What Do I Need to Make Wine at Home?

Part science and part art, the theory behind wine-making is deceptively simple. Allow grape juice to ferment using naturally occurring yeasts, and with a little time you have wine. Making your own wine became popular in the 1970s, and although the availability of reasonably priced wines has changed the market, there are many who still want to make their own. But what do you need to get started?

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Basic Equipment

A large (4-gallon) food-safe plastic bucket
Three 1-gallon glass jugs or demijohns
Three airlocks and bungs that fit the mouth of the jugs
A funnel that fits the mouth of the jugs
A large straining bag (usually nylon mesh)
A length of half-inch plastic tubing (about six feet)
15+ wine bottles (each jug will produce about 5 bottles)
Corks and a hand corker to insert them
A hydrometer, which is used to measure sugar levels

If you choose to make your own wine from scratch, you will need to buy lots of grapes. Discard any fruit that is past its best or oddly shaped, throw away the stems, wash well and put it into the large plastic bucket.

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You’ll need to create wine must by squashing the grapes (or treading them, if you’re feeling traditional), then add some wine yeast to start fermentation. You may need to add extra sugar at this point.

A week to ten days later, strain the juice from the pulp and decant it into the smaller glass jugs. This second fermentation takes several weeks, after which you can decant the wine to remove sediment before bottling it.

Wines produced at a vineyard (like those available from http://thewinecompanyni.com/) are either from a single grape variety or skilfully blended to get a particular taste. You could try to create your own blend using this advice from The Telegraph. If you prefer not to take the risk of fermenting something yourself, you can buy wine starter kits which make grapes and the primary fermentation unnecessary. If you want the ultimate in reliability, then just order the finished product from online wine merchants in Northern Ireland.

After that it’s a matter of patience – red wine needs up to a year to age, but white can be ready in just six months. Then you can enjoy the fruits of your labour.

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