Wine is an ancient beverage which first appeared near the Caspian and Black Seas and spread with the emigrating tribes to all parts of the world. Farmers and winemakers have cultivated many varieties of grapes and have discovered many other types, such as the muscadine grape, which is native to the Southeastern region of the United States. The muscadine grape is disease resistant and flourishes in the South, where other wine grapes cannot grow well. Use traditional winemaking methods to create a smooth muscadine wine.
Things You'll Need
Pick or purchase 20 pounds of muscadine grapes per gallon of wine. Muscadine grapes mature by late summer or early to mid fall. Some Southeastern farmers markets carry muscadine grapes, and many people sell or give away muscadines in wine forums on the Internet.
Sanitize your equipment with potassium metabisulphite before beginning any step in winemaking to remove harmful yeast, bacteria and mold. Follow the directions provided with the potassium metabisulphite.
Crush the muscadine grapes with a grape crusher into a food-grade plastic container. Juice the crushed grapes with a grape press, collecting the juice in a food-grade plastic container. Add potassium metabisulphite to the juice to kill native yeast; follow the potassium metabisulphite’s instructions provided on the container.
Pull some muscadine grape juice into the wine thief and measure the specific gravity using a hydrometer. The hydrometer reading should give a specific gravity reading between 1.080 and 1.100. Add a sugar solution, one part water to three parts sugar, to the juice if the gravity reading is below 1.080; add as much of the sugar solution as is necessary to reach the desired gravity.
Test the muscadine grape juice with the titration kit. The acid should measure 6-to-7.5 grams per liter, which produces a pH between 3 and 4. Add tartaric acid if the acid reading is below the desired levels; follow the instructions provided with the tartaric acid or ask someone at your local home brew shop for advice.
Add bentonite to the juice, following the instructions provided with the bentonite. The bentonite clears large pieces of grape pulp from the juice.
Add yeast to the muscadine grape juice. Ask your local home brew shop for the best type of yeast to use; do not use brewer’s yeast.
Place the top on the container and insert the airlock and bung. Ferment the juice for seven days in a dark space that is approximately 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Rack, or transfer, the fermenting juice with a siphon into a glass carboy. Ferment the juice for an additional 14 days in a dark space approximately 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Clean the plastic container used in the previous steps.
Dissolve potassium metabisulphite and potassium sorbate in the wine to kill the yeast. Stir the wine vigorously for five minutes.
Follow the instructions provided with the potassium metabisulphite and potassium sorbate or ask your local home brew shop for correct measurements.
Dissolve the wine clarifier in the wine. Stir the wine vigorously for five minutes.
Follow the instructions provided with the clarifier.
Allow the wine to clear over seven days and rack the wine into another glass carboy. Bottle the wine or store the wine in the carboy. Wait three months to drink the wine for better taste and quality.
Grape crushers and presses are expensive, but some home brew shops rent the equipment. You could also ask other winemakers to use their equipment. Some organic grocery stores and health food stores have juicers to crush and juice the grapes.
Calculate the final alcohol content by taking a specific gravity reading with the hydrometer and wine thief. Subtract the final specific gravity from the original specific gravity and divide the difference by 7.36. The quotient is the percentage of alcohol by volume.