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Wine Making

Wine Barrel

General Fresh Fruit Wine Making Procedure 



WEIGHT AND MEASURES: Weigh fruit on kitchen scale. Sugar: 1 lb=2 rounded cups. Always use level measures for measuring chemicals. When converting 1 gallon recipes to 5 gallon recipes cut back on the acid measures by ¼ to ½ teaspoon. 



OPTIONAL INGREDIENT AMOUNTS: White or red grape concentrate: use 5-10 oz per gallon to add body and bouquet to the wine improves character. 

Raisins: use 8 oz per gallon to add body and sweetness use golden raisins for white or rose wines and dark raisins for red wines. 

Bananas: 3 lbs fresh bananas to add body to wines. 


Many fresh fruit wines lack body and could use one or more of the above ingredients to improve the quality and flavor. Most fruit wines need a touch of sweetness in them. Sweeten wines at bottling time. 


These are general procedures and the method may vary for certain types of wines, but generally you won't go wrong if you follow these procedures. The first step is to decide what type of wine you are going to make. Once this has been established look at least 2 or 3 different recipes, or follow one that you had success with in the past. The purpose of looking at 2 or 3 different recipes is to see what the various wine makers change in the recipe and by how much. Some wine makers may add additional fruit, or variations of the principle acids in winemaking for example. Based on this research you can decide what ingredients make most sense for your recipe. Once you have decided upon a recipe to follow, write it down. Record your recipe, this will provide a record of how you made your batch of wine. 

Process your pulp to extract the juice. For soft fruits like plums, apricots, cherries, peaches, citrus fruits such as oranges, etc., you must have the seeds or pits removed because the seeds contain bitter resins, which will leave a bitter taste in the wine. Then freeze your fruit. Freezing the fruit breaks down the cell membrane walls and gives a better juice extraction. After the fruit has thawed, put the fruit in a nylon bag and extract the juice by pressing it by hand, using a fruit press, or covering the fruit bag with sugar to assist in juice extraction. Next put the nylon bag and juice in the primary fermentor. Note - for wild or concord grapes they can be hand crushed and pressed, ferment on the skins long enough to get color, and then remove pulp. (2-5 days) press lightly and discard. For white grapes, put in nylon bag, press to extract fruit and discard pulp. For wild roses-use rose-hip under petals or petals, no green parts. When making Dandelions wine use only the yellow part of flower. For Rhubarb wine chop the rhubarb into small pieces, do not squeeze. You get the picture.

Gather all your ingredients, except for the yeast and put it into your primary fermentor. This should preferably be a large plastic bucket, food grade if possible, or other non-porous container. You want to make sure that you have a tight fitting lid for the container so that no bugs or other materials can get into the bucket. A lid should be able to support an airlock or blowoff tube. This will allow for CO2 gas to escape and prevent air entering into your primary fermentor. While you are gathering your ingredients add a little extra to fill a wine bottle. This extra will be used as a "top off" later in the process, to help prevent oxidation. 

Take a hydrometer reading to see if your specific gravity (SG) is at the level it needs to be, and adjust it by adding more sugar, fruit, or water. Most wines should have a SG of 1.080 to 1.090. 

If everything is ready, and you are satisfied with your SG, add 1 crushed campden tablet per gallon of wine. The campden tablet will kill off any wild yeast in your must. Must is what wine is called before it becomes wine. Put the lid with an airlock on the container; let it set for 24 hours. 


After 24 hours add your cultivated yeast to the must. Let it ferment in the primary fermentor until the must SG is at 1.040 or lower. Usually this will be with in 4 to 7 days. 

In a sanitized and cleaned glass carboy and wine bottle siphon your must from your primary fermentor, and attach airlocks to both containers. Let set for about 2 to 3 weeks. 


After 2 to 3 weeks siphon again to another sanitized and clean carboy and attach an airlock. Usually at this time siphon in the additional wine you put in the spare wine bottle that has been fermenting, to reduce air in your carboy. You want to maintain a minimum of at least 2 inches or less of air space, to help prevent oxidation. Let it stand for at least 1 month. 


After 1 month siphon your must to another sanitized and clean carboy. Before attaching the airlock test the SG if it is less than 1.00 you can add ½ to 1 crushed campden tablet per gallon. The campden tablets will help prevent oxidation. Let it stand for at least 1-2 months. 


At this point you can continue racking your wine or rack it and add a fining agent, to the wine to help clear it. Whatever fining agent you choose to use follow the directions on the package.  If you add a fining agent wait at least two weeks before bottling. 


