Making wine using grape juice
Making your own wine from grape juice might sound like something from the Prohibition era, but you can make some relatively tasty wine once you perfect the process. For those who want to try wine making without buying their own vineyard, using grape juice is an affordable and practical option.
You don’t need all that much equipment to make wine out of grape juice, so if you already have large bottles and funnels at home, you might not need to buy more than juice, sugar and wine yeast to get started.
Why make wine from grape juice?
This is a good question — if you can buy wine from the store, why should you make your own? Once you have the right equipment, making your own wine is affordable and likely to taste nicer than a store-bought wine of a similar price to the cost of the ingredients. What’s more, you know exactly what’s gone into your wine, so it will be free from preservatives and artificial additives, such as sulfites, which are found in most wines and can trigger migraines. Finally, you might simply want to make your own wine as a fun experiment.
Is wine made from grape juice good?
Wine made from grape juice is hardly going to taste like a dusty bottle of aged fine wine from the cellar of a collector, but it can taste like a decent table wine. There’s nothing wrong with some everyday wine — just don’t set your sights too high.
How to make wine from grape juice
Now we get to the important part: how to start the DIY wine-making process. We’ve outlined the steps below but be aware that there are often several days between each step of the process. If you simply run through all the steps without waiting, you’ll just have sugary, yeasty grape juice, not wine.
Start by collecting and preparing all the supplies you’ll need to make your wine. Here’s what you’ll need:
Mix part of the juice and yeast
Start by washing and drying your gallon (or larger) bottle. Pour 1 pint of grape juice into the bottle, using the funnel to avoid spilling, then add a sachet of wine yeast (or around 1 teaspoon if the yeast comes from a larger container). The juice must be at room temperature because it can shock the yeast if it’s too cold. Put the lid on the bottle and shake it vigorously to mix the juice and the yeast. Place the bottle somewhere warm, but not in direct sunlight, and leave it for approximately 24 hours.
The day after mixing the yeast and the first pint of grape juice, you should notice the mixture starting to bubble. Open the lid and add an additional 3 pints of grape juice to the juice and yeast mixture. You should have 2 pints of grape juice remaining, but you won’t need this until later. Put the lid back on the gallon bottle, but loosely enough to allow the gasses produced by fermentation to escape — otherwise you could have a mess on your hands.
After adding more juice to your gallon bottle, it’s time to make a sugar solution that you’ll add to the wine later. Use a funnel to transfer 18 ounces of granulated sugar to your clean quart bottle. Now top it up with enough recently boiled water to fill the bottle roughly three-quarters. Put the lid on the bottle and shake it until the sugar has dissolved. Set it aside for two to three days.
Two to three days after the previous step, on day four or five of the wine-making process, the wine should be starting to ferment well, so it’s time to add a further pint of grape juice and the prepared sugar solution into the mix. Swirl the bottle to mix the ingredients then put the lid loosely back on the bottle and leave it for another five to six days.
You should now be on roughly day 10 of the wine-making process, and it’s time to add the final pint of grape juice. Replace the lid loosely and get ready to wait longer.
You’ve now done most of the hard work, but you’ll need to wait for another two to three weeks to allow the fermentation process to slow to a near-stop. You’ll know when you’ve reached this point because the mixture inside the bottle will have stopped bubbling completely — or you’ll notice just the odd bubble now and then. You now have wine.
With the fermentation process close to complete, put the bottle in the fridge for three days to chill the wine and halt the fermentation process completely. Without this step, the wine could keep slowly fermenting and become too strong.
Your wine is now ready to drink. You can simply drink it straight from the gallon bottle, but you may prefer to pour it into smaller, more manageable bottles. These can be old wine bottles or swing top bottles. Pour smoothly and carefully to avoid disturbing the sediment at the bottom of your gallon bottle.
Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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