Instructables

How to make wine

In this instructable, I will demonstrate the process of making a medium-quality apple wine.
 
 
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
You will need the following as base materials for this project. There are cheaper ways to do this, but the resulting wine will have a different taste and texture. These materials will produce a medium-grade wine, somewhere between hobo wine and connoisseur wine. Check out the Alternatives step for other options.

Sterilization:
1 - bottle of the cheapest vodka you can find (isopropyl alcohol also works for this, but requires a bit more rinsing)
1 - gallon size sauce pan (or whatever large size you might have)
1 - pair of tongs

Bottle and Bottling:
1 - 5 gallon water-cooler jug (or a 5 gallon carboy)
1 - large funnel
1 - pack of coffee filters

Air Lock:
1 - 6" section of 1/4" inner diameter PVC pipe
1 - 4' long 3/8" inner diameter, food rated vinyl tubing (The "food rated" quality is important for safety.)
1 - rubber stopper, 1-3/16" x 1-1/2" x 1" to go on the jug
1 - empty 20 oz bottle
1 - drill with 3/8" bit

Wine Contents:
2 - 1 gallon jug of apple cider, preferably unpasteurized. NO preservatives.
1 - 5 lb bag of granulated white sugar
1 - WLP775- English Cider Yeast

Cost:
I don't have receipts for any of this, but here are my best estimates, and estimating high for worst case. (Also, rounding up to nearest 5 increment, for those checking my math.)

Vladimir vodka: $15 (only maybe 1/3 of it was actually used in this project though)

Bottle and bottling: $40. (We had to buy a full 5-gallon water jug, which drove the price up. Empty jugs would lower the cost down to around $25. Check Craigslist for empty jugs.)
-Jug: $35ish
-Funnel: $1
-Coffee Filters: $1 (only like 1/10 of these were used though)

Air Lock: $15. (All parts can be picked up at your local Lowes or Home Depot. Also, this cost is assuming you already have the drill and bit.)
-Stopper: $5 (came in a larger pack)
-PVC pipe: $3
-Vinyl tubing: $5
-20 oz bottle: $1

Wine Contents: $30 (Shipping for the yeast hits this number pretty hard. It was almost as much to ship the yeast as it was to buy it.)
-Cider was about $4 each with tax
-Yeast was about $14 with shipping
-Sugar was about $7 with tax

