Wines made from fruit other than grapes are frequently called country wines. To understand how to make country wine, it pays to first understand why most commercial wines are made from grapes.
Wine glass and wine bottleHome made wine is easy to make from fresh fruit if you follow a few simple steps! Naturally, we're here to help you along your way with this handy guide.
Equipment List for Homemade Fruit Wines
Glass jug with a screw cap - For sanitizing solution
Pitcher with graduated measurements for water
Two five-gallon food-grade buckets with lid or glass jugs (primary fermentors) - Plastic buckets need to have holes drilled in the lid to fit the bungs snugly.
Long handled plastic spoon
Siphon hose with a plastic tip for racking
Two five-gallon plastic or glass carboys (secondary fermentors)
Hydrometer set - Used to measure sugar content in the must
Floating thermometer - to ensure the right temperature for fermentation.
Two fermentation locks with bungs (rubber stoppers) to fit the two carboys
Two fermentation locks with bungs for the primary fermentors
Straining bags, filter pads
Fruit crusher or potato masher
Wine bottles with corks or caps and a wine capper
Now that you have got all your equipment and ingredients ready to go, the rest is pretty easy. It just takes a little time!
Add the fruit to your clean fermenting bucket/primary fermenter and give it a good mix and another good mashing (trying to get as much juice out of the pulp as you can). If you are aiming for a 5 gallon batch of wine, but only have 4 gallons of fruit and juice, you can go ahead and add water to get to the 5 gallon line on your fermenter. Give it a good mix.
Take a hydrometer reading to see how much sugar content is in your juice. Most fruit wines should read about 10-20 brix (or 1.040 - 1.080 specific gravity). More sugar typically equates to more alcohol, so if you want a 10% ABV wine, add enough sugar to hit 18 brix or 1.080 specific gravity.
Now add your sulphite to kill wild yeast or bacteria. You will want to add 1/4tsp per 6 gallons of must of pure sulphite, or 1 crushed campden tablet per gallon of must.
Cover the fermenter with a cloth, and allow the sulphite to work for 24 hours.
After 24 hours have passed, you will add the remaining ingredients according to the bottle's instructions. Add your acid blend to increase acidity (only if you want to), wine tannin powder (only if you want to), and then your pectic enzyme. Wait one hour, then add your yeast nutrient (volume needed according to the bottle) and your yeast (one packet will do 5-6 gallons). Give everything a good stir, then attach your lid and airlock. Fill the airlock to the line with water so that the CO2 made during fermentation can escape your bucket.
Every day for the next week, open the fermenter and using a clean and sanitized spoon, press down the fruit if it rises to the top, and gently stir the fermenting must. After 5-7 days, remove the fruit and give it a good squeeze to extract any remaining juice. Replace your lid and airlock and allow to sit for another 2-3 days.
After this time, clean and sanitize your carboy, siphon and hose, and gently transfer the wine from the primary bucket to the carboy--being careful to not disturb the thick sediment on the bottom of the primary fermenter. Attach the bung and airlock, and allow the wine to sit in the carboy for about two weeks.
At this time, it will be time to move the wine again, as there will have been more sediment that dropped out. Clean and sanitize all buckets, carboys, and siphon equipment you will need and get it transferred. If you have another carboy, just siphon to the other carboy. If you don't, you can siphon it back into the bucket, then clean and sanitize your carboy, then siphon it back into the carboy again. You want to use a carboy for all this because you want to minimize the oxygen space in the vessel--excess oxygen will oxidize your wine!
At this second racking, you will add another addition of sulphite (campden or pure sulphite) appropriate to your batch size, as well as an addition of potassium sorbate (follow the instructions on the bottle to determine how much you need to use). Gently blend this into the wine, then attach the bung and airlock and allow it to sit now for several months.
After several months, we recommend siphoning it again to get it off any sediment that may have accumulated during the first couple months. Be sure to clean and sanitize any equipment that is going to touch your wine. It is at this point you would add any clarifiers or fining agents if the wine is still murky or cloudy. Lots of folks also add another small addition of sulphite to help ensure oxidation does not occur.
Most fruit wines will be ready to bottle in about 6 months, but you can let it sit in your carboy for as long as you like, as long as there is water in the airlock. We recommend letting wines sit in the carboy for 6-9 months, then sweetening (if needed) and then bottling.
Now the hard part... Giving it a try! Pop open a bottle and enjoy the FRUITS of your labor! Ha-ha!
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