Fermenting Wine from Your Garden
This week at Solar, we prepared three batches of homemade wine. After our grape vines took a hard hit from the deer last year, we were unsure whether we would be able to continue our wine making tradition. Thankfully, Mother Nature blessed us with wild fox grapes by the bunches, which are a great alternative while we work to bring our vines back to a fruit bearing stage. We also collected and froze wild raspberries to mix in with the grapes and add sweetness to the finished product. We started the fermentation process today, and the mix will stay in the fermentation container for approximately 21 days or until it appears finished. The fermenter allows oxygen to escape the container but does not allow air or fruit flies in, which may turn the mix into vinegar. After fermentation is complete, we will sift the mixture into a large glass carboy, strain out any fruit matter, and leave the wine to age before bottling. Wine can be made from any fruit, and is quite simple to make at home without large, expensive pieces of equipment. To make homemade wine, follow this simple recipe:
Ingredients4 pounds frozen fruit2 pounds sugar1 package wine yeast Makes approx. 1 gallon Directions
- Bring a gallon of water to a boil and add the sugar. Place the fruit in a large glass jug or crock. Carefully pour the boiling sugar water over the frozen fruit and stir. Cover the container with a lid to keep out fruit flies.
- The next day, stir the contents thoroughly and mash any berries or large chunks of fruit. Stir in the wine yeast and cover with a cloth and lid.
- Keep stirring the mixture once a day for about a week.
- Transfer the mixture into glass jugs. Use a funnel and mesh strainer to pour only the liquid into the jugs. Leave a couple inches at the top of the jugs and cap with an airlock, a device that allows oxygen out of the bottle without letting anything else in. Place the jugs out of direct sunlight.
- After 21 days to one month, it’s time to siphon the wine. Fruit pulp and dead yeast will have settled at the bottom of the jugs. Keeping the siphon halfway in the jug, siphon the clean wine into clean bottles. Reusing old wine bottles is a great idea, but be sure to use new corks, as they allow oxygen to escape from the bottle when necessary.