This manual is supplied in printed form with the the DIY fruit wine making kit.
Making fruit wine at home - in a nutshell
In short, to make fruit wine at home you will be preparing fruit, add yeast and nutrients to it and let mother nature do the rest to create your wine.
Thereafter you might want to clear the wine and bottle it so that nature again can age your wine for a much improved product. This manual will take you through it step by step.
Why “fruit” wine?
Most of us are used to wines produced from grapes only. Grapes contain up to 24% sugar and sugar is turned into alcohol during the fermentation process. Most other ripe fruits and berries contain much less sugar and we need to supplement this with other sugar. Adding the cost of sugar to commercial produced wines, makes commercial fruit wines not really affordable.
However, almost any edible fruit, berries, flowers or other edible botanicals can be turned into wine (yes, you can make pumpkin, rhubarb and cucumber wine as well!) …and why limit yourself to grape wines when there is so much more to explore and enjoy? Making your own wine at home is a very rewarding and interesting pastime... the possibilities are endless!
Making fruit wine is deceptively easy. It's basically a matter of mixing all the ingredients together and letting Mother Nature do what comes natural to her.
The most difficult part is waiting between the different steps! But Mother Nature will reward those with patience the most.
Making wine consists of 7 simple steps for all different kinds of fruit. Different fruits however contain different ingredients and to adapt for those differences, the ingredients required for each fruit used, might slightly differ. These differences are shown in the “Recipe Table” at the end of this article.
To start off you have to decide what kind of fruit wine you want to make and then just follow the instructions.
When selecting fruit, always try to find the ripest fruit available or let it ripen until they become soft. In many instances you may actually use fruit that are too ripe for eating. If they’re soft and juicy, and has no mold or rotten parts, they would be ideal to use to make excellent wine.
After working through this manual, and trying a few recipes, you would be able to start experimenting with your own fruit wines – regardless of what fruit or berries you may have available.
The manual provides for making 4 liters of fruit wine at a time. The quantities can be up-scaled to make more wine at time up to 25 liters. If you would like to make more than 25 Liters of wine at a time, special consideration should be given to cooling the wine during fermentation as it will build up heat which is undesirable, and the ratio of some ingredients may be reduced.
Step 1 – Making a mash
• Select the fruit to use and make sure you have all the required ingredients available for the specific fruit wine. (See the Recipe table at the back of this manual)
• Wash the fruit and remove all bruised/moldy parts.
• Remove or peel the skins of thick skinned fruit (i.e. bananas, Watermelon, citrus)
• Remove all white pith with citrus fruit. (it imparts a bitter taste to wine)
• Cut up larger fruit (i.e. apples, peaches, marulas), bursting the skins on smaller fruit or berries, chop up fruits such as raisins, and bruise any items such as ginger root.
• Remove any large stones or pips (Do not crush or break them in the mash)
• Do not over-process the fruit. Food processors, blenders and such should not be used for this purpose. Doing so will cause too much bitterness from the skin and seeds of the fruit to be incorporated into the resulting wine.
• Place the fruit in a glass bowl (not the 5L fermentation bottle as the hot water will deform the plastic) and add 1 liter of hot water to it and stir the mash. The mash should now be fairly warm (i.e. 35-50 degree C) but not hot.
• View the Recipe Table and add the Pectolase, if required, and let it slowly cool down to room temperature (between 20 and 25 degree C) (this might take 1 to 2 hours)
• Pour the mash into the 5L fermentation bottle.
• Then add the sugar, yeast nutrients and acid mix and top it up with clean water to make 4.5 liters. (see picture hereafter for 4.5L mark)
• Shake the mixture well to dissolve all the sugar
You have now created a “mash” that will produce your wine.
Step -2 Sterilize your mash
• Now add the required sterilizer into the bottle and again stir slightly. The sterilizer will produce SO2 gas to kill off any bacteria, wild yeasts or fungi spores and completely sterilizes your mash.
