Making wine is a satisfying hobby that is also very educational. If done correctly, you will have completely new wine recipes that you can refine to greater and greater tastes and textures. This hobby can also lead to a business opportunity: you can sell the wine you make for profit.
Before you start making wine, you need to come up with a recipe. This involves experimentation of a kind you probably have never experienced before. Even before you can do that, you need to acquire the proper equipment and ingredients necessary to make wine.
The materials you will need are:
- a polyvinyl tube
- a few half-gallon Winchester bottles
- a boiler made of enamel or aluminum
- wine bottles with corks
- glass tubing
- one gallon glass jars along with corks
- a hydrometer
- a small winepress
- a large plastic vessel such as a dustbin
Equipment like the above is an essential part of any winemaker’s laboratory. You may need some other equipment, as well, such as:
- a bottle-cleaning brush
- a colander
- some casks
- a cork borer
- a few jelly bags for straining
- a corking device
- a large polythene funnel
- a set of scales
- some measuring jugs
- some small funnels
- a thermometer
- some stone jars
- a wooden spoon
- a few tie-on labels for jars and stick-on labels for the bottles
With this amount of equipment, you are well prepared for any unforeseen circumstance during the winemaking process. With equipment such as the above items, you will be able to make quality wines that will taste wonderful.
Now that you have the list of equipment you need, let’s take a look at the ingredients. The ingredients needed for winemaking are common to cooking, as well. Some, however, are unique to vintners.
This is the most important ingredient for winemaking. Without it, you will not be able to ferment your wine, and thus you will have no wine. There are a variety of brands of wine yeast to choose from. There is no hard-and-fast rule as to which brand you should use, so talk to your local wine shop or supermarket for suggestions. They may be able to help you come up with starting points for creating your first recipes.
Adding wine yeast to the winemaking process must be done in a very specific way, or else the wine will be ruined. Most wine yeast comes with it’s own instructions, so following them should turn out fine.
Next to wine yeast, this is the second-most important ingredient. Sugar combined with the yeast gives wine it’s distinctive flavor. The yeast feeds on the sugar and produces two important by-products: carbon dioxide and ethanol. These two components mix together in the wine and produce the actual drink. The sugar is necessary so that the yeast can produce the ethanol. No sugar, no wine.
Like the yeast, the sugar must also be added in a specific way. Unlike yeast, sugar must be considered according to amount, not when it should be added. You will be adding it to the wine along with the yeast anyway. Too much sugar and the yeast will lose the ability to ferment the wine by producing ethanol. Too little sugar and the same thing will happen because the yeast do not have enough food.
Acids give wines their characteristically crisp taste. The ethanol produced by the yeast partially counteracts and balances out the sourness of wine and gives it a proper taste. Acid must be added the same way that yeast and sugar: in the right amount. Otherwise, you guessed it, the wine will be ruined.
If you have ever accidentally bitten into a grape seed, you know what tannins taste like: dry and woody. Tannins give this flavor to whatever wine they are added to.