Making your own wine is a fairly simple activity that requires a little mixing and a bit of patience. The process can take at least one month before the wine is ready to be enjoyed. The longer wine is allowed to sit the better it tastes.The beauty of making your own wine is the ability to get creative with your recipe. Wine is traditionally made from green or purple grapes but you can also use a wide variety of fruit to make wine. Blackberries, apricots, strawberries, raspberries, plums, apples and pears also make delicious wines.
Juice enough fruit of your choice to fill the clear plastic bucket you are using. Certain fruits--such as berries--can be prepared the night before in water and a cup of sugar to extract the flavor of the fruit for the juice. The key to a great flavored wine however, is to have the fruit of the juice make up all or most of your liquid. For white wine, opt for green grapes, apples, pears or apricots. For red wine, opt for purple grapes, blackberries or raspberries. For blush wine, opt for watermelon any clear juiced fruit mixed with strawberries.
Heat the fruit juice on your stove in a large steel pot until slightly warm. Do not bring to a boiling point. Once heated pour one to two pounds of sugar into your fruit juice and mix until dissolved. The amount of sugar you use depends on the sweetness of the fruit you are using. Up to two pounds is recommended for every gallon of juice but you can lessen this amount for naturally sweet fruit juices. Keep in mind that the more sugar you use the higher the alcohol level of your wine.
Pour the juice into a clean plastic bucket. Empty around three packets or 1/3 cup of powdered yeast into a bowl. Add a cup of warm water and two tablespoons of sugar to activate the yeast. The yeast is activated once it begins to rise or foam. Mix the yeast in with the fruit juice in the bucket and cover with the lid. Store the bucket in a 65 to 75 degree area. Allow one week for the first fermentation process to occur.
Transfer the wine into the clear plastic carboy using the siphon tubing after one week has passed. Be sure to leave behind any sediments or excess foam in the bucket. This process will help prepare your wine to be all liquid when it's time to bottle up or drink. Once the liquid is transferred to the plastic carboy attach the airlock and store in a 65 to 75 degree area. Keep the liquid sealed for at least ten days for the second fermentation process.
Clarify your wine before bottling by moving the carboy to a cooler temperature for another week after the second fermentation period has passed. Your wine will be ready for consumption at this point but remember, the fermentation process never ends. The longer you wait to drink your wine the better it will taste. Use the siphon tubing to transfer the wine to empty bottles. Cork your bottles and store in a cool dry place.
You can find plastic carboys, airlocks, siphon units and other wine making supplies at most local brewery's.