• Cover the bottle opening with the strainer cloth (to keep insects out) to allow gas to freely escape for 24 hours.
• Gently shake the mash a few times (3 to 4) during the 24 hours to vent the SO2 and to let it escape from the bottle.
Step 3 – Start the fermentation
• After sterilization, sprinkle the required amount of yeast on top of the mash and lightly stir it into the top layer of the mash with a long spoon that has been sterilized (Placed in boiling water for at least 5 minutes and then cooled).
• Cover the bottle again with the strainer cloth.
• Leave again for about 1 day and gently shake the mash 2 to 4 times during this time.
Your mash will create a top (not all fruits will create a distinct top layer), middle and bottom layer looking not very attractive…but be patient!
During this period, the yeast will grow and multiply to start creating the wine in the next step.
Step 4 – Mash fermentation.
• After the first day, remove the strainer cloth and screw the cap with fermentation lock (bubbler) onto the fermentation bottle.
• Remove the red cap on the bubbler and fill the bubbler with water to the indicated mark.
• Replace the red cap onto the bubbler and place the fermentation bottle in a comfortable (21-25 degree C) place out of the sun.
• The yeast will now start fermenting your mash to produce alcohol for the next 4 days. You will notice bubbles of CO2 gas escaping from the “bubbler”.
• Gently shake the fermentation bottle daily (taking care not to spill the water from the bubbler.) The easiest way to do this is to hold the fermentation bottle still at the cap, and rapidly shake the bottom of the fermentation bottle horizontally.
Step 5 – Wine fermentation.
• After the 4 days of mash fermentation take a clean sterilized glass bowl (pour boiling water into it and leave for 10 minutes to sterilize before pouring of the water) and pour the mash through the straining cloth into the bowl.
• Squeeze the pulp in the straining cloth lightly to remove as much liquid as possible without squeezing pulp through the cloth.
• Rinse the fermentation bottle with clean water and pour the wine back into the fermentation bottle.
• Top up the fermentation bottle with clean water to have at least 4 liter of wine.
• Replace the bubbler (with water) onto the fermentation bottle and leave for 2 weeks to complete the fermentation. Your patience will be rewarded! If, after the 2 week period you still notice bubbles through the bubbler, leave the wine until no more bubbles escape.
• During this period, don’t shake, stir or move the wine.
• Your wine will now have fermented completely but will still look a bit “cloudy”.
Step 6 - Rack the wine.
The process to naturally clear the wine is called racking. “We rack the wine to clear it”. Racking is a simple process of syphoning off the clear wine without getting any sediment into the end product.
• Remove the fermentation bottle cap (with bubbler) and insert the syphoning tube gently into the wine without it touching or disturbing the sediment at the bottom of the fermentation bottle.
• Suck on the open end of the tube until the wine almost reaches your mouth. Then pinch the tube closed and lower it into a clean bottle (lower than the fermentation bottle) to start the syphon.
• Keep on syphoning until the wine level in the fermentation bottle almost reaches the sediment at the bottom of the fermentation bottle.
• Take care not to disturb the sediment.
• Now rinse the fermentation bottle with clean water to remove any sediment and pour the wine back into the fermentation bottle.
• Add the required amount of tannin to the wine.
• Top it up with clean water to the 4 Liter mark. Replace the bubbler cap.
• Leave again for 1 weeks without stirring and rack again to remove any sediment.
• Depending on the fruit that you have used and how fine it was mashed, you may want to rack the wine 2 to 4 times to achieve the clarity you want – leaving it to stand at least a week between rackings.
If you struggle to get the wine crystal clear, you may also place the fermentation bottle in your fridge (1 to 3 degree C) for 24 hours. This will improve the settling of sediment before racking. “Cold racking” will greatly improve the clarity of the wine.
