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How To: Homemade Wine

POSTED August 24, 2013

There is nothing more satisfying then uncorking your own, homemade bottle of wine. We give you a brief list of wines and their characteristics, followed by instructions on making your own.

Know Your Wines…

Each variety of grape creates a different flavor for your wine. From deep, full-bodied reds to soft and honeyed whites, every wine has its own personality and with it, a myriad of sensual characteristics. Pick the grapes that best suit the wine characteristics you’re looking for in your own vintage!

  • Amarone – ruby purple with a hint of fig and licorice.
  • Barbera – an intense red with a fruity, low-tannin taste: from cherry to plum with a touch of spice when aged.
  • Barolo – a deep red, complex and flowery with hints of licorice & oak.
  • Brunello – a deep and fruity red with chewy tannin.
  • Cabernet Sauvignon – rich, intense aroma of deep berry with a smooth, lingering finish.
  • Chianti – fresh and fruity in youth: a blend of Sangiovese and Nebbiolo grape.
  • Dolcetto – a soft red, fruity and sweet.
  • Frascati – a dry to semi-sweet: full-flavored and zingy.
  • Lambrusco – zesty with a fruity flavor, low in acid with a clean finish.
  • Malovese – medium, sweet wine.
  • Meritage – blend of cabernet to make a great table wine.
  • Merlot – soft and smooth with an intense fruit flavor.
  • Montepulciano – rounded and plumy with balanced acidity and tannins.
  • Nebbiolo –  a full-flavored wine with the an aroma of roses.
  • Pinot Grigio – a soft, perfumed white with hints of honey nut and spicy musk.
  • Rubesco – a ruby red, medium-bodied.
  • Sangiovese – a luscious, red cherry flavor with a hint of violets.
  • Soave Classico – full and clean with a nutty, fresh-fruit flavor.
  • Verdicchio – a medium-bodied white with a crisp balance: slightly bitter.
  • Vermentino – a full-bodied white with hints of citrus leaves and nuts; may be high in acidity.

Making Homemade Wine | A Step-by-Step “How To”

1. Place bucket for juice in a room at 65-70˚F in order to bring juice up to room temperature.

2. Remove lid from bucket and give the juice a gentle stir for a minute or two.

3. Dissolve 1/4 teaspoon of potassium metabisulfite into 1/4 cup of warm water. Add this to juice. Allow the juice to stand for at least four hours.

4. After four hours, rehydrate wine yeast packet following the instructions on packet. Let the yeast stand for 15 minutes. Add one cup of the juice from the pail to yeast mixture and stir well. Let stand for 10 more minutes. Do not use baker’s yeast for this.

5. Remove about a half-gallon of the juice from the pail using a small pan. This will prevent the bucket from overflowing during the primary fermentation. Place excess juice in a clean vessel.

6. Pour the mixture of yeast and juice into the bucket of juice. Do not stir the juice at this time. Allow the yeast to grow on the surface. Yeast cells will begin to consume the sugars of the juice and convert them to alcohol. Place the lid back on the bucket loosely.

7. Twice a day, gently stir the juice for a minute or two. A good fermentation is indicated by rapid bubbling or foaming in the bucket. After 36 hours, you may add the half-gallon of juice from step 5 back to the bucket of juice. Do this slowly.

8. After seven days, the fermentation will slow down noticeably. Using a clean piece of tubing, siphon the juice into a five-gallon glass carboy. Fill to within two inches from the top.

9. Place an air lock with a rubber bung in to the top of the carboy. Fill the air lock to the line on the side with peroxide. You may also use a solution of water and potassium metabisulfite.

10. The juice that remains in the bucket can be saved in a gallon jug. An air lock should be used here, or you can use a balloon stretched over the neck to keep air from the juice as this continues to ferment. You will need this juice when you “rack” a second time to top off the carboy. It is normal to see sediment in the bottom of the bucket. This should be discarded. Clean and sterilize the bucket for later use.

11. After three weeks you will again transfer the juice “rack” into another container you may use the original bucket here. Do not disturb the sediment in the bottom of the carboy. After you transfer the juice to the bucket clean the sediment from the bottom of the carboy. Use your sterilizing solution after you wash the carboy. Return the juice to the carboy and top off with excess juice. Replace the air lock.

12. In five or six weeks the fermentation will be complete. Remove air lock and add 1/4 teaspoon of potassium metabisulfite to juice. If you see more than 1/8 inch of sediment in the bottom of the carboy you may need to “rack “again. The more you rack the clearer your wine will be.

Note: Always clean everything that comes into contact with your juice and the wine. A good tool is a spray bottle with 1/4 teaspoon of potassium metabisulfite and water—an easy way to sanitize everything after washing.

Caution: Potassium metabisulfite is our friend; however, too much will have an effect on the wine. Always make precise measurements.