Winemaking help?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Mid Tn Mama, Jun 22, 2005.

  1. Mid Tn Mama

    Mid Tn Mama Well-Known Member Supporter

    May 11, 2002
    I'm cross posting this to get the widest possible audience. Sorry if that offends.

    I'm thinking about making some wine and want to do it the easiest and least expensive way. Can it be done without buying anything? I should preface this by saying this will not be drinking wine, but cooking wine. So I don't think the quality matters as much.

    Here is what goodoldreb posted before:

    Wine! Boil them with enough water to cover them good till they are soft, put in clean churn or other large container,add sugar,about 1 1/2 lbs per gallon put in a couple of packs of yeast and stir then cover. After about 10-14 days,strain through a couple of layers of cheese cloth to get out seeds, pulp etc. Taste, sweeten if necessary, then after about another 2 weeks strain again,taste more sugar can be added but you'll have to leave in churn. If ok put in jars don't fill completely up & leave lids a little loose for a few days.then tighten lids put in dark place (basement,cellar etc.) if you do it now it will be good for the holidays. Good luck! GOR.

    My question is can you do this in a five gallon bucket? Do you just cover with cheesecloth in each step until putting in jars? Can these be canning jars? Do the lids have to be new?
  2. Pony

    Pony STILL not Alice Supporter

    Jan 6, 2003
    Best site I've found for uncomplicated directions for winemaking:

    We've made wine in 5 gallon buckets, but after the first fermentation, we put it into bottles with balloons over the neck. (We have since graduated to fermentation locks: inexpensive and well worth the $2.)

    The most important lesson we've learned in making wine is PATIENCE!! If you rush the process, you will get the most raw swill!

    Racking off an extra time or two doesn't hurt, and letting the bottles sit for a good while helps a lot.

    As far as using the wine for cooking... If I can't drink it as is, I certainly won't use it for cooking my food. I totally cannot abide the "cooking wine" sold in the vinegar aisle of the grocery store!

    Anyway, making wine is fun. You don't have to have all the fancy stuff, just remember to keep things clean (if you use bleach, RINSE THOROUGHLY), and have a good time with it. :D

    Happy Trails!


  3. Stush

    Stush Well-Known Member

    Aug 27, 2002
    Maybe almost nothing.

    A plastic bucket is needed to ferment your fruit. A five gallon one is usually the most convenient. If it has a lid, that is even better. You can drill a hole and add an airlock for a buck. But that is not absolutely necessary.

    A way to measure the specific gravity of the pulp, or "must", that you are going to ferment is a great aid. With this, you can actually see what the potential alcohol content of your wine will be. Without it, you are just guessing. Less than $10.

    A piece of plastic tubing to SIPHON the wine off the sediment. Do this instead to the cheesecloth straining method. You will end up with a much better wine.

    A few campden tablets and a packet of wine yeast. Less than a dollar total investment here, but if you get nothing else buy these. The campden tablets will kill of the wild yeasts and other microorganisms that can impart "off" flavors to your wine. The wine yeast will give you the best results. I am not saying that it can't be done with bread yeast, but wine yeast will yeild a more consistent result.

    Put the fruit, grapes I am assuming, in the bucket minus the stems and other assorted debris.

    Mash with a plastic potato masher.

    Add one crushed campden tablet per gallon of pulp, cover and allow to sit 24 hours.

    Add your sugar to a total of 22 brix or about 12 - 14% potential alcohol.

    Add your wine yeast.

    Let it ferment until the bubbling stops. Push down the "cap" that forms on the pulp each day. This should be about 3 to 7 days depending upon the temperature.

    When it stops bubbling, pour the wine through your cheesecloth and wring the cloth to squeeze the juice out of the pulp.

    You can put this back into the freshly cleaned bucket, or ideally into a glass container. Let it sit for about 30 days. There should be a layer of sediment on the bottom of the container. Siphon your clear wine off of this sediment layer into a clean container. Repeat this step at least two more times.

    You can store your wine in mason jars or glass jugs if you don't want to round up wine bottles and buy corks.

    Above all else, make sure everything that you use is clean and well rinsed.
  4. diamondtim

    diamondtim Well-Known Member

    Jun 9, 2005
    The above tips were good information.

    The only thing I would add would be that all of your buckets and jugs be food grade that has been sanitized. Don't be using buckets that were previously full of paint, oil or other chemicals. Don't reuse mason jar lids (the new ones are so cheap). And I wouldn't use bleach or another household cleaner to sanitize your equipment. You're making wine here, not crystal meth. :haha:

    Wine is a food and should be treated as such. The other posters told you what the minimal equipment is needed. Also use wine yeast. Bread yeast creates nasty wine, IMHO.

    Good Luck and Share the Love,

  5. Wilhelm

    Wilhelm Well-Known Member

    May 31, 2003
    SW Nebraska
    I've always used the 5gal. carboy, or deep rock bottle. It is large enough on the end to get larger bits of fruit into it, and you can still use a waterlock on it. Open fermentation vessels are a bad idea. Too many bacteria and other contaminants.
  6. Mid Tn Mama

    Mid Tn Mama Well-Known Member Supporter

    May 11, 2002
    Thanks all! Just curious: What kinds of wine have you made? Have any of you used honey instead of sugar?
  7. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

    Jun 24, 2002
    Honey makes mead and is used in melomel (as my memory serves).

    Making beer and wine is easy and doesn't have to be expensive, but it is worth it to spend a small amount for a few things to keep it the fermentation lock and wine yeast (dry is fine). You can use a 1 gallon cider glass jar to start if you have one, that way if you make a mistake it costs less.

    There are some great books out there and your local library probably has one. I learned from trial and error and books. Been making beer for about 20 years and wine in just the past year or so. I agree with the poster who said if they won't drink it they won't cook with it. Why ruin perfectly good ingredients?

    Good luck.

    Forgot to say, I have made elderberry, pear, mixed fruit (apple, banana, grape), rhubarb, and dandelion wines. Nothing to do with wine, but I have a recipe of limoncello going now.