Home winemaking shouldn’t be expensive, so it’s not necessary to splurge on special equipment.
Ingredients and equipment
You will need the following ingredients
- 16 cups fruit
- 2 cups honey
- 1 packet yeast
- Filtered water
You will need the following equipment:
- A 2 gallon (7.6 L) crock or glass jar (you can often find these at vintage or second hand stores, however, be advised that many used crocks may have been used for sauerkraut or pickles and could contaminate your wine.)
- A 1 gallon (3.8 L) carboy (a glass container with a small neck)
- An airlock
- A thin plastic tube to be used for siphoning
- Clean wine bottles with corks or screw caps
Pick out your fruit
Wine can be made with any type of fruit, though grapes and berries are the most popular choices. Choose fruit at the peak of its flavour. It’s best to choose organic fruit that hasn’t been treated with chemicals, since you don’t want these to end up in your wine.
Keep it clean
Winemaking demands a sanitary environment. Wash all of your equipment thoroughly with hot water, boiling what you can. It’s also wise to arm yourself with a strong sulfite solution to rinse any equipment that comes in contact with your wine. To make it, add 3 tablespoons of sulfite powder (potassium metabisulfite) to a gallon of water and mix well.
Crush the fruit
Using a clean potato masher or your hands, crush and squeeze the fruit to release its juices. Keep doing so until the level of the fruit juice is within 1 1⁄2 inches (3.8 cm) of the top of the crock. If you don’t have enough fruit and juice to fill the crock almost to the top, top it off with filtered water. Add a Campden tablet, which releases sulphur dioxide into the mixture, killing wild yeast and bacteria.
Stir in the honey
Honey provides food for the yeast and sweetens your wine. The amount of honey you use will directly affect the sweetness of your wine.
Cover and store overnight
It’s important to use a cover that will keep bugs out but allow air to flow in and escape the crock. Place the covered crock in a warm area with a temperature around 70 degrees overnight.
The day after you make the mixture, uncover it and stir it thoroughly, and recover. Do this every 4 hours or so the first day, then keep stirring a few times per day for the next 3 days.
Strain and siphon
When the bubbling slows down, about 3 days after it begins, it’s time to strain out the solids and siphon the liquid into your carboy for longer-term storage
Let the wine age
It’s better if you can let it age for up to nine, during which time the wine will age and mellow, resulting in a much improved taste. If you used extra honey in your wine, it’s better to age it on the longer side, or else it will taste too sweet when you drink it.
Bottle the wine
Siphon the wine into your clean bottles, filling them almost to the top, and cork them immediately. Allow the wine to further age in the bottles or enjoy it immediately.