Totals:
One time (Start-up) cost: $50 (bottle, air lock, and funnel)
Content cost: approximately $9.50 per gallon for 4 gallons, or $11 per gallon for 2 gallons
akinich4 years ago
hey nice ible
ok i have a question
i used fresh fruit and first what i did was boiled the water and got it to room temperature then i added the sugar afterthat did i put the fruit pulp
then i added the yeast
it does not bubble at all
what should i doo?
akinich akinich4 years ago
oh yeah 1 more thing
after a while the fruit floats to the top and the liquid is in the bottom
please reply fast
chakra4 years ago
of all instructables, yours make a lot of sense to a simpleton like me!! straight and easy way of tellin...
  i'll be tryin with grape juice i made on my own from fresh grapes!!
thanks a lot!!
Arx5 years ago
That's not an air-lock. It'll certainly reduce the amount of air that gets in, but a proper air-lock that you can fill with water or alcohol costs about $3 If you want to keep it as cheap as possible, a balloon with some pin-holes in it is the traditional ghetto method. It'll be cheaper than your rubber bung and pipe, it'll work better, and it'll also allow you to see if it's fermenting (the balloon will stand up)
Arx5 years ago
You're not properly sanitizing that bottle at all. it might work if you poured a lot of vodka in straight and swished it around without adding water, but it's way too expensive to use that way. You can get a 1/2 lb package of Potassium metabisulphate for a few bucks. It can be used to sanitize your bottles/equipment, and is also the same chemical used to prevent competition to your yeast during fermenting, and as an antioxidant to allow the wine to age better after you bottle it. The couple shots of vodka in 1/3 bottle of water works out to about 0.5%ABV. That's insignificant. You could just drink the shots instead, and your odds of spoilage won't get any worse.
Grady5 years ago
I made wine out of a bunch of peaches, regular fleischmann's yeast, sugar, water in a 5-gallon pail. It turned out o.k., but the flavor sure could've been improved. LOL
Babyshoes6 years ago
Looks good! A friend of mine tried making wine with grapes, and it was horrible, so if yours tastes ok, then well done! Here in the UK, of course, cider is already alcoholic. I assume ordinary apple juice would do the same job? (Assuming it is pure with no additives...) How is this wine different from English cider? I assume it must be, but I am not sure how, since you use 'cider yeast'... Does it taste like normal wine, or is it still apple-y? Also, in the US, what is the difference between cider and apple juice? Is there a difference? (Just curious!)
Grady Babyshoes5 years ago
juice is juice. Fermenting 1 time produces the booze; Ferment it again, & you have Vinegar. So, apple cider vinegar is apples that has been fermented twice. This is what I read in a book;.
BrainiacVince (author)  Babyshoes6 years ago
Apple juice should still work for the fermentation, but might require a bit more sugar, or maybe less depending on the brand of juice. Some brands of juice use a little bit of actual juice, a lot of water and a lot of sugar or other sweetener. Those brands will produce a very different wine, if they will even ferment into what can be considered wine. I think it's Welch's juice that claims to be 100% juice. I'm not sure if they make apple juice or not, but if they do, it should produce similar results. The most important quality is that it can't have preservatives because that will kill the yeast. I've never had English cider, so I'm not sure exactly how it differs from this wine. The cider yeast is used to produce a more earthy flavored wine, kind of like smelling fresh soil after a warm summer rain is the best way I could describe it. It still definitely tastes like apple, but has the distinct earthy alcohol flavor as well. It provides an interesting taste combination and is still smooth like normal wine though. Cider here is usually a fresher form of apple juice, possibly made just by pressing fresh apples if you are close enough to a grove. It's also usually more pure than apple juice too, specifically, less (or not at all) watered down. Again, I'm not entirely sure how it differs from English cider because I've never had English cider. From the way you describe it, we'd probably call it hard cider because it has the alcohol. I know that lemonade follows the same convention (for example, Mike's Hard Lemonade).
Great instructable! Thanks for taking the time. I've read instructions on making wine before and have always been hesitant of how much work it seemed - but your instructions make it pretty straight forward. To filter, I assume you are using paper coffee filters? Is there a reason you arent just including that as a firm step rather than just a recommendation - it sounds like the most sensible way to avoid dead yeast in your product. Does it lose anything else by straining? Do you know/think commercial wineries strain their product? Also, as an alternative to pouring/straining and dealing with foam and dead yeast - what do you think of this idea: using a hand pump syphon (probably could get one at the dollar store or an automotive parts stores). Suspending it halfway down the bottle will avoid both the foam and the yeast sediment at the bottom. Just a thought What types of wine have you tried making - and what has yielded the best results?
BrainiacVince (author)  joeny19806 years ago
I'm glad you like it and found it informative. Thanks for taking the time to read.

Yes, we just used standard paper coffee filters that we bought at our local dollar store. There reason I didn't include it as an actual step is because you really don't have to do it. Yes, it make the wine a better quality, but also takes an extra hour or two to filter all the alcohol. It really depends on the quality you're attempting to achieve. You lose a very negligible amount of the wine that soaks into the filters, but other than that, you shouldn't lose anything by filtering. I'm not sure how commercial wineries make their products. If I had to guess, I'd say they do filter it at some point because losing a large percentage of the initial product from every batch is very wasteful and is bad for profits.

The hand pump idea is something we thought about after we had finished this, but even with the hand pump, you're still going to end up stirring up some of the yeast as you pull the wine out, so you're still going to have to filter it. You'd probably use less filters from the wine being a bit cleaner to start with, but it would probably also take more time than just pouring. Since coffee filters are dirt cheap, better to use a few extra of them than to spend more time. Also, there shouldn't be any foam when you pour. All the foam should have long since gone away when you start bottling.

The apple wine has been the only wine we've made so far. However, my roommate did make some blackberry mead a little over a month ago. The mead takes a few more weeks than the wine to actually finish, so we haven't gotten to try it yet. However, it should be ready just about in time for our graduation party. Lol. If it turns out well, I'll post an extra step with how to make the blackberry mead since the process is almost identical.

