Homemade grape wine, grape harvesting, push-ups, sourdough cooking and fermentation.

The quality of homemade grapevine depends on the varieties of the processed grapes, the climate of the area and the time of harvest. Most grape varieties are suitable for making wine, but it is better to make homemade grape wine from wine varieties that have juicy flesh and a lot of sugar. 

Homemade grape wine, grape harvesting, push-ups, sourdough and fermentation.

Grapes are harvested upon reaching full maturity with an optimal balance of sugar content and acidity. In good sunny weather, the grapes are left on the vine longer, in rainy weather – this is dangerous due to the appearance of rot, thrush, which destroy the grapes, make it unsuitable for winemaking.

In the southern regions, for the preparation of ordinary light table wines, grapes should be harvested unripe, since at full maturity it contains a lot of sugar and gives too strong table wines. For the preparation of dessert wines, you can leave the ripened grapes on the vine until full or partial drying.

Harvested grapes are sorted, separating spoiled, rotten, moldy clusters and berries. The next step is to obtain grape juice, that is, crushing the berries in a crusher. In a crusher, grapes pass between two rotating cylindrical or conical rollers with a corrugated surface.

If you make white homemade grape wine, you need to separate the fermented juice from the brushes and peels. The brushes are separated on graters – wooden circles with holes made in them (slightly larger than berries), the circles are inserted into the slots at some distance from the top edge of the barrel. Bunches of grapes are superimposed on the circles and rubbed with hands.

Homemade grape wine, grape harvesting, push-ups, sourdough cooking and fermentation.

The berries fall into the holes, and the brushes remain at the top. To do this, you can also use lattices, wooden or metal, through which the berries are rubbed with special brushes or scrapers.

The grape brushes contain a large number of astringents, which, when crushed and processed, easily turn into wort, and then into homemade grape wine and saturate with egotanine, giving it color and astringency. Both are undesirable for white wine, so the crushed mass of grapes is immediately placed under a press and all the liquid is squeezed out, and then pumped to a fermentation tank.

Grape pressing under the press.

To get even more fresh juice, whole grapes are placed under the press. In the manufacture of reddish, juice and pulp are fermented together, since the peel contains natural dyes, aromatic substances and tannin, which serves as a preservative.

Fermentation occurs at elevated temperatures to extract the maximum amount of dyes and aromatic substances from the skin. Sometimes it is necessary to stir the liquid or pump juice from the bottom over the pulp floating on top. After all the coloring substances from the skin of the berries go into the juice, it is poured into a new container, and the remaining mass is placed under the press to squeeze out the remaining liquid.

When making rosé wine, the wort must be separated from the peel at an earlier stage so that the wine has only a faint color cast. Further, everything happens the same as with white wine. The best part of the wort, the richest in sugar, is the juice that flows by gravity at the very beginning of loading the grapes into the press basket. After the gravity juice ceases to separate, the first pressing is carried out and a less sugary wort is obtained.

When the juice ceases to separate, the pulp is removed, transferred to another container, mixed and pressed again. For fermentation, gravity juice and juice of the first pressing are combined together. The juice of the second and third pressing is fermented separately, it contains little sugar and acids and is used to make wine of the second grade.

Wort sedimentation.

The resulting wort is a cloudy liquid in which particles of pulp and skin, mucous substances and all the dust on the surface of the berries float. To clean the wort of turbidity, it is defended for 1-3 days. To prevent fermentation from starting during settling, wort is poured into the side, which is filled with sulfur before filling, that is, sulfur wicks are burned in barrels, and then covered with a tongue to prevent sulfur dioxide from escaping.

Sulfur wicks can be prepared as follows: in a pot in the open air, melt sulfur, cut strips of paper 30 cm long and 3 cm wide and, holding at the ends, stretch through the molten sulfur. Then allow excess sulfur to drain and hang these wicks on a rope to dry. Sulfur gas generated during the combustion of wicks will not allow the wort to ferment.

During the wort sedimentation, all suspended particles will settle to the bottom of the barrel, and then the clarified wort can be removed from the sediment into barrels in which it will ferment. For fermentation, the settled clarified wort is poured into barrels, leaving 1/6 of the container empty. This is done so that during fermentation, the rising liquid does not spill out of the barrels.

