Grape wine is made by inspecting the grapes, sanitizing the equipment, adjusting the juice, monitoring the sugar level, racking the wine and bottling the batch when it is ready. Those who wish to make their own grape wine will need equipment such as a nylon straining bag, cheesecloth, fermentation lock, acid titration kit, thermometer and hydrometer. These items can be purchased at local homebrewing supply stores.
Use the following steps provided by WineMaker magazine to make grape wine at home:
- Inspect the grapes
- Sanitize all equipment
- Adjust the grape juice
- Rack the wine
- Bottle the wine
Inspect the grapes to ensure that they are ripe and are slightly tart and sweet. This is done by straining the juice of a few and measuring the sugar level with the hydrometer. The density of the sugar should be about 22 degrees Brix - the equivalent of 11 percent alcohol.
Sanitize all wine-making equipment by boiling and washing in hot water. Rinse equipment in a sulfite solution, if possible.
Adjust the juice as it ferments by measuring acid content with a titration kit. The acidity level should match the type of wine being made. For example, dry red wines should have an acid level of 6 to 7 grams per liter. Measure the sugar level to ensure it remains at 22 Brix. Add a sugar syrup to increase the level, if necessary. The temperature should also be monitored to keep it at 70 F.
Transfer the fermenting wine away from any sediment by siphoning it into another jug.
One the wine is finished fermenting, siphon it into a bottle and insert a cork.