I think all Italians & Italian Americans alike have fond memories of their grandfather making his own wine. The sparkle in his eye as he presented it to others and his pride when he made a particularly good batch.
The art of winemaking seemed to have been disappearing, however, it is making quite a comeback! Recently both men and women have taken up this satisfying pastime as a hobby and for many as a way to go back to their roots.
There are few things as satisfying as drinking wine from grapes that you crushed yourself!
Are you interested in making your own wine? In this article we will give a basic and generic rundown of winemaking. This will help you get a feeling for the process and all that is involved.
Once you are ready to go you can find more detailed instructions. It is always a good idea to find instructions that are specific to the wine that you want to make.
The most important part of the process is:
CHOOSING THE RIGHT GRAPE
There is no end to the varieties of grapes to choose from, however, it doesn’t have to be that hard. The best way to start is by using the grape from you preferred wine to drink. You will probably be surprised by the variety of choices and grapes that are available online!
There are several websites that sell grapes from different parts of the world, so you can buy grapes directly from the region in Italy that you prefer!
If you want to go all out you can choose to buy the grapes themselves, or you can buy grape juice. If you decide to buy grape juice make sure you buy high juice that was harvested specifically to make wine.
If you want to try your hand at local grapes this to is an option, however, the quality of your wine will be greatly influenced by where the grapes grew. In NY where I currently live there are plenty of vineyards upstate, however, it is almost impossible to make a truly dry wine from most of them. Even the dry wines up here are sweet! So take the area into consideration when buying your wine.
EQUIPMENT: WHAT YOU WILL NEED
Here is a complete list of what you will need to get you started and finished:
- A large straining bag.
- A food grade bucket.
- An unbleached cheesecloth.
- A Brewer’s Hydrometer.
- A wine thermometer.
- An acid testing kit.
- Clear, half-inch, food-grade plastic tubing.
- At least two glass gallon jugs.
- Fermentation airlock and carboy bung.
- Wine bottles of your choice.
- Bottle corks.
- A bottle corker.
I found this link to a complete kit which contains everything you will need in one easy kit:
The list may look somewhat complicated, however, once you start looking into the process it really is quite simple. Most of the equipment can be found on Amazon or on specialized wine making sites. Again, the complete kit above simplifies getting started out.
The information below will help clarify what each item on the above list is for:
A BASIC GUIDE TO WINEMAKING
In this article we will give a basic and generic rundown of winemaking. This will help you get a feeling for the process and all that is involved.
Once you are ready to go you can find more detailed instructions. It isa always a good idea to find instructions that are specific to the wine that you want to make.
First Step: Inspect the Fruit
As we mentioned before the grapes you choose will have a huge impact on your wine. Not only the zone they come from, but also the condition they are in.
So start out by inspecting your grapes. They should be ripe but not rotten. Make sure they are clean and free of insects before starting. Don’t make the rookie mistake of leaving the stems on! That would give your wine a bitter taste.
Second Step: Crush the grapes
This is the fun part! of course if you choose to use your feet, don’t tell anyone! 😉
Third Step: Adjust the Juice
This may sound difficult, but it is an easy step in the process. The aforementioned titration kit will help you out with that. You will need to measure and adjust the tartaric acid. There is a special powder that you add according to the reading that you get.
The sugar level will also need to be adjusted. This is where the hydrometer comes in, with it you can measure the sugar level. Bringing the sugar level up is easy, just add sugar! To bring the level down you can simply dilute it with water or juice.
Fourth Step: Rack the Wine
To rack the wine simply means transferring the wine from the sediment. This is where you will use the food grade plastic tubes and glass gallon jugs. Once the wine is transferred you will top it off with the fermentation airlock and carboy bung.
Fifth Step: Bottle the Wine
This is a great part of the process, since it builds up the anticipation! It is quite simple, siphon the wine out of the gallon container and into the the wine bottles. You then use your bottle corker to seal the wine.
Sixth Step: Let it Mature
This is the easy part! Make sure the wine bottle is stored at an angle so that it can breath. If you have a basement they really do keep the temperature good for the wine to mature in.
Seventh Step: Open and Drink!
This is by far the best part!