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Wine Making
In full honesty making Wine is as easy as falling off a log. Yes, you can ferment your own perfectly palatable Wine at home with no or at best with very little effort. Not only you can ferment Wine but also, you can experiment and tweak the wine making process to give your Wine desired texture and taste. What is more, home made Wine could be produced at the fraction of the cost of Wines sold in superstores. Well, here we go then!

Grapes An as easy as pie Wine recipe - Grapes contain all the essential ingredients for making Wine. Grapes literally convert themsevles into Wine. What you need to do is crush the grapes to separate seed, skin and the pulp from the berries. The outside of the grape skin already contains yeast which will initiate the fermentation proocess. Alternatively, if you don't want to take the trouble of crushing grape berries, you can use readily available grape juice concentrate (without preservatives) and add some yeast to it. Now, you need to mix some water and sugar syrup to your grape juice and leave it for fermenting in a warm place for a few days. Siphon your Wine off the sediment and enjoy!! It's that simple. Well, okay - if you are really serious about making your own Wine, read the next one.

A little formal Wine recipe- Even though they are not strictly necessary, we still add some additives for making Wine such as Wine yeast, yeast nutrient, pectic enzyme and citric acid. They all serve specific purposes which are described below.

Wine Yeast - There are two main reasons why we use yeast for making Wine. Firstly, it ensures that fermentation leads to Wine not vinegar and it also prevents mold formation. Secondly, Wine yeasts are engineered to ensure maximum alcohol content and flavor.

Yeast nutrient - It helps yeast to reproduce fast, hence leads to quicker fermentation.

Pectic enzyme - It facilitates juice extraction from pulp and in the clarification of the wine.

Citric acid - It aids in acid adjustment to taste in fruit Wines.

Campden tablet - Helps destroy wild molds and bacteria. Also, used with water to sterilize winemaking equipments.

Potassium Sorbate - Generally added before bottling to help eliminate the chances of re-fermentation while in the bottle. Also called as Wine stabilizer.

Take approx. 500 grams of sugar and put it in half a litre of boiling water. Leave the syrup to cool down. Add 3 litres of grape juice (without preservatives), cooled sugar syrup, 1 teaspoon of citric acid, one teaspoon of Wine yeast and one teaspoon of yeast nutrient to a 4.5 litre demijohn. Top-up the demijohn with cooled boiled water. Half fill the airlock with water and insert it into the bung to seal the demijohn. Keep it in a warm place (~21-24 Degree Celsius) and shake everyday for a week. For next 3-5 weeks, regularly check the specific gravity (sugar level) of the solution using a hydrometer. For a dry Wine the remaining sugar level should be 0.990 - 0.996, for a medium Wine 0.996 - 1.009 and for a sweet Wine it should be 1.009 - 1.018.

One you have achieved the desired sugar lever add two crushed Campden tablets and a little potassium sorbate. Now, leave the Demijohn for in a cool place (~15 Degree Celsius) for a week for Wine to clear. Some Wines may not clear on their own. If that's the case add one teaspoon of pectic enzyme. Once clarified, your Wine is ready to be siphoned off the sediment. Pass the siphoned Wine through a filter for a professionally refined Wine.

barrel If you wish you may consume your Wine at this stage. However, for a remarkable complexity and a smoothly rich flavour age the Wine in your cellar for another three-six months in oak barrels. Oak barrels will add vanilla, oak overtones, butter and spice flavours. Aging in oak barrels also adds some tannins to your Wine.

Finally, transfer the Wine to sterilised Wine bottles and fit the corks with corking tools. Leave it in the bottle for a few days before imbibing it.

Updated: Thursday, May 24, 2007, 09:50 PM

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