05Wine is an extremely versatile drink and you may have already noticed how many varieties there are. The wine can be enjoyed before or after a meal and, depending on the type of wine, can be combined with any dish to enhance the flavor. In fact, while cheese and wine combinations are the most common, it might surprise you to learn that chocolate can also be combined with certain types of wine!
When you learn to make wine at home, it is important that you understand your diet and your food preferences before choosing the type of wine you would like to make. Even if your first batch of wine does not turn out as perfect as you expect, remember that you can always use this wine in your kitchen. The wine is ideal for making sauces and marinating meat.
Different types of wine
Homemade wine is not only more natural, but it can also be a really fun and interesting process. Before buying any equipment or supplies, it is important to have a basic understanding (at least) of how different flavors of wine are achieved. Different types of wine are made with different types of grapes. This is quite obvious, but what you may not know is that the same grape can have a very different flavor if it is grown in different places.
For example, a Riesling from Germany will have a slightly sweet but acid appeal to them, while a California Riesling is often sweeter and lacking in acidity. It is important to understand that there are several factors that influence the flavor of the grape, and this will determine the taste of the wine. Such factors include soil conditions and climate. Some grapes grow very well in colder climates, while others prefer more moderate temperatures throughout the year.
When choosing the type of grape you want to use, and do not grow it yourself, you should make sure to check the country of origin. If you plan to grow your own grapes, you will need additional equipment to monitor soil conditions and you will also need proper irrigation.
When you buy wine at your favorite bottle store or cooperative, you can rely on the label a lot. The established winemakers have years of experience and all the necessary equipment. Homemade wine can be a bit more complicated when you make your first attempt, and there are some potential problems you should consider.
First, you must thoroughly inspect the grapes for damage, deterioration and any errors. If you do not, bad grapes could ruin your entire lot. Climate can also play a devastating role in the process. If there is a sudden drop in temperature, the fermentation could stop and, if it gets too hot, it could also have a negative effect on the final result. It is also important to remember that, as with any natural product, when making your own batch of wine, you should consider its shelf life.
If you wish, you can add preservatives to the wine, or leave it as is, store it in a cool place and make sure it is consumed before it turns into vinegar. Once again, climate and temperatures play a very important role in the storage life of your wine. As for taste problems, it is good to know that you can make corrections if your wine is too dry, too sweet or has other property flaws.
Benefits of home wine
It is quite common to know that wine contains a number of beneficial properties. Now, whether you buy it in the store or do it yourself, you will still enjoy those antioxidants and other benefits. If you make your own lot, however, there are several additional advantages. First of all, it is really profitable. Do not compare the cost of making your own bottle with the cheapest one you can find in the city. Instead, consider the fact that you are producing wine of superior quality and, therefore, have a higher value.
Also, if you make your own wine, you can reuse your wine bottles instead of simply throwing or recycling them. This is the greenest option of all! You can even use your experience to teach your friends and organize a regular social event if you wish.
Or, if you want to enjoy a higher return on your investment, you can teach basic winemaking classes once you have mastered several techniques. You can also be sure of exactly what is happening in each bottle. If you struggle to trust different winemakers, for whatever reason, this is a DIY approach to your peace of mind.
Common mistakes to avoid
One of the biggest mistakes that newcomers make is that they try to accelerate the process. Think of any other alcoholic beverage (whiskey, brandy, beer, vodka, etc.) and consider how each of them requires the right amount of time to achieve the best flavor. The same goes for wine. If you hurry things, you will notice that the wine will be gaseous or carbonated. This can be remedied by removing, transferring or using a vacuum pump, but this involves unnecessary effort.
Light-colored wines are also common if they become excessively clear. To solve this problem, you can combine the wine with a darker one to match the color. Red wines can benefit by adding grape skin powder to enhance color. Remember, the color will become deeper on its own, over time.
However, it is never a good idea to leave the wine too long before enjoying it. The longer you wait, the greater the chance that you will lose your most delicate and attractive properties. Some make the mistake of buying equipment that is too small and does not allow enough air movement during the process, while others do not keep their equipment immaculate. While it may be tempting to mix the yeast with the must, this is a big mistake that should be avoided because it can cause the yeast to suffocate as a result.
