Muscat grape (Vitis rotundifolia) is perfect for amateur winemakers because it has high acidity and a robust flavor; using this grape you can skip many boring steps of winemaking. To proceed, buy the appropriate equipment and sterilize it; then make your own recipe starting from a mixture of crushed grapes, sugar, yeast and other additives. Let the must complete the fermentation and transfer it to a demijohn; when the effervescence has stopped, bottle the wine and let it mature for two or three years.
For about 3 bottles of wine
- 1, 5 kg of fresh muscat grapes
- 1, 2 kg of granulated sugar
- 1 sachet of yeast for red wines
- Nutrients for yeast
- 1 crushed tablet of sodium metabisulfite
- Stabilizer such as potassium sorbate
Part 1 of 5: Gather and Sterilize the Equipment
Step 1. Purchase wine making tools
You will need approximately 28 sodium metabisulphite tablets to sterilize tools, 2 4-liter fermentation buckets or similar food-grade containers, 2 plastic or glass demijohns, a cork and an airlock valve suitable for demijohns, a bag filter or muslin cloth, 1m long vinyl siphon, 6 glass bottles with cork stopper, corker, long handled mixing spoon and large funnel.
You can buy it all online or at an amateur winemaking shop
Step 2. Wash the instrumentation with soap and water
If it is dirty or has been used before, you must wash it before sanitizing it. To do this, fill a sink with hot water and dish soap. Thoroughly scrub all tools to remove dirt or residues; at the end, rinse them carefully to remove all traces of detergent.
If the tools have never been used, you can skip this step
Step 3. Prepare a sanitizing solution
If you don't sterilize the equipment, the wine perishes before you can even taste it. Fill the fermentation buckets with water leaving some space to allow the liquid level to rise and add 14 tablets of sodium metabisulphite to each vessel; mix the solution for a few minutes so that the tablets dissolve.
It is notoriously difficult to dissolve this substance in water, floating lumps may remain even at the end of the process
Step 4. Immerse the tools
Gently arrange them inside the two buckets; this means that you have to sanitize the glass demijohns, the cap and the airlock valve, the bag filter or the muslin cloth, the spoon and the vinyl siphon. Leave them to soak for a few minutes to kill all microorganisms.
You can also not sterilize the bottles until it is time to transfer the wine to them; you will still have to follow the same procedure
Step 5. Extract the objects from the liquid
Make sure you have washed your hands before proceeding and place wet tools on a clean, dry cloth, letting the moisture evaporate into the air; throw away the sanitizing solution found in the buckets and expose them to the air as well.
- Before throwing away the liquid, move it around the container to also remove any fragments of the tablet that have settled on the bottom.
- Do not rinse the equipment after having sanitized it.
Part 2 of 5: Prepare the Wine
Step 1. Gather the ingredients
You need 1.5 kg of fresh muscat grapes, 1.2 kg of granulated sugar, a sachet of red wine yeast, its nutrients, a sodium metabisulphite tablet and a stabilizer such as potassium sorbate; do not use frozen grapes because it alters the flavor of the finished product.
- To know the exact dose of yeast, nutrients and stabilizer, read the instructions on the respective packages; each brand indicates slightly different guidelines.
- Remove any rotten leaves, stems or fruit from the bunches and wash the berries.
Step 2. Remove the peels
You can cut each grain by hand or freeze it to pop the peel; in the latter case, transfer the fruit to a large clean bowl and place it in the freezer for 3-4 hours. Then wait for it to thaw at room temperature for a couple of hours; when the grapes are thawed, mash them with a potato masher or with clean hands.
Step 3. Prepare the brew mix
Pour 3 liters of water into one of the sanitized fermentation buckets; add sugar, crushed sodium metabisulfite tablet, yeast nutrients and potassium sorbate. Mix all the ingredients until they are well blended.
- Make sure the spoon is clean and sterilized.
- Read the instructions on the yeast nutrient and potassium sorbate packaging for the exact doses to use.
Step 4. Pour the crushed grapes into the bag filter
To avoid excessively dirtying the work area, proceed over the fermentation bucket; when the filter is full, knot it and gently deposit it into the brew mixture.
This type of bag allows you to easily remove solid residues from the wine without having to filter it
Step 5. Cover the bowl with a cloth and set it aside
Find a quiet place where no one can bump and overturn the bucket; then let the mixture rest for 24 hours. During this phase the sodium metabisulphite sanitizes the wine.
Don't worry if the wort smells funny; sodium metabisulphite releases faint sulfur fumes during the process
Step 6. Add the yeast
Once the mixture has rested for 24 hours, distribute this ingredient on the surface, stirring with a sanitized spoon; cover the bucket again with a clean tea towel and transfer it to a dark, cool room with a temperature between 22 and 25 ° C.
