Winemaking – A Great Hobby
If like me you really enjoy a glass of wine, or if your looking for an enjoyable hobby, the next step in the appreciation of fine wine might be to produce your own wine at home. While you might imagine the process to be a complicated one, wine can in fact be made rather easily at home. Before beginning the process of making your own organic wine at home it is important to understand the basic steps of wine making.
In order to produce a drinkable wine at home, you will need either quality organic grape concentrate or to purchase some actual grapes. If you have a sufficient growing area, you may even decide to grow your own grapes and make wine from them. If you choose to use grape concentrate, keep in mind that you will need to use high quality grape concentrate. It can be purchased on the Internet as well as in wine and home brewing stores. The other the things you’ll require are yeast and brewing equipment. If this is your first batch of wine you may wish to consider purchasing a wine kit rather than buying each piece of equipment individually. Once you have had a chance to try making wine at home and decided whether it is a hobby you wish to continue, you then might begin getting together various pieces of equipment for brewing larger batches of organic wine.
There are five to eight basic steps involved in the wine making process, depending on whether you are using grapes or concentrate. If you are using grapes from the vine then the fruit will obviously need to be harvested first. After you have harvested the grapes, you will need to remove the stems from the grapes. This is a really important step as very bitter tannins, that will have a big impact on the taste of the finished wine, are contained in the stems.
After you’ve removed the stems, the skins of the grapes will need to be broken in order to release the juice from the fruit. There are many different ways to do this. Crushing the grapes is the preferred method for the majority of winemakers. The degree to which the fruit is crushed will have an impact on the resulting wine. If, for example, you want to create a wine with a fruity aroma then you may wish to keep the fruit almost completely whole.
The next procedure is known as the primary fermentation. During this step the yeast cells contained in the wine will feed on the sugars. Alcohol and carbon dioxide result from this stage. In some cases, you may wish to add more yeast. This helps to ensure a stable and consistent conversion which may not be the case if you rely solely on the yeast that is found in the fruit itself.
After the primary fermentation, more juice will need to be extracted from the fruit. It should be noted that the juice that is extracted in this step is typically not as high in quality as the juice that is extracted during the crushing phase. This is because the juice that is obtained during crushing, often referred to as free run juice, has had less contact with the stems and skins. This does not mean that press juice is useless however. Even large wineries may choose to use press juice in order to produce a bigger yield.
A secondary fermentation occurs after the pressing, now the that the wine is aging. It is the winemaker, that will determine how long the wine should ferment to produce the taste he or she is looking for. Blending is an optional step. It is, however, one which can assist you in making a highly customized wine. Blending is most commonly used in order to improve two or more batches which may be slightly lacking in sweetness or the desired taste.
The final stage of the wine making process is bottling. The wine is poured into bottles and you may possibly want to add sulfates in order to help stop fermentation as well as to preserve the wine. Finally, the bottle of wine is sealed with a cork or, more lately, a screw top. Making wine at home can be a very enjoyable experience and a fun hobby. As you learn more about the process of making wine , you will likely gain a more thorough appreciation of wine.
Speaking of wine appreciation, the Santa Barbara Wine Country, with it’s large number of excellent wineries, vineyards and tasting rooms is a wonderful place to do some wine appreciation, and tasting. For tips on exactly which wineries to visit on a Santa Barbara wine tour, click on the link.