How to make wine, how to make wine at home
do you want to know how wine is made? how to make wine at home? Well, in this space you will find simple and useful tips on how to start that magic that transforms grapes into wine.
Ready to make wine at home? let's begin !
First of all, do not mind the expense of buying grapes, it is the basis for producing a good wine! NOT good grapes = not good wine, even if you do everything perfectly. Do not take grapes far from the area where you are going to produce the wine, the more time passes, the more the grapes make the must come out and the easier it is to have anomalous fermentations.
Therefore, to make a good homemade wine, it is advisable to inquire about the best time for harvesting, from the owner of the vineyard, because each location, type of vineyard system, type of vine and climatic factors of the vintage affect the harvest date. Furthermore, it is good that the wine-making process takes place in an airy (carbon dioxide develops during fermentation) and cool (high temperatures could frustrate efforts). In any case, your cellar and the vats you are going to use must always be clean, the wine must not take in air and strong odors and large vibrations must always be avoided.
Let's assume that you intend to make wine at home to produce about 150 liters of wine at home (if the quantities change, make the necessary proportions): considering that each quintal of grapes gives about 70 liters of wine (having a press, otherwise it decreases to about 65 and even less), it will be necessary to buy 2.5 quintals of wine grapes.
The first operations to be carried out after harvesting the grapes are those of crushing and destemming, or separating the stalks from the grape (in this regard there are manual crusher-destemmers, which are fine for small quantities). While doing this you can add metabisulfite, this substance (the famous phrase "contains sulphites" on the label refers to this) has antiseptic, antioxidant properties and helps the precipitation of suspended substances to be eliminated (the amount to add is written on the package but, if I can afford the advice, keep to 50% to maintain the authenticity of your product). Of course you can do without it but you have to be much much more careful because the wine can be spoiled more easily, especially if it gets air!
The container you are going to use must be washed and disinfected with a part of a sulfur disk, making it burn inside or cleaned with hot water, since the receptor is small.
The "must" obtained from this first stage of processing must be placed in the container, possibly of stainless steel, of 250 liters and with a tap, preferably if it has an opening door to facilitate racking.
After this operation you can close the container and the cleaning done in this way must be repeated every time you reuse the container.
Place the lid on top, so that the gases produced during fermentation can escape (of course it depends on the type of container you are using but in any case the gas that will develop during fermentation must escape).
The skins must be "drowned" with a fuller. The operation is called fulling and consists in sending the skins, which tend to rise during fermentation, in the lower layer in the most liquid part. - see photo). The operation must be done two or three times a day to prevent the skins on the surface from oxidizing due to their tendency to float (they would become darker and rancid by altering the must). This also serves to extract from the peel all the substances we need to make (red) wine and also to slightly lower the temperature and oxygenate the mass. In fact, above 36 degrees fermentation could be stopped (the activity of the yeasts that are the authors of the fermentation stops, transforming the sugars into alcohol, heat and carbon dioxide).
At this point go to the racking: after 24 hours, in the case of white grapes, about 3-5 days in the case of red grapes. The ideal container is the one that has a door (a small door) with a tap because the liquid mass goes down and the skins rise and with the tap we can let the fermenting "wine" come out. Once the liquid part has come out, through the door, by opening it we can extract all the remaining skins.
If you have a press, you can press the white grapes directly without the 24 hours of maceration in the must (contact with the skins) for a true white vinification.
The racking, therefore, consists in the release of the must from the container and in the collection of the skins that still have a lot of liquid. Put the skins in the small press and press, the must obtained must be combined with the one just drawn off. All the must you have obtained must be placed in 3 demijohns of 54 liters each (possibly distributing the must obtained from pressing in each demijohn), the remainder, which should be approximately 10 - 15 liters, in a smaller container and which can be useful later.
Remember that demijohns must be cleaned every time they are reused and left to drain upside down to dry them.