Step 7 – Bottling
Before bottling, you have to prevent any further fermentation of the wine after bottling it. Further fermentation will produce CO2 gas that can literally pop the cork or even explode a bottle!
This is done by stabilizing the wine with the wine stabilizer.
• Before stabilizing, taste a small amount of your wine. If you would like to sweeten it, add table sugar (or artificial sweetener for diabetics) to taste.
• Now add the indicated (see Recipe table) amount of wine stabilizer to the wine in the fermentation bottle and give it a good shake to dissolve the stabilizer.
• The above step could be skipped if you are sure the wine has fermented completely dry (i.e. there is no sugar in the wine) or if you are SO2 intolerant.
• Leave for 24 hours to allow the wine to be stabilized and the S02 gas to escape.
• Sterilizing the corks to prevent any bacterial or other growths to develop in your wine during ageing: Make a mix of ½ml of sterilizer per liter water and soak the corks in the water solution for at least 6 hours to completely sterilize the corks. Also use some of the sterilizing water to rinse your wine bottles.
• Now pour the wine into the wine bottles and cork it. Be careful not to disturb any sediment that formed in the fermentation bottle after having stabilized the wine.
• Place the PCV capsule over the cork and use the hot air from a hairdryer (hottest setting) to crimp the PVC capsule tightly over the bottle.
• Your wine is now ready for the last bit of ageing! …and off-course you may enjoy some of it immediately… However, the ageing will allow the wine to mature and improve the aroma and flavour development.
• Annexure A gives indications of how long specific wines should age to achieve the best results.
• To add that “woody” oak barrel ageing taste to your wine, you may add a few oak chips (4-10gram or 5-10 chips) per bottle and strain it off just before drinking.
• And off-course no bottle of wine should go unlabeled!
• Four labels are supplied for labeling your very special wine with place to wright in your name, what kind of wine it is and on which date you bottled the wine. By using a non-permanent marker, you would be able to re-use these labels a few times.
• Let the wine bottles rest at approximately a 55 degree angle in a dark, cool area to mature.
1. To measure quantities smaller than 1ml fairly accurately, fill the measuring cup (1ml) level and spread the contents on a clean flat surface in a circular pattern an use a flat object to level the contents. Now take a knife and part the circular contents into 2 (for 0.5ml), 3 (for 0.33ml), 4 (for 0.25ml) ...amd so on.
2. Sweetening wine with sugar may require from as little as 50ml of sugar to up to 150ml of sugar for a really sweet wine. After sweetening with sugar, always use wine stabilizer to prevent further fermentation of the wine. The sugar might take quite a while to dissolve. Let the bottle lie on its side and roll it a few times until no sugar crystals can be seen.
3. Your wine can be fortified by adding vodka to the wine. Up to 300ml of vodka can be added to 350ml of wine to get a really strong wine and then sweeten it by adding up to 150ml of sugar.
4. Using the oak chips will greatly enhance the character of the wine – you have to try it!
5. Always work very clean when making wine. Ideally all equipment that touches the must (mash) or wine during the process, should be sterilized. (½ml of sterilizer to 1 liter of water and soak the equipment for at least 30 minutes in a fresh solution of sterilizing water)
6. To increase the alcohol level of your wines, you may add additional sugar (17grams per liter per % alcohol point increase) to a maximum of 18% alcohol. Likewise, if the alcohol taste in your wines are too striong to your liking, you may reduce the alcohol percentages by adding less sugar than indicated in the Recipe Table.
7. After your first few “straight wines”, be creative and start adding other safe botanicals to your wine fermentations to create more complex wines. Adding about 100g of raisings to berry wines gives good results. Adding a cinnamon stock and a few (2-5) cloves to citrus or apple wine gives it a nice “spicy” character. Adding dandelion petals or even rose petals will add that “extra” floral character.
RECIPE TABLE: (Available at:http://www.winekits.co.za/documents/recipe_table.html)
To view the process in flow diagram format, click here.