This simplified recipe for making wine yielded some of the best tasting wine ever.
Step 1: Collect your materials.
You will need something to drain the berries with.
Step 2: Get some edible fruit. These are huckleberries.
I think the huckleberry is the "secret" to how smooth this wine ended up tasting.
Step 3: One balloon will be needed.
Short and fat balloons work good.
Step 4: The cheesecloth helps with the draining.
You could use a substitute, I have boiled a plain white T-Shirt and used that before.
Step 5: A funnel and two packets of yeast are needed.
Some recipes call for champagne yeast. Normal yeast has made good tasting wine for me.
Step 6: An empty distilled water jug works perfect.
You will need the lid too.
Step 7: Clean the berries.
Get rid of the stems, leaves, and berries that are not ripe. Also throw out berries that look dried up.
Step 8: You will need four cups of cleaned berries.
This does not have to be exact. Close enough is good enough for all the measurements in this recipe.
Step 9: Measure out 2 and a half cups of sugar.
Set the sugar aside for a few.
Step 10: Smash the berries.
The plastic piece I use for this works good and does not hurt my glass measuring bowl.
Step 11: The berries should be smashed until they look like this.
If you stop here, you have created a good dye. Do not get it on anything unless you want it purple.
Step 12: I had to pour the berries into a bigger bowl.
The bigger bowl makes it harder to "chase" the berries around to squish them. The smaller bowl makes it harder to stir the ingredients up later. So two bowls are used.
Step 13: Pour the sugar onto the berries.
The ratio I am using is 4 cups of fruit to 2 1/2 cups of sugar.
Step 14: Pour six cups of boiling water onto the sugar and fruit pile. Stir.
Whatever you stir this with may be stained. This may be true of your other vessels used with the berries.
Step 15: Cover the mixture with the cheesecloth. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Save the cheesecloth. Rinse it when done.
Step 16: Pour the cooled mixture into the jug.
Pour it slowly and poke the berries if needed so they do not clog your funnel. It overflows the funnel kind of easy and you can lessen it by lifting the funnel a little to let the air escape from the jug.
Step 17: Now pour the yeast packets (2) into the jug.
Add the yeast. You should have more in your jug because this batch spilled some.
Step 18: Use the jug's lid, and shake up the berry, sugar, water, and yeast mixture
The balloon you "install" in the next step will fill up with gas. When it sags, you can drink the wine. Or, you can put the lid back on for another round of shaking. If you do, reinstall the balloon and wait until it sags again. Note: If the balloon only fills a small amount it may not sag. You can look in the side of the jug and see bubbles moving. If there is no movement and it is not refilling the balloon, it is probably done. The batch that tasted best so far was shook after 2 days and 4 days.
Step 19: Install the balloon.
It helps to stretch the balloon a little at first. The lid is not on the jug.
Step 20: Use the cheesecloth and strainer to catch the seeds, skins, and parts you do not want to drink.
You can strain the wine a couple of times and get it pretty clear. Only one time around yields cloudy wine. It still tastes good though. More sediment reveals itself later by settling in the bottle. My guess is that the sediment is either yeast or sugar or some of both. Shaking the bottle up will alter the taste of the wine.
Step 21: Here is what the wine looks like when the sediment settles.
The sediment does not mix much with the wine if you pour slowly.