what is wine...

Wine is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented grape juice. However any fruits, flowers or grains can be used to make wine; but not all can be brewed into a good wine.

How to make wine

The main ingredients needed for making wine are water, sugar (contained within the grapes) and yeast.

The Process

Stage 1: Crushing

First remove all the stems from the grapes. Then crush them to release all the juices.

Stage 2: Pressing

The juice is then separated from the grape skins and pips by using a presser. Care must be taken to avoid crushing the pips as they may cause your wine to acquire a bitter taste.

The pressed juice is known as ‘must’. If you wish to produce red wine then it is essential the red grape skin remain with the must during fermentation so its pigments can be extracted.

Stage 3: Settling

The must is transferred to a settling vessel where any remaining sediments are given time to sink to the bottom of the vessel. There are enzymes available, which can be used to speed up this process.

This stage is not essential to making wine but by including it you will enhance the quality of your final product.

Stage 4: Fermentation

The clear must is transferred to a fermentation vessel along with some sugar (optional) and the desired yeast.

The sugar contained in the must will react with the yeast during fermentation to produce alcohol and carbon dioxide gas.

glucose  +  yeast -> alcohol + carbon dioxide

The reaction takes between 3-5 days to complete and operates at temperatures between 20°C-28°C.

Stage 5: Racking

The wine is siphoned off into a barrel leaving behind the sediments known as ‘lees’. Secondary malolactic fermentation may follow at this stage, reducing the sharp tasting malolactic acid to that of milder lactic acid.

Stage 6: Clearing

The wine is now left at a low temperature (around 16°C) to clear. Given time the wine will reduce its cloudy appearance. Filtering it or using a fining agent can speed up the process.

Stage 7: Bottling

Siphon the wine into bottles and seal them with either plastic or cork corks. Store the bottles laying flat at a low temperature (around 13°C) where they will continue to mature.

Red wine takes longer to mature than white wine. Nonetheless the longer you can resist the temptation to drink the wine the greater will be your reward when you come to drinking it!

How much sugar you add depends on how sweet you want your wine to taste and what type of fruit you use.