back to 5 gallons.

Step 8: Attach a wine making air-lock and fill it approximately half-way with water. Allow the juice to ferment for an additional 4-6 week period or until it becomes completely clear. Use your hydrometer to verify that the fermentation is complete before continuing. The wine hydrometer should read between 0.990 and 0.998 on the Specific Gravity scale.

Step 9: Once the wine has cleared completely, siphon it off of the sediment again. Take your final hydrometer reading. Stir in 1 ¼ teaspoons of Potassium Sorbate and 5 Crushed and dissolved Campden Tablets. When siphoning off the sediment, unlike the first time you siphoned the wine, you want to leave all of the sediment behind, even if you lose a little wine.

Step 10: You can bottle your wine at this point or let it bulk age in a glass carboy. If you bulk age, keep the carboy topped up to the neck.

Sulfite Sanitizing Solution: Dissolve Four crushed Campden Tablets in one quart of water to make sanitizing solution. Being sanitary is one of the keys to great home wine making.
Temperatures: Keep fermentation temperatures stable between 70-75 degrees F. Getting the fermentation too cool could result in the fermentation stopping before all the alcohol is made. Getting the fermentation too warm could result in off-flavors in the wine.
Sweetening Your Wine: The wine will be dry tasting when finished fermenting. If you prefer your wines sweeter, simply add sugar, honey, etc. to taste. However, you must first add a wine making stabilizer such as Potassium Sorbate, or there will be a strong chance of re-fermentation occurring in the bottles.
Hydrometer: You may decide to purchase a wine making Hydrometer. It measures the concentration of sugar in your wine at any given time. With this information you can determine your wine’s alcoholic content or simply monitor the progress throughout the home wine making process.

If you have more questions regarding making your own wine, please feel free to give us a call at 770-507-5998. We also teach classes. Go to Events to see our current schedule of wine classes.