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05 How Is Wine Made?




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This article is from the WineMaking FAQ, by malak@CAM.ORG (Don Buchan) with numerous contributions by others.

05 How Is Wine Made?

First, for those who are expecting a quick answer on how to make wine
easily:

{how do you make red wine?}

That is a loaded question, but here are the basics which you *can*
follow to make wine.

Real easy way:

First, go to a homebrew shop and have the salesperson sell you a kit and
all the equipment. If they try to sell you anything for any more than
USD $120 then they're either ripping you off or trying to sell you too
much. Ask for a red kit. Follow the instructions in the box. The basic
equipment should cost up to USD $50 and the kit up to USD $70 (probably
a very high end kit and you should probably be looking at a kit that is
a little less expensive, in the USD $60 max range.)

Easy way:

Go to the market and find some fresh juice and add some yeast. Follow
instructions as below.

Involved way:

- Buy some red wine grapes.
- Rent a grape crusher from said homebrew shop, crush said grapes and
collect the juice in the bucket purchased from said homebrew shop.
- Add yeast.
- Using the hydrometer purchased from the shop, transfer to a carboy
when the reading is 1.010.
- When the reading is at about 0.992, wait two weeks.
- Add a clearing agent (homebrew shop)
- After three weeks rack the wine to a clean carboy.
- Either let sit in the carboy or go on to filter if desired and bottle.

A little more involved is as follows:

Wine is the product of fermenting fruit juice, usually grapes.
Generally, it has an alcoholic content of 7% to 14%. Further, this
alcoholic content is only derived by fermentation, ie. no distillation,
nor as a general rule are distilled products added to fortify the wine.

The process of fermenting is basically feeding sugars and nutrients to
yeast, which then produce carbon dioxide and alcohol. This process goes
on until either all the sugar is gone or the yeast can no longer
tolerate the alcoholic content of the wine. Different yeasts produce
different results, and have different tolerance levels.

- The fruit is crushed to give free-running juice; red wines are
usually fermented with the skins to maximize colour and tannin
extraction.

- The must is sanitized, usually with sulphite, and is innoculated with
a domesticated yeast; occasionally, the must is allowed to ferment from
the wild yeasts found on grapeskins, though this method can be
unreliable, may allow for the growth of undesireable bacteria and/or
may produce off flavours and/or odours.

- The wine is racked part way through the process to a closed vessel to
complete fermentation. This is done to avoid contamination and
oxidation that would be possible during the slow fermentation of this
period (and therefore low production of a CO2 blanket over the wine to
protect it from such).

- The wine may or may not be stabilized to prevent further fermentation
and contamination. High alcoholic content and a low pH may help in
deciding whether or not to stabilize as these usually present an
environment noxious to many microorganisms; another consideration may
be an allergy to sulphite.

- The wine is allowed to clear either naturally or with the aid of
fining agents, and may be further racked off the lees to avoid foul
smells and tastes developing from the lees when they begin to decompose.

- The wine may be bulk aged before or after filtering and before
bottling.

 

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