08 Apr Making Your Own Fruit Wine
Do you do a lot of gardening at home? Do you have an excess of fruit growing but running out of ideas for its use? Why not make fruit wine! Wine made from grapes involves crushing grapes and adding yeast to the juice. The yeast converts sugars in the juice into alcohol and carbon dioxide through fermentation. The reason why grapes are so well suited to this is that quality grapes contain all the things needed to make wine such as enough sugar to create a preservative level of alcohol when the wine ferments. They balance the sweetness with just enough acidity and they provide enough tannin to add a slight puckering mouthfeel. Most other fruits don’t have the correct ratios of sugar, tannin, and acid to make great wine. Adding the missing ingredients can of course be a solution, but using great fruit will also benefit your endeavor. Nothing can turn bad fruit into good wine so making sure you are using good fruit is step one.
You don’t need as much equipment as you might think to get started. A fermentation bucket can be as simple as a food-grade bucket of 5 to 7 gallons with an airtight lid. The lid is drilled and a rubber grommet is fitted so a fermentation lock or airlock can be inserted. If you have a bucket with a plastic spigot just make sure you have 3 to 4 feet of clear, plastic tubing to attach.
Secondary fermenters will hold the volume of wine you intend to produce. This can be something like a 1-gallon glass jug if you intend to make 1 gallon of wine. Your secondary fermenter should have a drilled rubber stopper and a fermentation lock.
Place the fruit in your wine in a large bag to facilitate removing the fruit solids after the initial fermentation. A large nylon steeping bag will do the trick.
An auto-siphon will allow you to start a siphon to transfer liquid from one container to another. You can also use a racking cane or want but you will have to start your own siphon with this option.
A hydrometer is for measuring the amount of sugar in your unfermented wine. This is important because it estimates the alcohol content. The more sugar, the more alcohol, generally. The hydrometer is a sealed glass cylinder that floats in a test cylinder. More sugar in a solution means the hydrometer rides higher in the liquid. The hydrometer has a scale inside to indicate how much sugar is present and will estimate the strength of alcohol in your finished wine.
If you’ve ever considered making your own wine, use this as a stepping stone to realizing you don’t need that much equipment to do so. You will need to determine what ingredients you’ll need to use and do research to ensure the ratios are correct, but hopefully, this shows just how little you really need to start working on your own fruit wines!
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