by Sage & Snow Garden Club newsletter
March 19, 2015
Have you ever thought about making wine? It is easier than you might think. Mostly, it takes a few pieces of inexpensive equipment, serious cleanliness, and a whole mess of patience. Here are a few tips about getting started.
I have been thinking about making wine. How do I begin?
Signed: Sauvignon Blanc
You should try to acquire a proven recipe for wine. Books are available. Or go online and type in wine recipes. It will tell you what ingredients are required.
I wondered if any fruit is suitable to make wine. And if so, what would you recommend?
Signed: Cabernet Sauvignon
Fresh or frozen fruits can be used. Fruits such as rhubarb, raspberries, chokecherries that are locally available can be used. They need to be picked when very ripe, then frozen to make the fruits break down easier when starting the fermenting process. Ripe fruits will make your wine much more pleasant with less acidic tones.
Where can we get grapes to make homemade wine?
There are many sites on the web that offer grape wine kits. Instructions and all ingredients come with it, making it a very easy batch of wine. Here are two sites that I use:
These sites are usually less expensive and a good place to start with if you are looking for grape kits and supplies to make wine.
What equipment do I need to have on hand to start my wine?
Signed: Pinot Noir
Dear Ms. Noir,
First you will need a recipe, ripe fruit, a stainless steel vessel or crock, a 5 or 6-gallon carboy (large glass container), and depending on kit size an airlock to be placed in the top when letting the fruit in the carboy finish fermenting and clarify. You will also need wine yeast, sulfur tablets, campden tablet or sodium metabisulphite, and potassium sorbate tablets if making wine from fresh and/or frozen fruit. Kits from grapes usually do not need these extra items. Other useful items include measuring cups, a long handled non-metallic spoon, and a clear hose to siphon juice from one carboy to another once it has fermented. This may need to be done 2-3 times before bottling if heavy fruits are used. And finally you will need corks, bottles, and a floor bottle corker to finish and seal your work.
If I should have success in making wine, how do I bottle?
Once your wine has aged and clarified, which takes approximately 6 months, you will need to rack or exchange the wine one last time into a sterilized carboy. It is important to keep air from getting to it for any length of time. After racking the last time, you are ready to bottle. You will need to sterilize 25 to 31 clean wine bottles with a sterilant mix of which can be purchased from food supply sites and swish about 1/8 cup into each bottle and dispose of the liquid. You should also sterilize any clear tubes, containers that are used to move the wine to the bottles. Using a clear 3/8-inch hose approximately 6 feet long, siphon your wine into the sterile bottles, being sure to keep the sediment from going in. I would highly suggest taste testing throughout the process, so that you are not bottling bad tasting wine.