Like many things we love, wine was probably first discovered by happy accident. Many thousands of years ago, natural yeasts, blowing in the wind, would have settled upon a handful of squashed grapes, whose juice was pooling in the shaded bowl of a rock. After fermenting, some lucky passerby would have stooped down for a taste, and liked what he discovered.
In theory, making wine is as simple as that: Yeasts meet grape juice in an environment that allows fermentation. Of course, over the span of the millennia, the process of winemaking has been refined and the environment controlled, to the point of being both science and art.
What You Need
Making homemade wine is easier than you might think. Mostly, it takes a few pieces of inexpensive equipment, serious cleanliness, and a whole mess of patience.
- One 4-gallon food-grade-quality plastic bucket and lid to serve as the primary fermentation vat
- Three 1-gallon glass jugs to use as secondary fermentation containers
- A funnel that fits into the mouth of the glass bottles
- Three airlocks (fermentation traps)
- A rubber cork (or bung) to fit into the secondary fermentation container
- Large straining bag of nylon mesh
- About 6 feet of clear half-inch plastic tubing
- About 20 wine bottles (you'll need 5 bottles per gallon of wine)
- Number 9-size, pre-sanitized corks
- Hand corker (ask about renting these from the wine supply store)
- A Hydrometer to measure sugar levels
- Lots and lots of wine grapes
- Granulated sugar
- Filtered water
- Wine Yeast
To the above list you can refine the process by adding such things as Campden tablets to help prevent oxidation, yeast nutrients, enzymes, tannins, acids, and other fancy ingredients to better control your wine production.
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