Tutorial - Wine Making a BRIEF Overview

How Wine Making Works

  • Wine is made through a process called fermentation. During fermentation, a living yeast breaks down sugar into two by-products, carbon dioxide and alcohol.
  • Fermentation consists of two stages: primary fermentation (a very violent, fast first bubbling) and secondary fermentation (a slower, more mellow step).
  • Wine must be racked, or siphoned away from its sediment before it is aged

Wine Making Ingredients and Additives

  • Must is the raw juice which will become your wine. You can make the juice yourself, open a bottle from the grocery store or special order concentrate from a vineyard.
  • Yeast. An inexpensive, all purpose wine maker's yeast is best for the beginning wine maker. Baker's yeast from the grocery store is not acceptable.
  • Sugar is the food that lets the yeast do its magic. You may need to add some.
  • Campden tablets help keep things clean and sterile. They are also added to the wine at several stages to stabilize the wine and prevent the growth of unwanted bacteria.
  • Acid blends, pectic enzymes and grape tannins are sometimes added to correct the flavor and improve the quality of the wine.

General Directions for Wine Making 

  • Preparing your ingredients and cleaning your equipment are the important first steps.
  • Prepare the must by adding sugar and sometimes water, acid blend, pectin, tannin and a campden tablet.
  • Wait 24 hours before adding the yeast.
  • Primary fermentation is a fast, very violent bubbling. The yeast is very active.
  • Secondary fermentation is a slower, more mellow bubbling.
  • During secondary fermentation, the wine must be kept away from contact with the air.
  • When you rack a wine, you remove the clear wine from the sediment.
  • Aging is an important step, as you let the wine mellow and develop flavor.

Wine Making Equipment

  • A primary fermenter is used for containing the must during its first, violent fermentation
  • A secondary fermenter, usually a glass jug with a narrow opening plugged with an air lock, is used for the second stage.
  • A hydrometer measures the amount of sugar in a must
  • An acid titration kit measures the amount of acid.
  • Bottles, corks, a corker and wire brushes help make the wine maker's job easier

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