Homemade Wine

hello all,

Before I write my post I just wanted to let everyone know that I have a whole hosts of topics to write about but I am unable to do some projects due to covid-19.

Today is the day we rack our grape wine for the last time before we bottle it in a month. We are so very excited of the results of our first attempt at wine. So far it tastes very good but we will see I suppose after it has aged for 6 months in the bottle.

The recipe I am sharing with you is a family recipe from my great uncle. My grandmother gave me the recipe and she has been walking us through the long process of making this first batch.

After going through the difficult parts of the grape wine Jon and I felt confident enough to make apple wine on our own.

This recipe can be used with any fruit. My grandmother has used crabapples, wild plums, choke cherries, Nanking cherries, grapes and rubato. She doesn’t recommend using ”mushy” fruit as it can create too much pulp but raspberry, strawberry and blueberries can be used. You can also mix the fruits to to create different flavours.

Our biggest concern with starting to make wine was the expense and the fear of having the batch go bad. In consultation with my grandmother we opted for some cheaper options to keep costs down for trial purposes. Now that we know we can do it tomorrow will likely invest in some of the more expensive items.

Here’s the tools you need to get started and the cheaper variations we went with for trial purposes.

- tote bin, large enough to hold 15 pounds of fruit, 15 pounds of sugar and 5 gallons of water

- an airtight cover large enough to cover your tote bin

- thermometer (very important!)

- strainer

- stirring stick or long wooden spoon (my grandfather carved us one that is about 3 feet long and we use it only for wine)

- siphoning tubing

- 2 large jugs (for wine making these are the large glass jugs, for trial purposes we used the large water jugs because they’re less of an investment than the large glass jugs

- airlock and bung (with hole)

- notebook. you’re going to want to track everything!

Ingredients - 15 pounds of selected fruit

- 15 pounds of white sugar (we put extra sugar in because we like our wine sweeter, we used about 20 pounds)

- 10 Camden tablets (we actually didn’t use these. They are optional)

- 2 bottles of grape concentrate (we used 2 cans of minute made frozen juice, thawed and not mixed with water)

- 5 gallons of water

- 1 pig of all purpose wine yeast

The process

Place the fruit into the tote bin and crush up (apples cut up). Do not break the pits of the stone fruits and berries they will make the wine bitter. Cover the fruit with the sugar and put the lid on the bin and the airtight cover (we used a large black garbage bag and a bungee cord to seal the bin. This is important because fruit flies will be attracted to the fruit and sugar). After 4 hours add all the other ingredients except the yeast. Cover up again. Allow to stand at 22 degrees celsius for 12-24 hours.

side note: warmth is extremely important during this stage we aimed for 22-24 degrees and actually wrapped our bin with a blanket. We monitored our thermometer daily. My mother tried to make wine in her basement and was unsuccessful because she could not maintain the heat. Her wine turned out awful (love you mom!!)

After the 12-24 hours sprinkle on the wine yeast and then cover. After about 4 hours stir vigorously then cover. It should start fermenting in 12-24 hours. After fermenting begins mix at least once a day. Always keep it covered when not stirring. On the fourth day remove the fruit by straining and pressing out the pulp.

About 7 days after removing the fruit siphon into the jug and attach the bung and airlock. Always keep jug full.

If the jug does not stay full after racking boil water, allow to cool and top off the jug.

Side note: Racking is the process of moving the liquid from one jug to the other to eliminate as much sediment as possible making your wine nice and clear.

Rack your wine 1 month after putting it into the jug. Do it again 3 months later. (You can rack more often if you want to get rid of more sediment. We racked our apple wine more frequently because it had more sediment than the grape wine)

When the wine has stopped fermenting and is clear it’s ready to bottle. (It’s important that the wine has stopped fermenting otherwise it could explode in the bottles).

Allow your wine to age in the bottles 6 months or more before serving.

I will keep you posted as to how our wine turns out. We will be bottling in 1 month. Keep an eye on my Instagram for the bottling process!

Also keep an eye on instagram for our future wine making. We’ll be making a new flavour this fall.

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