So you want to ferment your own wine at home? Excellent choice! Home-fermented wine is not only delicious, but it’s also a great way to save money. Don’t worry, fermenting wine can be easy even for beginners.
Generally, we have discussed a fermentation guide for beginners in our previous post, so in this article, we’ll walk you through the basics of fermenting wine at home.
We’ll start with a quick overview of the wine-making process.
Then, we’ll discuss the different equipment you’ll need to get started.
Finally, we’ll give you a few tips for fermenting your wine successfully.
So without further ado, let’s get started!
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The Basic Process of Fermenting Wine
Wine is made from fermented grapes, and the process of making wine can be divided into three main steps:
- Juice extraction,
- fermenting the juice,
- and aging the wine.
First Process of Fermenting Wine – Juice Extraction
The first step in making wine is to crush the grapes and extract the juice.
- You can do this manually using a grape crusher, or you can use a machine called a wine press.
- If you’re fermenting white wine, you can also juice the grapes using a centrifugal juicer.
- Once the juice has been extracted, remove any stems or skins that remain. You can use a fine strainer to remove any remaining solids from the juice.
- Place the juice in a fermentation vessel
The juice should be a light straw color, and it should have a sweet grape flavor.
Let’s take a look at the two fermenting wine – juice extracting machines below.
Second Process of Fermenting Wine – Juice Fermentation
After you’ve extracted the juice from the grapes, it’s time to ferment it.
This step is where the wine starts. This is done by adding yeast to the juice and letting it ferment for a few weeks.
- For dry wine: 2-3 grams of yeast per liter of juice
- For sweet wine: 6-9 grams of yeast per liter of juice
You can use[type of yeast]:
During fermentation, the yeast will eat the sugar in the juice and produce alcohol.
This can be done either in a fermenting bucket or in a carboy.
If you’re using a fermenting bucket, be sure to use a food-grade bucket, and if you’re using a carboy, be sure to use a glass carboy.
How many weeks to ferment the juice?
This depends on the type of wine you’re fermenting.
- For a dry white wine, fermentation will take about two weeks.
- For a sweet red wine, fermentation will take about four weeks.
Final Process of Fermenting Wine – Aging the Wine
After fermenting, the wine needs to be aged for a few months or years. This can be done in either bottles or oak casks.
After bottling the wine, it needs to age for at least six months.
During this time, the wine will continue to ferment and will slowly become drier.
Oak Cask Aging
If you want to age your wine in oak casks, it needs to be transferred to oak barrels after fermentation is complete. And you can age it for at least a year, but preferably for two to three years.
Now that you have a basic understanding of the wine-making process, let’s discuss the equipment you’ll need to get started.
What Equipment You’ll Need in Fermenting Wine?
Now that we’ve gone over the basics of the wine-making process, let’s take a look at some of the equipment you’ll need to get started fermenting your own wine.
1. Fermenting Wine Bucket
A fermenting bucket is a food-grade container that’s used for fermenting wine. It can be made from plastic, stainless steel, or glass, and it should have a lid that fits tightly.
An airlock is a device that’s used to release carbon dioxide from the fermenting wine without letting in any oxygen. It can be made from plastic or glass, and it should fit snugly into the fermentation bucket or carboy.
3. Fermenting Carboy
A fermenting carboy is a glass container that’s used for fermenting wine.
It can be either round or square, and it should have a lid that fits tightly.
If you’re going to crush the grapes by hand, you’ll need a grape crusher. If you’re using a grape crusher, be sure to select one that’s the right size for your batch of wine.
5. Wine fermenter
A wine fermenter is a container that’s used for aging wine. It can be made from plastic, stainless steel, or glass, and it should have a lid that fits tightly.
6. Wine bottles
You’ll need some wine bottles to store your fermented wine in. You can buy wine bottles online or at a local grocery store.
To cork your wine bottles, you’ll need some corks. You can buy corks online or at a local craft store.