At bottling time you can sweeten you wine. Most fruit wines should have a SG at bottling of 1.00 or slightly higher. To sweeten you bring at least 1 cup of water to a boil. After the water has come to a boil turn off the heat and add 2 cups of sugar for every cup of water. For a 5 gallon recipe 3 cups of water and 6 cups of sugar will be a good start. Boil the sugar and water solution for at least 10 minutes or until it clears. Add the sweetener to the wine a little at a time and take a hydrometer reading after each addition. When you are satisfied with the flavor of your wine, record the final SG. Then add some stabilizer, potassium sorbate, to the wine about 1/2 teaspoon per gallon. Do not add all the sweetener solution at once to your wine, you may make it to sweet, add a little at a time and remember to add your stabilizer. 

Wine bottles are the best for bottling your wine and it is traditional. If you use traditional wine bottles, which is preferred, make sure that you use a #9 cork and a corker to cork the bottles.  Using corks lower than a #9 will cause leakage and wine spoilage.  Make sure your wine bottles are clean, you can sanitize them using "One Step - No Rinse Cleanser".


Other general issues when making wines are: 


Pectic enzyme: when using liquid use 5 to 10 drops in fruit wines instead of teaspoon measure listed in most recipes.  The teaspoon measures in recipes are for powered pectic enzyme. 


Campden Tablets: 5 campden tablets are the same as 1/4 teaspoon of metabisulphite. 


Never boil corks, soak your corks in a solution of hot tap water and a crushed campden tablet for about 15 minutes, then rinse well and cork your bottles 


Most fruit wines should be aged at least 6 months to 1 year, of course some wine can benefit from longer aging depending on acid and tannin levels. 


A common wine stabilizer is Potassium Sorbate - do not over use it - recommended dosage is 1/2 teaspoon per gallon. 


Red Wine


For every 5-6 gallons of finished wine


  1. Take 1 bushel of Concord (blue) grapes (approx. 40 - 45 lbs.).

  2. Stomp or grind grapes just enough to break the skins.

  3. Put into a clean, open top container, plastic is ok at this point.

    1. Add 15 lbs. of sugar to 4 gallons of warm water. Stir until dissolved and add to crushed grapes (must).

  4. Cover container to keep out contaminants.

  5. In 24 hours add one and one half to two packs of wine yeast, Montrachet or Lalvin K1V-1116.

  6. Stir "must" (pulp) twice a day for 5-7 days pushing the pulp down. 

  7. Your mixture should start to smell like wine after day 3 or so.

  8. Siphon out the juice in 5-6 days if its hot 80-90deg and 6-7 if it's cooler or you are doing in your basement.

  9. Press the pulp, if you can, for more juice. Although this will create more work in the future in more racking to clear wine.

  10. Stir in 2 - 1/2lbs of sugar for every gallon of juice. Make sure sugar is completely dissolved. DO NOT ADD THIS SUGAR IF YOU ALREADY ADDED SUGAR ABOVE!

  11. Put wine into a wood barrel but do not fill to top, as it will probably bubble over while it is working.

    1. ​Put wine into a glass carboy and attach airlock.

  12. Let it work for a couple weeks slowly topping off. Keep loosely covered.

    1. Let it work for three weeks with airlock left on at all times and then rack. Attach airlock again.

    2. Rack again in another 3 weeks.

  13. When it slows down or stops fermenting, about Thanksgiving, cap tight.

    1. ​When it stops fermenting completely, rack again, wait 7 days then bottle.

  14. Keep closed until Easter, then open and have a taste.

    1. ​Age in bottle for a year or so. 


Dandelion Wine


Makes about 4 gallons

  • Pick 2 to 3 gallons of fresh, yellow dandelion flower tops. Remove all green. 

  • Slice up three oranges and two lemons and one pound of raisins. 

  • Put all this into a primary fermentor and pour four gallons of boiling water over the flowers, raisins and fruit. Let the mixture cool overnight. 

  • Add enough sugar to bring the SG to 1.090 to 1.100 and add one pack of wine yeast. 

  • After 10 days strain out the flowers and fruits and siphon into a carboy and attach an airlock ferment 30 days. 

  • Rack and put back into carboy for further fermenting. 

  • After 90 days rack again and bottle when clear. 


It is ready to drink in 6 months.  This recipe is said to be good for rose petal wine in a similar manner.

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