To make wine at home, or wine in the garage as it is used lately, the best way to continue fermentation is to use a special "cap" for fermentation, made of plastic (one per demijohn) which must be filled inside with a bit of water. In this way you will get a barrier that will prevent the air from entering and, at the same time, to release the carbon dioxide (the effect is very evident and you will see bubbles coming out of the cap). Subsequently, to facilitate the decanting, place the demijohns on a raised surface.
The must will gradually quiet down and after almost 20 days you can make the 1st racking (I say approximately, because it is not wrong to perform the operation with the moon in the waning phase and because the quantity of sugars and fermentation temperature could vary the duration).
So you have 2 possibilities: rinse the demijohns well and fill them again (you will need one more). I recommend the demijohns because with the fermenter cap they guarantee safety in fermentation; otherwise you could use the stainless steel container, if equipped with a float, and putting oenological oil around it to complete the barrier from the air.
As I said now you can carry out the transfer into the 250-liter stainless steel container, or other suitable container of your choice, or as mentioned in the 54-liter demijohns, taking care, during the transfer, to keep the "lees" that were accumulated on the bottom, that must be thrown! To fill the missing part (since we have separated the wine and thrown away the lees, we can replenish with the 10 or 15 liters that we have previously set aside).
Therefore, it is absolutely necessary not to empty the demijohns completely nor to shake the wine to be decanted, because it could cause the movement of the "lees" (the residues as well as being the cause of the non-clarity of the wine are also carriers of dangerous bacteria and bad smells). The substances to be discarded (a few liters) must remain at the bottom of the demijohn and are decanted.
And if you want to know if the wine is healthy and if it has all the elements in harmony, during racking, take a sample of your wine (about ½ liter), close it well in a bottle of the same quantity and take it to an oenologist for analysis. or to an agricultural consortium (the cost is around 15 euros). The oenologist will surely give you some advice and will tell you if the elements are in the right quantities, if it is necessary to clarify the wine with a little bentonite (a diatomaceous earth that makes the substances suspended in the wine settle). There are also wine filters on the market at an affordable price but for the quantities that have been decided to produce a couple of extra decantings are enough and you will not need to do anything else.
Again you are going to put the special fermenter caps with new water in it. After about 30 days you will have to carry out a new transfer - II TRANSFER (if you have purchased the bentonite, remember to put some of it per demijohn about a week before the new transfer). Then pour all the wine you have into the steel container or proceed again to fill the demijohns.
After about a month and a half, proceed with a III Transfer in the same way you did the II Transfer.
From the III TRANSFER the wine can be placed in the final container from which it can be consumed, if the stainless steel container is equipped with a float, add oenological oil (around the float) you will have obtained excellent protection from the air; in the absence of a float the quantity of oil to be used will be greater but the effect will be the same. In the container you can consume it and take the quantities you need, the float and the oenological oil will keep the barrier from the air and will go down level by themselves. After about 15 days, taste your wine, but if you want some advice don't start drinking it before Christmas: it needs to mature a minimum !!!
Now if everything went well you will have the great satisfaction of having learned how to make wine, how to make wine at home, as our grandparents did and you will have the satisfaction of having CREATED YOUR WINE !!! Look at it inside a glass, a strictly unprocessed glass tulip, if your white wine has a golden color it is fine, if it is amber it may have taken a little air or it has made more maceration, with the skins, than it should.
Proceed to the tasting of the first glass, you will be excited because it will seem the best wine you have ever tasted !!!
If you want to bottle your wine, given that the latter cannot last long in bottles with the exception of red, you will have to use corks (plastic or cork if you want to keep it longer) bearing in mind that for the latter you necessarily need a bottler. manual.
For red wine bottled with corks, try to see how it is after a year. However, the bottling must be done after spring (the wine in this period with the rise in temperatures "wakes up" and produces a little carbon dioxide due to a natural fermentation called malolactic). So try to consume white wine in the current year and remember to bottle with the right Moon.
To better present your wine you can create your own label and use a heat-shrink capsule on the cork that can be easily found in wine shops.
Now that you have learned everything, or at least the basics, about how to make wine at home, or wine in the garage, hoping that everything went well and that a good wine has come, I wish you a good drink, cheers!
Massimiliano De juliis