Grape Wine Making for Family Fun

Looking for a family fun activity that everyone can enjoy? If family game night no longer cuts it and no one can decide on a single movie to watch, it’s time to shift gears and choose a different family activity. Making grape wine is a hobby that everyone can enjoy and participate in. Keep in mind that homemade grape wine does contain alcohol, so you may want to substitute grape juice for the little ones when it comes to tasting the finished product!

There are two ways to make grape wine: using grape juice concentrate or fresh grapes. The choice is yours and there are advantages to each one. Grape juice concentrate is more convenient, as there are no grapes to clean and mash. In fact, most wine making kits encourage people to use concentrate. Using the kits also eliminates the need for having to adjust sugar and acidity levels. On the other hand, many people prefer making wine with fresh grapes, as it ensures that the fruit is fresh, ripe and tasty. Plus, you can change the sugar quantity to fit your own taste buds – not too sweet, not too sour. Using fresh grapes over concentrate also avoids the wine from tasting too much like grape juice.

If you want to get the family involved using a grape juice concentrate recipe, start off using a 1 gallon bottle of grape juice. Dump out 1 ½ cups and save this for drinking at a later time. Now pour 1 cup of sugar into the bottle using a funnel. Place the lid on the bottle and shake up the mixture until the sugar dissolves in the juice. Next, add one package of red wine yeast for Concord grape juice, while white wine yeast is ideal for white grape juice.

Using a needle, poke one or two holes in the top of a balloon. Place the balloon over the juice bottle opening and place the bottle in an undisturbed location that is warm and toasty. Let the concoction sit for at least 30 days. After 30 days, check out the bottle of juice and see if the balloon has deflated. If it has, that means the wine is ready for drinking! If not, leave the wine alone for a few more days and check on it after.

If you choose to indulge in wine making using fresh grapes, the process is a bit more difficult. However, you get a delicious tasting drink that tastes more like a fine wine than a grape juice. Start by using a fresh batch of grapes that have been cleaned. If you’re not sure, squeeze them in your hand to make sure they are not rotten. Next, mash the grapes in a large bowl until they are completely crushed, which may leave you with some purple hands in the process. No worries – it will be gone in a few days! Place the grapes in a large gallon jar made of glass.

Now add the sugar and yeast, which will need to dissolve in a warm cup of water beforehand. There are many different variations of sugar depending on how sweet you want to make the wine. Purchasing a wine kit will help, especially in the beginning, as you can measure out the recommend 22 brix of juice using a hydrometer, putting the alcohol content at 11%. Once the sugar and yeast has been completely dissolved, the remaining space in the jar should be filled with warm water. Cheese cloth can be placed over the opening so that fumes can exit.

Place the jar in a warm place for 21 days, then remove the cheese cloth and strain out the wine. Be sure to make the wine tasting a family affair as well; bring out nice wine glasses, invite over family and friends and serve cracker and cheese appetizers. If this is your first time however, you may want to taste your creation before inviting anyone over!