Step 1: Flavor Extraction

Step 1:  Flavor Extraction

In this step you are making the basic liquid you will later ferment. An important thing to consider in this step is obviously going to be what kind of wine you are making. When learning how to make wine it’s important to understand that there are over 300 unique grapes that can be used to make red wine alone, and over 200 varieties of grapes for white wine, not to mention other ingredients that can be used for different wines including most of the berry family, fruits such as apple or peach, and even flowers and vegetables. To keep it simple let’s talk about the basic red wine. To start, you can use fresh grapes and extract the juice on your own using a large plastic bucket and something to crush the grapes, there are two things that are important to note, due to the acidity of grapes you should not use any kind of stainless steel or metal container for any step in the process, or you may have undesirable results. It is also important to realize that if you are using grapes from your own backyard vine, or varieties of grapes that contain seeds, you will need to take extra care not to crush the seeds as they will make the juice bitter. To accomplish this you can use your feet to crush the grapes as you may have seen on TV or elsewhere, your hands, or a new, sterilized (unused for its usual purpose) plunger, then, using several layers of cheese cloth or a fine mesh kitchen strainer separate the pulp from the juice.

You can also use a concentrate from a can such as Welch’s grape juice concentrate or similar, thus avoiding extracting the juice yourself, you may want to consider doing this for your first batch as it will expedite the process.

After you have the basic juice you may need to add some other things to prepare it for fermentation, the first being water, many wines are made without adding water, but when using grapes with a very strong flavor like you will most likely be using for your first batch you will want to water it down a bit, especially if you are using a concentrate, how much water will generally be given in the recipe. The next ingredient is sugar, yeast will also be added and you will want to keep your yeast happy, and what does yeast eat? Sugar.  This mix of ingredients is called your “must”.


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