Winemaking process and equipment.
Before starting to descend in this fruit adventure, it is important that you are fully prepared in terms of equipment and understanding. By learning about the process and the time required, you will be less likely to rush or commit any of the common mistakes mentioned above.
What will you need?
The equipment you will need will usually be a one-time investment. Many first time users choose to buy a kit with all the needs already included and, if something wears or breaks, each individual item can be purchased separately.
There are a number of excellent kits available, and your choice will depend on your budget, as well as the amount of wine you want to produce.
- This Master Vintner kit is ideal for beginners and includes everything you need, from bottles and tubes to a cork stopper and plugs!
- If you are more concerned with the actual ingredients and do not mind buying additional parts of your kit separately, then this 1 gallon fruit wine kit might be just what you are looking for. It includes most of the basic essentials, as well as all the various additives you will need to create the best quality wine you can.
- Alternatively, if you are looking for a kit that allows a larger scale production, then something like this last wine making kit is an excellent option.
- The only thing you might notice is that it is missing in this kit, however, it is a plug. Do not worry, however, because they are easy to purchase and can be purchased separately. This set of 2 is very reasonably priced and, no matter which kit you choose, buying a pair of these will not break the bank.
- Corkers are also not always included in certain sets, but this might not be so bad. There are a number of different employees in the market and some work better than others. For example, this plastic cap is highly effective as long as you soak your corks at night. It’s a useful trick to keep in mind, but it’s not something everyone has time for.
- Other corker models are less compact, more complex and are often praised for being very easy to use. This plunger-type plug uses a double-lever design to make tamping simple and fast, no matter how much experience you have.
Inspect the fruit
As mentioned briefly above, it is important to check your fruit before you start. While most wines are made with grapes, you may also enjoy adding other types of fruit. Everything depends on the taste you are trying to achieve and your taste preferences. The fruit you use must be ripe. You can taste the fruit by squeezing part of the juice and measuring the sugar levels with the help of a hydrometer.
With a Brix sugar density of 22 °, you can expect to reach 11% of potential alcohol. When the fruit is tasted, it should have the right texture, it should be sweet and it should also have a slightly acid taste. Any fruit that looks even slightly decomposed or damaged should be discarded. Check for insects and dirt while removing all the stems as well. Stems can make your wine bitter, so you should remove them.
Time to clean
Whether your equipment is new or you have used it before, you should always clean and sterilize it before each use. Even if you clean everything after making a batch, you must clean everything again before making the next batch. The dust has a way of sneaking in all kinds of spaces and spaces. You do not want anything to contaminate your wine. Boiling water is a great sterilizer, and a strong sulfite solution can be used to rinse equipment that comes in direct contact with the wine.
Press the fruit
You will have to choose the right type of fruit press for your needs. The different types work in different ways, and you must also select the correct size. It is good to remember that red wines are fermented before pressing, while white wines are produced by pressing first and then allowing the must to ferment. If you plan to make smaller amounts of wine, then you will not need a big press.
This 3-liter stainless steel press is an excellent compact option and is also very easy to clean and disinfect.
Adjustment of the flavor of the juice.
This is one of the most important steps of all. Once the juice is extracted from the fruit, the remaining liquid is known as must. You will need to start by measuring the levels of acidity in the must. Ideally, you are looking for a level of 6 or 7 grams per liter to produce a dry red or 6.5 to 7.5 grams per liter for dry white wines.
If the must is only 5.5 grams, add 1 gram of tartaric acid per liter. This will raise the acidity level to 6.5 grams. After each addition of tartaric acid, you should check the acidity levels again.
Sugar levels should also be monitored with the help of a hydrometer. The red wines and wines must have approximately 22 ° Brix. If sugar levels are too low, you can increase them by making sugar syrup. Dissolve a cup of sugar in a third of a cup of water. Let this mixture boil in a saucepan before removing it from the heat. Allow the mixture to cool before adding it to the wort. Just add one tablespoon at a time and check the sugar levels after each sugar addition.
Remember, the sugar level will determine the level of alcohol. So you do not want it to be too high or too low. If you find that the sugar level in the must is too high, you will need to add water to decrease the sugar content.
