Making wine from home can sometimes be a costly process to start and it may take quite a bit of your time and effort to make a decent batch. Understanding the proper procedure and what to expect along the way can help you start the process off correctly and save you a lot of trial and error.
Get everything you’re going to need before you begin to avoid having to halt your wine making process and search for an additional piece of equipment you may have forgotten. To begin the process you’ll need a fermenting vat to ferment your grapes in. You’ll need to have bottles, corks, and labels ready once your wine is complete in order to prepare it for storage.
Depending on the process you’ll be using you may need oak casks for aging, glass jugs, a hydrometer, a fermentation lock, crushing gates, and an acid titration kit. Wine kits can be purchased that will provide everything you’ll need including chemicals and additional supplies. Some companies will even provide instructions or lessons on the wine making process if you need it.
The main thing you’re going to need for making wine is the grapes or any other fruits you plan on using. It takes about 70 pounds of grapes to make 6 gallons of wine, and you’ll want to make sure you know what type of wine you can make out of the grape varietal you chose. Fruit concentrates can also be used which may be easier than crushing your own grapes, but you may have less control over the end product with this option. If you have the proper space and live in an appropriate region, you may choose to even grow your own grapes.
Sugar, yeast, and additional chemicals will also be required for the process. You’ll need Campden tablets, which are a sulphur-based brewing product, to add to your wine while it is being made. These tablets kill certain bacteria and prevent the growth of wild yeast.
The grapes are crushed to form a must for red wines, or the juice is extracted from t he skins and seeds to use for whites. The must or grape juice is fermented in a vat for usually around a week or two then racked to remove sediment. The racking process may be repeated a multiple times depending on the amount of sediment left behind or the type of wine you’re making.
Once the wine is siphoned out of the vat and the additional sediment is left behind it can be bottled and will be ready for storage. Knowing how long you’ll be aging the wine you’ve produced will allow you to prepare an appropriate storage area in advance. Some types may be ready for consumption immediately while others may require months or years of aging.
For any new wine makers, errors can be expected regardless of how prepared you are. Once you’ve made a few batches you’ll likely begin to better understand the process and be more confident in your brewing abilities. For anyone with a love of wine this can be a fun and rewarding hobby and for some it can even turn into a lucrative business.