Read the instructions on the yeast sachet to find out how much to use
Part 3 of 5: Complete the First Fermentation
Step 1. Let the wort ferment for 5-7 days
Stir it daily with the sterilized spoon to push the bag to the bottom. As you proceed, check for bubbles; after 5-7 days the liquid should no longer emit while mixing. The absence of bubbles indicates that the must has completed the first fermentation.
Remember to store the liquid in a cool, dark place with a temperature between 22 and 25 ° C
Step 2. Use a hydrometer or acidity test
Both allow to define the phase in which the liquid is found. However, the high acidity of the Moscatine grapes makes such frequent monitoring unnecessary as that for other types of wine; However, if you want to use these tools, buy them online or at a winemaking equipment store.
- If you have decided to use a hydrometer, know that the first fermentation ends when you detect a value of 1.030.
- If you have opted for an acidity test, measure the wine after 24 hours of fermentation and then once a day; the acidity level must remain below 7 parts per trillion of tartaric acid.
Step 3. Filter the wine by pouring it into the clean fermentation bucket
First, remove the bag and squeeze it to extract every last drop of liquid; tie a sheet of cheesecloth over the opening of the clean bucket using a large rubber band or string and making sure the fabric is not taut. Pour the contents of the first bucket into the second, so that any solid residue is retained by the cheesecloth.
After racking, throw away the cheesecloth and collected residues
Step 4. Transfer the filtered wine to the demijohn
If necessary, ask a friend to help you with this step. Insert the funnel into the opening of the carboy, then carefully pour the liquid, stopping when the level is a few centimeters from the top; if you have made a lot of wine, you may need two demijohns. Tightly insert the cork and airlock valve into the opening.
If you don't know how tight the cap and valve should be, read the manufacturer's instructions for the carboy you purchased
Step 5. Let the wine ferment for three weeks
Put the demijohn in the cool, dark place you used for the first fermentation and leave the liquid undisturbed for at least 21 days; check the valve and cap daily to make sure they stay firmly in place.
- If they move, tighten them again, otherwise bacteria and residues can get into the wine.
- Make sure your hands are clean before touching these items.
Step 6. Examine the wine
After three weeks, check the liquid carefully. If the foam is absent or in minimal quantity and you notice a dark sediment on the bottom of the container, the wine is ready to be decanted; if not, let it sit for another week before checking it again.
Part 4 of 5: Transfer the Wine
Step 1. Prepare for decanting
Put the full demijohn on the table or a chair with a flat base, taking care not to mix the sediment that is on the bottom; approach the second demijohn leaving it on the ground, at a lower level. Make sure that this second container is also clean and sanitized.
If you stir the sediment, let the liquid sit for a few hours before proceeding; in this way, the residues precipitate again
Step 2. Insert the siphon
Remove the cap, the airlock valve and set them aside on a clean cloth; insert the siphon into the demijohn until the tip is a few centimeters from the sediment.
If the tube touches the debris, it sucks it up and transfers it to the new container making all the work useless
Step 3. Vacuum the wine
Suck from the free end of the tube until you taste the drink; then quickly bring the tube into the second demijohn and fill it. Monitor the process closely to make sure sediment is not being transferred.
- If you are concerned about contaminating the wine with bacteria from your mouth, use a bulb syringe to begin pouring.
- You can buy bulb syringes online or at winemaking equipment stores.
Step 4. Reinsert the cap and valve
Screw them tightly using clean hands; put the demijohn in the cold and dark place to continue fermentation.
Clean and sterilize the old demijohn after racking; otherwise, solid deposits adhere to the bottom and their removal becomes very difficult
Step 5. Continue decanting the wine
Check for sediment every three weeks and transfer the liquid from one container to another to purify it; the whole process takes up to nine weeks. When the liquid is perfectly clear, you can bottle it.
Part 5 of 5: Bottle the Wine
Step 1. Transfer the wine to clean bottles using the siphon
Take a clean and sanitized tube to transfer the liquid into equally sterilized bottles; remember to work in an easy-to-clean environment, as the process could be a bit messy.
If you don't want to contaminate the wine with bacteria in your mouth, use a bulb syringe to aspirate it
Step 2. Use a capper to seal the bottles
The models of the various manufacturers are all different, so follow the instruction manual regarding use; make sure you have enough corks for all bottles.
If the capper moves with difficulty, use the WD-40 to lubricate the moving parts; however, do not apply it to surfaces that come into contact with the wine or the cork
Step 3. Label the bottles with the date and ingredients
You can use a specific machine or sheets of paper and adhesive tape to create a personalized label for your wine; do not forget the date and the list of ingredients, this information allows you to understand when you can enjoy the drink.
Be detailed when writing down the ingredients, so you know immediately which recipe you used, in case you liked the wine or wanted to make changes
Step 4. Let the drink ferment for two to three years
It is difficult to resist the temptation to open a bottle of homemade wine; however, its flavor is better after a period of aging. If you simply can't wait, remember that the drink is safe to consume even if its flavor isn't the best.