You may be an avid wine connoisseur who purchases everything from cheap grocery store wine to drink with your partner to bottles that cost hundreds of dollars to open when you entertain your family and friends. You understand which wine goes with grilled salmon and which pairs nicely with a piece of chocolate cake; you can spot the subtle taste difference between a pinot grigio and a pinot blanc, and you’d like to take your wine enthusiasm a step further by bottling your own wine at home. Here are five simple things to remember when embarking on your wine-bottling journey:
Make sure your future wine will be of good quality by choosing the best starting materials. While it’s possible to make wine from grapes for your first batch, most first-timers will want to start with a Winemaking Kit. If you are using fresh grapes – make sure to throw out any rotten specimens or stem fragments, smash them up (you don’t have to stomp on them with feet like you might have seen on TV, but hey, whatever floats your boat), and then put them in a fermenting bucket with your selected wine yeast - and cover them with a lid that allows for degassing.
After allowing your wine to ferment for about 10 days in the fermenter, you’ll want to strain the liquid, remove the grape remains, and siphon the liquid into airlocked containers by way of a funnel. Your wine – or, at this point, fermented grape juice – will need to sit for at least a few months before putting it into bottles. This might be a good time, if you haven’t already, to research which types of bottles you’d like to use and make sure you understand how to siphon your wine into them: it’s not as easy as it sounds, especially if you don’t have the right equipment!
This is the fun part: getting your wine into a bottle means you’re a step close to enjoying that wine. Depending on what type of vessel you secondary fermented your wine in you will possibly need a siphon, tubing and a bottle filler to rack into a bottle. You will also need wine corker, corks that fit your bottles, and, of course, the right size of bottle to hold your wine.
For wine lovers, this might be the most difficult step. If you’re making red wine, you’ll need to age your wine for at least a year after corking the bottles. For the impatient, you might want to start with white wine, which takes about six months to age. Make sure you’re storing your wine bottles at the right temperature: 55 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal.
Finally, the day has come: you can drink your wine! If you’ve used quality grapes, used the proper wine fermenting and bottling equipment, and followed all the above steps correctly, you should have no trouble enjoying that first celebratory glass of your very own home made wine. Congratulations!
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