how to make homemade wine

Fermentation & Process Tips: (How to Make Homemade Wine)

Fermentation is a Multi-step Process Vital to a Successful Wine Batch when Learning How to Make Wine

  • You need a fermentation container into which you will put the wine-making mixture (namely, the juice, the water, and sugar as required.) Some wine-makers prefer to use a fermentation container that can be tightly locked while others like to be able to witness the principal fermentation process close up.
  • When you rely on fresh fruit as your fruit juice base, the flesh of your fresh fruits has to be thoroughly squashed before being placed in the fermentation container. If you are making a big-volume batch, this may be rather time-consuming. You may need an implement like a potato masher for this chore.


how to make homemade wine fermentation1This is the stage when you have to check the acidity of your wine mixture first. This is a critical step when learning how to make wine. You may purchase an acid testing kit for this purpose, worth about $7.00. The acid percentage will be influenced by the type of fruit you will be using as your juice base, but will probably hover at around .60% up to .85%.

  • As far as acidity is concerned, the general rule is that your red wines will have to have lower acidity than your white wines. If the mixture is too acidic, you have to put in more water. If the mixture is not acidic enough, more of the acidic blend has to be put into it then.
  • The next step is to check for the sugar content of the wine blend. This is extremely important when learning How to Make Homemade Wine. For this, you have to use a hydrometer. For mixtures that lack sugar, you can use white table sugar to sweeten it. If it gets too sweet, just add more water to thin it out.
  • If you have perfected the acid and sugar mix in your wine blend, you may proceed to add the yeast nutrient to it. This substance is what practically all wine blends need to trigger yeast cells into processing sugar in your wine blend into alcohol. Do not overdose your wine blend with yeast nutrient.
  • If you are not making grape-based wine, then you are required to put in some grape tannin into the wine blend. If you have no grape tannin on hand, you can substitute raisins for it. The usual ratio is one handful of raisins for every gallon of wine blend.
  • You have to be certain what types of fruit will require you to use the pectin enzyme in the wine blend. You need pectin enzyme so the pectin present in your wine blend can be broken down fully. But this rule does not apply to all fruits used so be certain you know when to use pectin enzyme.
  • Before putting in yeast into the wine blend, you will need to add sulphur dioxide (or Campden tablets) into the formula. The sulphur dioxide can sterilize the wine blend so that any wild yeast cells in the mixture will be eliminated first. You can put in 1.5 tablets per gallon or up to 2 tablets per gallon.
  • The yeast can only be added 24 hours after the sulphur dioxide tablets have been added to your wine blend. You have to leave the wine blend by itself for at least 24 hours. Adding yeast before the 24 hours are will result in the sulphur dioxide killing the yeast.
  • Yeast can either be the dry wine yeast variety, or the liquid yeast type. Dry wine yeast seems preferable for the fruit wines. It is also less expensive than the liquid yeast. The liquid yeast variety may help you produce style-specific wines. Yeast is always last to be placed in your wine blend.
  • The next stage is the actual fermentation process where all the magic takes place. If you did your measurements of the ingredients mentioned right, you can now let the mixture alone in either an open style of fermentation, or in the closed style of fermentation. Some say the open style lets yeast get more oxygen to process the wine.
  • Remember that the temperature at which you store wine is also just as important as using the right amount of ingredients in the right manner. This means the wine blend has to stay warm all throughout the fermentation period. This factor can affect the end product to a great degree.
  • One simple method for open fermentation is to take a clean bucket, pour your wine blend into it, and then cover it with a grain bag or fruit bag that completely covers the top of your bucket. You can affix the bag to the bucket circumference by tying it there. Expect fermentation to last from five to seven days.

how to make wine fermentation2

  • If you use this bucket system, you will find that the yeast will cause solids to rise like cream to the top of the wine blend. You have to mix these solids back into the fermenting mixture up to twice a day, during the duration of primary fermentation.
  • After primary fermentation, you may use a slotted spoon or small sieve to scoop out any solids remaining floating on top. You will find that such solids are quite thick. Once all the solids have been skimmed off, you are ready to use a secondary fermenter for the secondary fermentation stage.
  • A funnel is very useful for pouring your fermenting wine blend into your secondary fermenter without spilling a drop. Your secondary fermenter must have an air-tight lock on its cap. You should now allow your wine to sit in the secondary fermenter for at least a month without being opened.
  • If you find a lot of solids are apparent in the bottom of your encased wine blend, then you need to rack it over within a week or two weeks. If not, then you can wait for it to clear before racking again. You might have to rack up to three times for best results.
  • You now need a gallon jug for the final racking of your wine – afterwards, you have to keep the jug sealed with an air-tight lock for around two more weeks, prior to capping it. (A gallon jug tends to be easier to handle when the wine has to be transferred to smaller bottles.)
  • You will need a funnel again, this time inserted into very sanitary bottles with equally sanitary caps. Pour the wine blend from your gallon jug into the funnel until you have enough per bottle. Cap the bottle tightly and set it aside for aging for a couple of months.
  • You might want to use screw-capped bottles for final storage of the wine because the caps tend to open more easily. These types of capped bottles are easy to use when you have to sample your new wine, especially for first attempts to check if you made good wine, after all.

Next we would recommend a you read Understanding Wine Yeast.

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