Wine Making 101
Wine Making has come a long way from the early times. Sure the overall process is technically the same but there are so many more steps involved in creating the perfect wine. However, you can still make a great wine at home without all the fancy equipment and science that the big wine makers have.
Wine is a drink that has been included as an integral part of many different occasions throughout the centuries. Whether the individual was rich or poor, people have enjoyed wine which they made themselves or purchased from another. The main ingredient in wine is grapes and there are a number of different types of grapes that are used for the various wines available.
In wine making, either white or black grapes are used. For white grapes, there is the Chardonnay, Chennin Blanc, Columbard, Gewurztraminer, Muscat, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and the Silvaner to name a few. For black grapes, the Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Malbec, Merlot, Ruby Cabernet and Zinfandel could be used. These are just some of the type’s grapes that are chosen and can be used independently or combined with another grape for a more unique flavor.
The Types of Wines
When selecting a wine, you will find white, red or a light pink otherwise known as rosé. These three wines are then categorized into table wines, dinner wines and dessert wines. You may learn about Aperitif wines, fortified wines and also near wines which are all just as pleasant to drink but have a slightly different purpose and delight to the palette.
The white, red and pink call all be served at the “table”. Some red wines may have a bolder flavor than others but each one offers the aroma and flavors that many wine lovers prefer. However, the white table wines offer lighter, more delicate flavors. The pink or rosé table wines are obviously in between the red and white and will please just about anyone.
Dessert wines are very sweet and are designed to complement the decadent sweetness of desserts. Aperitif wines are created to drink before a meal and can be make with herbs. Fortified wines are your ports, Madeira and sherries. Near wines include fruit and perhaps flowers during the fermentation process to give a whole new flavor to enjoy.
Ready for Wine Making?
If you choose to, you could buy a wine making kit. There are a number of different brands and each one of course is similar so it’s up to you which kit attracts you the most. There are starter kits and kits to make red or white wines. Most kits will make 1, 3 or 6 gallons of wine. If you are not sure if you want to spend the money to make your own wine, the kits are the best way to go.
Even if you don’t buy a starter kit, you will still need to buy equipment and supplies and sometimes a kit tends to be cheaper so you may want to look around to see what’s best for you. If you buy online, find a website that offers the kits down to the accessories. If the website as a question and answer/tip page or, better yet, offers their e-mail or phone number for help is always a plus.
You may want to purchase all your supplies up front. You will need a fermenter, carboys, glass bottles, tubes, siphon equipment, thermometer, filters and strainer(s), stoppers, airlocks, cleansers and sanitizers and tools to measure and test the acidity and taste. Some of these you will need before you begin but you could wait until the wine is in its fermenting process to make many of the additional purchases.
Of course, don’t forget you need to buy your grapes, yeast and additives too. By the way, do you have a recipe you are going to follow or are you just going to smash the grapes and see what happens? There are numerous wonderfully delicious recipes on the Internet you can search through but if you want to create your own then by all means go for it!
If you are new to wine making, I would recommend learning some of the terms about the wine making process itself along with familiarizing yourself with the various steps and equipment that will be required. Don’t forget that some of the best wines require six months or more of storage time in a cool and dark room.
I think the hardest part of making wine is being patient. The recipe, the ingredients and equipment are all important. Your techniques and thoroughness are just as important to create a beautifully homemade wine. With a little effort and a lot of patience, your wine making skills will evolve and before you know it, you will be hosting wine parties to share your homemade wines.