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Making Homemade Wine With Grape Juice

It is possible to make a decent wine using ordinary household items and grape juice from concentrate. You will need 3 cans of grape juice concentrate. You need enough to equal 144 ounces when prepared. Read the labels to determine this amount. You will also need cup of sugar, and yes, you need real sugar and a gallon jug.

The idea is to keep it as cheap as possible so any old milk or juice jug should do the trick. You will also need water for this process; distilled water does not work very well for this purpose. Regular tap water works best. Oh, don't forget the balloons these are imperative.

The final ingredient is yeast and you will also need a pin. There are a few accessory items that will be needed, namely a siphoning hose, a funnel and a measuring cup. Now that we have all of our ingredients we are ready to make our wine. What you have may not look like much but these common items will produce a most remarkable common wine.

The yeast is the most important of all of the ingredients. Without yeast fermentation could not take place. It is used to make all alcoholic beverages. Yeast is a fungus that eats the sugar combined with the water and what they excrete is alcohol. This is a very simple explanation for the process of fermentation but it is accurate. There is yeast made exclusively for making wine but baker's yeast will do in a pinch. It gives the wine a very strong and pungent flavor.

1. Make the grape juice but only use two cans of water per container of concentrate. The yeast will eat a lot of sugar so you want more concentrate than juice. Another consideration when making wine from grape juice is the high acid content of concentrated grape juice. You will need to neutralize the acidity of the grape juice. This should be done before you add the yeast. The method here will neutralize about 50 percent of the acid. Using a common antacid in the amount of 500 mils per 1.3 liters you can neutralize enough acid to make your wine actually taste more like wine than grape juice. Crush the tablets and mix them into the grape juice. Another tried and true method is to simply add 1 teaspoon of baking soda per gallon of grape juice. This concludes step one.

2. Shake the mixture up well. This is also a very important step. The juice needs to be properly aerated for the process to work to perfection. Now add the sugar and shake again, make sure it all dissolves to avoid flavor problems later on.

3. Hydrate the yeast before adding it to the mixture. Follow the directions on the package, let stand before stirring. Now add a few spoonful's of sugar and watch out for the foaming action. Use the funnel to add all of the ingredients to the jug. This will help to avoid spillage. Shake vigorously to completely incorporate the mixture into the juice.

4. Put a few pinholes in a balloon and firmly seat the balloon on the top of the jug. When fermentation takes place the pinholes will allow gases to escape. Push the ballooning end inside the container and if you desire use a rubber band to hold the end in place around the mouth of the jug.

All that is left is the wait. Within 12 hours you should be able to see and hear signs of the fermentation process. The balloon should begin to rise from the inside of the jug. If this takes more than 24 hours you may need to add additional yeast. In 2-3 weeks the second stage of fermentation should begin.

The balloon is the indicator if it has deflated then it is time to remove it and add the cap. Now place the jug in a cool place that is around 55 degress and let sit for a month or two for the best flavor. If you strain the finished product into a new container it will give you a better quality wine.


Pat Lindle is a wine broker with many years of experience in the wine industry.

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