Winemaking is a complex process, but one that can be easily mastered if you have the desire and the time. Homemade wine can be made simply if you have the right ingredients, equipment and, most important, the patience to see the process through to the finish.
How to Make Wine at Home
Making wine at home is done by adding yeast to a mixture of sugar solution, fruit juice or even fresh fruit. The yeast acts on the sugar by a process known as fermentation, thereby digesting it and releasing two byproducts of the chemical reaction. The first byproduct is alcohol, the key component to winemaking. The second, carbon dioxide, is produced in lesser quantities and can be physically seen as bubbles effervescing off the top of the fermenting mixture.
The process of making homemade wine happens in the absence of oxygen, also known as an anaerobic environment. The lack of oxygen allows the yeast to thrive and digest the fermenting liquid’s sugars, thus resulting in an increase in alcohol. This alcohol increase, however, has a detrimental effect on the yeast. Once all the sugars are used up, the yeast ends up dying due to the increase in alcohol content.
Make Wine From Grape Juice Concentrate
Homemade wine can be made from a number of ingredients that contain sugar. Fresh fruits, like grapes, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and peaches are all good ingredients for making homemade wine. Using apples as the source of sugar will result in a mildly fermented cider.
Another ideal ingredient used to make homemade wine is the use of grape juice concentrate like Welch’s grape juice, resulting in Welch’s wine. Grape juice concentrate is made by slowly simmering fresh grapes in hot water for a period of time.The grapes are then strained from the liquid, resulting in a grape juice concentrate that’s rich in flavor. Making wine from grape juice concentrate results in a homemade wine that’s perfect as a table wine to be consumed on a daily basis.
Make Homemade Wine With Welch’s Grape Juice
Using Welch’s grape juice made from white grapes results in a white homemade wine, whereas using the traditional Welch’s grape juice, which is made from Concord grapes results in a red table wine. Just make sure that whatever fruit or grape juice concentrate you use does not contain any preservatives; these will affect the fermentation process and overall quality of your homemade wine.
The most important step in making homemade wine is to properly sterilize the equipment you use when making wine from grape juice. This can be done by sterilizing your equipment in boiling water; washing the equipment thoroughly with soap; or wiping down with isopropyl alcohol. Sterilizing your equipment prevents bacteria from getting into, and contaminating, your fermenting liquid.
Welch’s Grape Juice Wine Recipe
Total Time: 7 to 30 days | Prep Time: 30 minutes | Serves: 1 gallon red homemade wine
- 1 gallon Welch’s 100 percent grape juice
- 1 cup cane sugar
- 1 tablespoon wine yeast (baker's yeast can be used if you can't find wine yeast)
- In a large stainless steel saucepan over medium heat, add grape juice and cane sugar.
- Stir until sugar is completely dissolved.
- Let grape juice mixture cool to room temperature.
- Add in wine yeast and mix to combine.
- Transfer to a fermentation jug like a carboy with an airlock. Store in a cool, dark place for fermentation to occur.
- For the first 24 hours, shake the carboy twice a day to let out the carbon dioxide.
- The homemade wine using Welch’s grape juice will take about a week to be ready. You will know when fermentation is done when there’s no more carbon dioxide fizzing off the top, you can smell the wine, and the yeast sediment has settled to the bottom of the jug.
- If you want a stronger wine, leave undisturbed in a dark area for up to a month.
- Strain the homemade wine and transfer it to an old wine bottle for storage.
If using frozen concentrate, thaw 48 ounces of the concentrate and add it to a large saucepan over medium heat along with 5 cups of water and 1 cup of cane sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Let cool to room temperature before adding the wine yeast and follow the recipe directions.
Christabel Lobo is a freelance writer focusing on all-things food, travel, and wellness. Her writing has appeared in Tenderly, SilverKris, Byrdie, Trivago, Open Skies, Fodor’s, London’s Evening Standard, Silkwinds, HuffPost, Barclays Travel, Pint Size Gourmets, and on her personal yoga & travel blog, Where’s Bel. Feel free to check out her design and writing portfolio: christabel.co