Making Grape Wine
Demo: Wine-Making Process
To ferment wine in a one gallon jug:
Lightly crush 8 cups of grapes to equal about 6 cups volume of grapes and juice.
Place in a glass, one-gallon container.
Add 4 cups of white sugar (the best you can find).
Add in enough pure water to about 3 to 4 inches below the top of the jar.
Stir to combine all. Cover with lid, tightly.
For the next thirty days, allow to sit at room temperature and stir 2 times/day.
After 30 days, strain out grapes and discard. Place the new wine in a clean glass container for at least 30 more days to allow for sediment to settle at bottom of jar.
Show ‘n Tell: Fermentation Stages
Here are three gallon jars to demonstrate wine at three different stages.
The first shows wine newly combined. You can tell by the settling of sugar at the bottom due to the lack of fermentation at this stage.
The second jar shows wine one week into fermentation. You can see the increase of volume in the jar, and the lack of sugar at the bottom.
The third jar is wine AFTER grapes were strained off, and allowed to sit (undisturbed, at room temperature) for 9 months. It’s ideal to allow wine at this point to sit for at least 30 days, but the longer you apply time at this point, the more that grape flavor is developed.
When you allow this 30 day (or more) settling period, it is best to fill your container nearly full, and to cap tightly. This keeps air/oxygen to a minimum to protect the wonderful flavor of the wine.
Now it’s time to siphon the wine off the sediment into clean glass containers for storage and/or serving.
My tools are simple and few: a three-foot length of 1/4″ plastic, clear tubing; a 2-inch wide office binder clip; and a household flashlight.
Place the tube into the wine container well above the sediment line. Use a binder clip to keep tube in place at top of jar. Set the vessel to be siphoned into at a lower level than your wine jar.
Now, suck the wine into the tube and out the open end, and quickly place the end in your new vessel. The siphoning action will continue on its own.
Keep an eye on the wine level, the sediment level, and the filling of your new vessel. A flashlight can help you with this.
When your new vessel is as full as you desire, lift the tube end out of it and hold it above the level of your wine jar. This will stop the siphoning action.
Feel free to siphon as much of the wine as possible, but it’s crucial that you avoid siphoning any of the sediment into your new vessel. It will detract from the clarity and flavor of the final wine product.
It may take a little practice for this part of the production to go smoothly, but we hope you’ll enjoy it nonetheless. After all, the intense grape aroma is amazing!
Bottles, Coolers, and Important Tips
Have fun choosing the best bottles you can find, and siphon your wine in them. A tight capping will ensure the flavor and purity of the wine for many, many months.
TIP: During the fermentation and daily stirring process, keeping your glass jars in a plastic cooler (with a lid) can contain any possible mess from leakage and allow you to place the bottles in a ‘reminder’ location for your everyday attention. Sometimes it’s the littlest tricks that can ensure your success…and fun…on the journey!