How to Make Red Wine From Fresh Grapes

Written by ehow food & drink editor
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People spend lifetimes perfecting the science of making wine. Here is an overview of the basic steps involved. Equipment and materials needed for this procedure can be rented or bought at a winemaking supply shop.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • granulated sugars (sucrose) or corn sugar (dextrose)
  • wines yeast
  • fining materials materials
  • siphon hoses
  • fermentation locks
  • hydrometer
  • acid-testing kits
  • plastic bucket for mixing
  • glass gallon jugs or barrels for fermenting
  • vinifera red grapes
  • sulphite crystals
  • grape crushers
  • grape press
  • Fermentation Locks
  • Fining Materials Materials
  • Grape Crushers
  • Grape Press
  • Sulphite Crystals
  • Hydrometer
  • Siphon Hoses
  • Granulated Sugars (sucrose) Or Corn Sugar (dextrose)
  • Vinifera Red Grapes
  • Wines Yeast
  • Glass Gallon Jugs Or Barrels For Fermenting
  • Acid-testing Kits
  • Plastic Bucket For Mixing

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Instructions

    Before Fermentation

  1. 1

    Crush grapes into primary fermentor. Fill fermentor only 2/3 full.

  2. 2

    Remove up to 80 percent of stems.

  3. 3

    Add sulfite crystals to fermentor. Use about .1 gram of sulfite powder per liter or 1 campden tablet per 10 liters. Dissolve into 1 cup of warm water and stir into fermentor using a wooden or plastic spoon.

  4. 4

    After adding sulfite, let the crushed grapes, or "must," sit for 2 hours.

  5. 5

    Check Brix (a measure of sugar content) of juice. It should be around 22 to 24 degrees, depending on varietal. (See "How to Monitor Brix of Fermenting Wine Must" in related eHows.)

  6. 6

    If Brix is lower than 21 degrees, add sugar to juice.

  7. 7

    Check and adjust acid level of juice, using an acid-testing kit found at a winemaking shop. Acid content should be about 5.5 to 6.5 g/liter.

  8. 8

    Check temperature of must and adjust if necessary. Temperature should be 70 to 75 degrees F (21 to 23 degrees C). Raise temperature by placing a heating pad underneath the fermentor or applying a heating belt. One way to lower temperature is to place a heavy object into a large freezer bag. Add ice to the bag, tie the bag securely and lower into the fermentor. Monitor the temperature for changes and remove the heating or cooling element when the proper temperature has been reached.

  9. 9

    When the proper Brix, acid level, and temperature are reached, dissolve 1 gram yeast pellets in 1 cup of warm water for every 3.8 liters of must. Let yeast solution sit for 10 minutes, then add to fermentor.

  10. 10

    Cover fermentor with cheesecloth.

    Fermentation

  1. 1

    Check after 24 hours. Bubbles and gurgling noises indicate fermentation is taking place. As fermentation takes place, the temperature will rise, which is acceptable.

  2. 2

    Stir twice daily to keep the "cap" wet. The cap is the top layer of seeds and grape skins.

  3. 3

    Check Brix daily. There should be an average drop of about 2 degrees in Brix.

  4. 4

    When the cap stops pushing up to the top or when Brix is around 0 degrees, press the wine into gallon jugs and attach a fermentation lock. Save the cap material (pulp) to top up after initial racking.

  5. 5

    When sediment drops out, rack and top up with pulp. Add sulfite. (See "How to Rack Wine" in related eHows.)

  6. 6

    Add fining material right after racking, or later, when wine is clear. (See "How to Add Fining Material to Wine" in related eHows.)

  7. 7

    After sediment drops out, rack and add sulfite crystals. Continue racking as necessary when sediment drops out.

  8. 8

    Depending on varietal, age for appropriate amount of time.

  9. 9

    Bottle. (See "How to Bottle Wine" for details.)

  10. 10

    Depending on varietal, bottle age for the appropriate amount of time.

Tips and warnings

  • For more details and variations refer to related Web sites or ask vendors at winemaking shops.
  • Be careful about adding too much sulfite after racking. Too much sulfite can damage wine. Ask at a winemaking shop for necessary amounts.
  • Avoid carbon dioxide fumes during fermentation.

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