Until recently the time to make wine was when the fruit was ripe, the flowers in bloom or the vegetables at their best. The summer and autumn were hectic months and frequently facilities were strained to the utmost. Happily, the situation has now changed.
It is true that the fruit, flowers and vegetables still crop at the same times of year, but with so much dried, tinned and frozen fruit, fruit juice concentrates and jams available, we can now spread our winemaking evenly over the whole year. Winter wines are just as good as the summer wines. They are sound, clean, well-flavored, and may be enjoyed the following winter and its subsequent summer. It is always the right time to make wine, even if there is snow on the ground!
Frequently the winter evenings and weekends are when we have the most time to spare. Wine can be made every day in the year and there is nearly always some racking or bottling to do of young wines in bulk storage. In recent years the varieties of grape juice concentrate have increased and the quality improved enormously.
Excellent wine can now be made every day of the year from a can of concentrated grape juice. Some have fruit juices added to them and many are blended to produce wines of a particular type. Whether you fancy sweet or dry, red, white or rose, or something quite different, there is now a can to suit your palate.
How to Make Wine
Winemaking is simplicity itself. You have to take elementary precautions against spoilage by observing a few simple rules of hygiene. These will be fully discussed in their place, but sufficient here to note that all equipment must be kept clean and the wine must be kept covered in all its stages to keep out spoilage organisms such as the vinegar fly.
Winemaking divides itself naturally into three parts:
The basic ingredients are picked from their stalks, washed, stoned, cut up, crushed, boiled or whatever may be necessary. Water is added and usually 1 or 2 Campden tablets to each gallon (5 litres) to inhibit mould growth and prevent oxidation. In fruit wines a pectolytic enzyme is also added to assist in juice and flavor extraction and subsequent clarity in the finished wine. Acid and tannin are added to make up for their insufficiency in the base ingredients.
Recipes on cans of concentrates should be carefully followed step by step. Use only natural polythene, glass, stainless steel or ceramic containers. Avoid iron, brass, copper, galvanized iron, lead, glazed earthenware or chipped enamel vessels. The acids in the must react with the metal to form salts that can be poisonous.
After adding a Campden tablet always allow 24 hours to pass before adding the nutrient and yeast. The fruit pulp and liquid prior to fermentation is called must and should always be kept covered to keep it clean and free from spoilage bacteria. A sheet of polythene film spread over the top of your vessel and secured with a rubber band or tied down with a piece of string makes an 24 excellent cover.
Leave the vessel in a warm place for 24 hours for the Campden tablet and pectolytic enzyme to become effective.
Next day the sugar, nutrient and an activated yeast are added. The vessel is re-covered and left in the warm. The yeast causes the sugar to split into almost equal parts by weight of alcohol and an invisible and odorless gas called carbon dioxide rises to the surface in bubbles and bursts with a hissing noise. Within a day or so a vigorous ferment will occur.
Fruit must be pressed down twice a day to keep it in the liquid and prevent it from drying out and becoming the home for spoilage organisms. If a wine from a concentrate is being made, the must should be placed in a fermentation jar fitted with an air-lock.
Some headroom should be left for any foaming that may occur. Fruit wines being fermented in the presence of the crushed fruit should be strained after 4 or 5 days fermentation. The must should then be transferred to a fermentation jar fitted with an air-lock and left in a temperature of 68’IF (20, C~.
The air-lock is essential not only to keep out dust and bacteria, but also to cut off the oxygen supply to the yeast. This inhibits further reproduction by the yeast and prevents the formation of a yeasty smell and taste due to an excess of yeast cells. Maintain a warm temperature around the jar until fermentation is complete or until you wish to stop it so that you finish with a sweet wine not too strong in alcohol. When fermentation stops of its own accord, no more bubbles of gas pass through the air-lock. It can be checked by using an hydrometer. For a dry wine the reading should be S.G. 0.996 or thereabouts.
Fermentation usually takes only a few weeks, but can last up to 6 months. When it is finished, move the jar to a cool place and leave for a few days for the sediment to settle and the wine to clear. Pour or preferably siphon the young wine off the sediment into a clean jar that has been sterilized by rinsing it with a sulphite solution.
Drain out the sulphite and immediately pour in the new wine. It is a good habit always to add a crushed Campden tablet to each jar of wine to stabilize the wine and protect it from infection. The process of siphoning the wine from the sediment is known as racking and should be carried out whenever a firm deposit is formed.
This removes the dead yeast cells before they decompose and taint the wine with an off flavor. Sometimes a wine will not clear naturally or quickly enough and then wine finings have to be added or the wine has to be filtered. It is best to rack a wine before attempting to filter it, since the sediment would quickly clog the filter. Wines that you wish to finish sweet could always be filtered after the first racking and the addition of 2 Campden tablets.
During maturation rough tastes will be smoothed and the wine will improve in bouquet and flavour. This period needs great patience. Home-made wine is so often drunk before it has matured properly.
Most of our wines – especially the reds – need at least six months’ storage in jar and a further six months in bottle. Very few wines made in the home taste as good in their first year as they do in their second and third years. But they are so well worth waiting for.
Yeast cells are used in wine production. But yeast may produce infections on the skin of men and women. You can cure h yeast infections with a good yeast infection natural home remedy, information about which you can find here. Obviously this is not the same yeast cell – Candida albicans – as is used in home winemaking – Saccharomyces ellipsoideus!