BrainiacVince (author)  BrainiacVince5 years ago
As a followup to this, the blackberry mead didn't turn out well. The flavor didn't turn out like we hoped, so we probably did something wrong when we tried to make it. Since my roommate and I have both graduated now and are living a few states away, I doubt there will be much update to that process any time soon.
Thanks for replying. I read a few more instrucatables on the topic and others have said you need three other chemicals to make this. Any idea on what the difference is with or without these?
Just writing separately with a little more on the difference between UK and US cider, and US apple cider and apple juice. BrainiacVince was quite correct: there's no legal difference between "apple cider" and "apple juice" in the US. "Apple cider" tends to be less sweet and less finely filtered, whereas "apple juice" is very sweet and clear, but these distinctions aren't defined or enforced by law. "Hard cider" is also available, which is roughly equivalent to English cider, although markedly weaker--4-5% alcohol by volume is typical, whereas I understand the English product can range up to 8.5% (a very stiff tipple by the standards of many Americans, but I wouldn't mind trying a bottle). There's also "applejack," a freeze-distilled hard cider that can contain as much as 30-40% abv and, as I understand, have effects similar to those I've heard are experienced by consumers of rough scrumpy (viz. waking up dressed as a schoolgirl in a ditch three towns away from where you started drinking).

In any event, "cider" or "apple cider" without further qualification will always refer to the non-alcoholic product around here unless the context makes it very clear that the drink is alcoholic. "Hard cider" is the term to use otherwise. As for brands, Wyder's is widely available, but I like Woodchuck better, and it's not much harder to find. Naturally, if there's a local brand, I'd advise going for that--that's the way to go for getting good beer here in the States as well.
TrevorD915 years ago
could you use Fruit punch or something instead of grape juice or apple juice?
FireBAT6 years ago
To clarify the definitions- if the drink is labeled "juice" it must be 100% juice, fresh or made from concentrate. It can not have any added water or sugar. If it is made with juice but has other things added, it is a "juice drink". The American version of cider is apple juice that is not processed- no filtration (except maybe straining out the chunks and grit). Commercial cider must, by law, be pasteurized, which kills bacteria, and, probably, the yeast that causes fermentation. Fresh, unpasteurized cider may be sold by orchards, but it must have a warning saying it is not pasteurized. Apple juice is cider that has been extensively filtered and clarified to remove the suspended solids that give the cider its cloudy colour and sharp flavour. It is still 100% apple juice. Hope that helps. I'm currently processing about 500 pounds of apples using a 150-year-old hand-cranked cider mill.
BrainiacVince (author)  FireBAT6 years ago
Thank you for the clarification. I didn't know there were standards on the naming conventions, but it doesn't surprise me with how strict the FDA usually is.
Matt D6556 years ago
yo braniacvince- my dad told me if u leave a gallon of apple cyder in the basement fir a long time it will ferment,is that true?
BrainiacVince (author)  Matt D6556 years ago
if you take a store-bought gallon, don't open it, and leave it, I doubt it will ferment. It would eventually spoil from bacteria getting/being in it, but as far as I know, those bacteria do not release alcohol. You would need to add yeast or the cider would need yeast in it already. You'd also have to add some sugar to get a noticeable amount of alcohol. The yeast requires a lot of sugar to digest to produce the alcohol, typically more than a store-bought gallon of apple cider has.
PATSY0016 years ago
I homebrew my own beer (very similar to brewing wine), and sanitation (sterilization) is the most important part, you don't want to skimp on this part. Take your time and do it thoroughly or you may end up with "off tastes" or even worse you could end up with a batch full of mold. make sure to sanitize EVERYTHING that will come into contact with your wine-making (spoons, pots, pans, hoses, carboy, bottles, hands, etc.) A good place to find economical, easy to use sanitizer (as well as almost everything else you could ever need for brewing beer/wine) is:

http://www.northernbrewer.com/sanitizers.html

I prefer the "One Step"
gmjhowe6 years ago
Very nice, written up very well. and i love the stuff u used, most of it easy to get hold off. You should start selling it now!
BrainiacVince (author)  gmjhowe6 years ago
Yeah, home brewing is amazingly easy to start. It's just a matter of knowing what all you need. However, I doubt I'll sell it. I'd probably need a liquor license for that. Lol. Thanks for reading!