Temperature is another important factor to monitor and may need adjustments from time to time. The yeast that you add to the must will only be activated under the right conditions. This means that the wort can not be too cold or too hot, or the process will not work. If the must is too cold, you can heat it, but you must do it very gently. You should never cook or boil the must.
White wines are generally fermented at a lower temperature, while 70 ° F is the standard temperature for red wines. In some cases, the reds ferment at temperatures of up to 80 or 90 ° F. You can heat the wort by wrapping an electric blanket around the bucket. If you need to cool the must, you can use ice packs around the bucket, but remember that you should always be aware of temperatures. You can release the yeast when your red wine reaches 70 ° to 75 ° F or when your white wine reaches 55 ° to 65 °.
The term “racking” does not refer to the storage of wine in a wine rack. In fact, it describes the process of fermented wine transfer from the initial support to a clear one. This is done in such a way that the wine is removed and the sediments are left behind, and you will get a clearer end result. To do this, insert a clear plastic hose (approximately half an inch in diameter) into the fermentation wine and place the other end in a disinfected jar. Remove the wine in the clean jar, cover it and use a fermentation plug and stopper to complete the process.
Remember, this step takes time and you really do not want to hurry! If you do, you could end up with too much sediment in your wine, and this is never pleasant. The siphon method is used specifically so that the upper layer of fermented wine can move smoothly without disturbing the lower layer of sediment. Adding sulfites really depends on you.
If you do not add preservatives to wine, it usually will not last more than a month before it starts to lose its flavor and attractive properties. You should also control the fermentation of the wine to make sure to stop the process once the sugar has been converted to alcohol.
This may seem like a complicated step, but it is really the easiest of all. It may take some time, but dedicating time is what vinification is all about. You should make sure that your wine bottles are clean and sterilized. They should not be damaged or have any smell inside. You will have to take the wine from the jug in each bottle. Leave approximately 2 inches of room for air (in the neck of the bottle). Once each bottle is ready, it’s time to slide on the cork.
Remember, corks must also be sterilized because they come into direct contact with the wine. If this is the first time you insert a cork, you may want to practice first with some empty bottles, just to familiarize yourself with it. It may also be worth investigating while investigating the employee you plan to use. Do some online searches to find out what other customers have to say. Perhaps your setbacks can be useful learning curves to prevent you from making the same mistakes.
You should also take the time to consider the pros and cons of natural cork versus plastic alternatives. For many, the jury is still deliberating on this, so it is more a case of personal preference. That said, the type of cork you use will affect the type of cork you buy, so think hard and seriously about your final choices.
Adequate wine storage
After everything said and done, it’s time to bottle your batch and store it until you’re ready to sit back and enjoy.
Storage conditions are extremely important to maintain the quality and freshness of your wine. It is important to remember that glass bottles are better and that plastic should always be avoided. It is also essential that you inspect each bottle for damage and sterilize it perfectly before each use.
White wine is often stored in clear glass bottles, while red wines are stored in green bottles. Keep all your bottles out of direct sunlight and at a moderate temperature. If you are using traditional corks, you should store the wine on its side and turn gently from time to time. This will keep the cork moist, flexible and prevent it from breaking into small pieces when you open the bottle.
Monitor the humidity of the room, as this can also affect the cork. Store your wine in a way that is easy to understand. In other words, like supermarkets, you should make older bottles easier to access than newer ones (if you have more than one lot). You should also keep the different types of wine separate for easy access and do not forget to label them! I could even take notes on wine and food pairings for easy reference.
Swirl, savor and enjoy!
Once you have made your first bottles, it is time to combine them with the right food or snack. Remember that the flavors and aromas tend to accumulate inside the bottle, so you must allow the wine to aerate before enjoying. Do this by decanting the bottle and letting it sit for at least several minutes. The larger the bottle, the longer it will take to stand.
When testing the quality of your work, you should pour a small amount of wine into the appropriate glass, hold it in the light, stir to aerate, check for sediment, odors and tastes. Shake, smell and taste two or three times to determine the quality of the wine and let it roll over the entire palette.
DO IT YOURSELF