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A refractometer is an instrument that’s used to measure the sugar content of fermenting wine. It can be helpful in determining when fermentation is complete.
9. Wine-Making Hydrometer
A hydrometer is an instrument that’s used to measure the alcohol content of fermenting wine. It can be helpful in determining when fermentation is complete.
10. Wine-Making Funnel
A wine funnel is a funnel that’s specifically designed for use with wine bottles. It has a wide mouth and a small spout, which makes it easy to pour wine into and out of bottles.
Tips for Fermenting Wine Successfully
Now that you know the basics of fermenting wine, here are a few tips to help you ferment your wine successfully:
Use quality grapes in fermenting wine
One of the keys to making good wine is using quality grapes. Be sure to select grapes that are ripe and sweet.
Sanitize your equipment
It’s important to sanitize your equipment before use to prevent bacteria from contaminating your wine. You can do this by using a sanitizing solution or by boiling your equipment in the water.
Keep your fermenting area clean
It’s important to keep your fermenting area clean and free of bacteria. This can be done by sanitizing your fermenting area regularly.
Use fermenting wine yeast starter
If you’re using dried yeast, it’s a good idea to use a yeast starter to help get your fermentation process started. You can make a yeast starter by mixing some sugar and warm water with the yeast packet.
Use a fermenting wine bucket or carboy
It’s important to use a fermenting bucket or carboy that’s large enough to hold your batch of wine. This will help ensure that your wine ferments properly.
Monitor the fermentation process
It’s important to monitor the fermentation process and make sure that it’s proceeding smoothly. You can do this by checking the sugar level of your wine and by tasting it regularly.
Check the sugar level of your grapes
The sugar level of your grapes will affect the alcohol content of your wine. Be sure to check the sugar level of your grapes before fermenting them.
21 Brix or above: High alcohol wine
18-21 Brix: Medium alcohol wine
Below 18 Brix: Low alcohol wine
Tip: If you want to adjust the sugar level of your grapes, you can do so by using a sugar syrup. Be sure to use a refractometer to measure the sugar content of your wine after adding the syrup.
Check the alcohol content of your wine
The alcohol content of your wine will also affect its flavor. Be sure to monitor the alcohol content of your wine as it ferments.
12-14% alcohol: Table wine
15-16% alcohol: Sparkling wine
17-18% alcohol: Fortified wine
Above 18%: Wine is high in alcohol content.
Keep your fermenting wine at the correct temperature
The ideal temperature for fermenting wine is between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure to keep your fermenting wine in a place that’s warm enough to maintain this temperature.
Stir the wine regularly
Stirring the wine regularly will help ensure that the wine ferments evenly.
Bottle your wine when it’s ready
It’s important to bottle your wine when it’s ready to ensure that it tastes its best. Be sure to refer to the tips above to help you determine when your wine is ready to bottle.
When fermentation is complete, your wine will have reached its final alcohol content. Be sure to bottle your wine at this point so that it can age properly.
Don’t bottle your wine until it’s finished fermenting and has reached the desired alcohol content. The bottle is too early, and your wine may not taste very good.
How to bottle wine?
To bottle wine, you’ll need a wine bottle, cork, and corker. First, use a funnel to fill your wine bottles with wine. Next, use the corker to insert the corks into the wine bottles. Finally, use a bubble remover to remove any air bubbles from the wine bottles.
How to store bottled wine?
To store bottled wine, you’ll need to store it in a cool, dark place. The ideal temperature for storing wine is between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
To ensure that your wine ages correctly, be sure to store it in a place where it won’t be exposed to sunlight or extreme temperatures.
Fermenting wine at home can be a rewarding experience, and with the right tools, wine-making process, and tips, you can make great wine that you can enjoy with friends and family.
Have you tried fermenting your own wine?
What tips would you add to this guide? Let us know in the comments below.
If you are interested in fermenting vegetables, check out our post – 10 Best Home fermentation Kit And Equipment [Review 2022]