Fermentation stage of making homemade grape wine..

Homemade grape wine should ripen from a few days to several years – depending on the taste that you want to get. First, there is a process of rapid fermentation, which begins a few hours after the fermentation tanks are filled with must and ends in 3-4 weeks. In the next stage, young homemade grape wine quietly wanders for several months. The last stage, the third, is post-fermentation, that is, basement fermentation, lasting up to 3 years.

Fermentation ends when all the sugar in the wine turns into alcohol, or when the alcohol content is high enough and the yeast died. In order for home-made grape wine to have a pleasant taste and not be cloudy, fermentation must occur in the presence of a certain type of microorganism. To do this, it is better to use a pure yeast culture used in industrial winemaking. Do not use beer and bread yeast. They degrade the taste of wine.

Making sourdough for artificial wort infection.

Fermentation for the artificial infection of the wort can be prepared independently. Preparing a sourdough of ripe berries, collected a week before the main grape harvest. Berries are harvested in dry weather, they are not washed so as not to wash off the yeast bacteria, then they are separated from the hands, crushed and squeezed juice. Squeezed juice is poured into a 1/2 volume bottle.

The fermented container is closed with a cotton plug, cleaned in a dark room with a constant temperature of 20-24 degrees and incubated for 2-3 days. At this point, fermentation will begin. As a sourdough, this juice is consumed on the sixth day during rapid fermentation..

If you can’t prepare the leaven, you can use raisins. Pour a handful of raisins with 2 cups of warm (30 degrees) boiled water, adding 40 g of sugar. With fermented sourdough, they do the same as with sourdough from fresh berries. Fermentation usually begins after 6-12 hours. You can store the leaven no more than 8-10 days. In the future, if homemade grape wine is made from late-harvest berries, instead of souring, you can use the sediment formed at the bottom of the tank during wine fermentation.

The amount of sourdough is prepared depending on the amount of wort prepared for fermentation. For the production of table wines per 1 liter of wort, 100-200 ml of yeast are needed, for dessert – 200-300 ml.

Storage of containers with must during fermentation.

Containers with must are put in a dark room, where during the entire period of fermentation a constant air temperature should be maintained – 18-20 degrees. With a decrease in temperature, fermentation can weaken, the yeast will settle to the bottom. A significant increase in temperature causes very rapid fermentation.

During fermentation, you must carefully observe the wort. During violent fermentation, ejection of liquid from the barrel may occur. Since the spilled foam easily soups, its traces on the barrel and on the floor must be washed off so that it does not get into the homemade grape wine and does not cause vinegar souring. When rapid fermentation begins to weaken, the container is gradually added with the same wine so as not to leave a large empty space. This is done in order to limit air access to wine..

While homemade grape wine is wandering, its surface is covered with released carbon dioxide, but with the weakening of fermentation on the surface of the wine with a large air supply, wine mold quickly develops. When fermentation stops, homemade grape wine should fill the barrel as much as possible. In order to allow carbon dioxide to escape from the filled container at the end of fermentation and at the same time to prevent air from entering it, the barrel is closed with a fermentation dowel.

It consists of a cork and a tube inserted into it, on which a rubber hose is worn. The lower end of the hose is placed in a container of water, which ensures the tightness of the wort and protects it from the penetration of oxygen and harmful organisms.

The end of fermentation of homemade grape wine.

The end of fermentation is determined by the gradual clarification of the wine, and at the same time a heavy sediment from dead yeast appears at the bottom. After clarification, the wort is removed from the yeast sediment. Prolonged contact with dead yeast leads to an unpleasant aftertaste caused by the decomposition products of yeast, so you should not leave homemade grape wine on this sediment for longer than 2-3 weeks.

The best way to remove wine from sediment is through a rubber hose. One end of the hose is lowered into a barrel of wine so as not to disturb the sediment, and through the other they forcefully draw in air and quickly lower it into the prepared clean capacity. The capacity into which homemade grape wine will be poured should be below the barrel with fermented wort. When transfusion, it is imperative to ensure that the sediment does not get into pure wine..

Based on materials from the book Making wine, moonshine, liquors and tinctures. Preparation technology, equipment, formulation, storage and use.
Team of Authors.

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