make wine, you need some form of a liquid with sugar and other flavors
in it. Grapes represent the ideal porportion of water, sugar and
flavor, and often come with their own yeast to the pot, but many other
fruits and vegetables can be used to make wine with sugar, water and
yeast added to them. All it takes is time.
is no need to rack or decant the wine from
off the sediments
before as long as no sulfur (Campden tablets) were added at the
beginning of the wine-making process. It is the sulfur that makes wine
bitter, not the yeast, which has a sweet taste with a lot of nuances in
To make your
or juice, mix
pieces of fruit or root vegetables (like potatoes and carrots) in a
blender with water, or put them in a slow cooker and slow cook until
they are mushy and can be passed through a sieve. Another option is to
put the items in a bucket and pour hot water over them, and then let it
steep for a day or two, as described below. When the liquid is
cooled, steeped or blended sufficiently, strain it though a jelly bag
cheesecloth (muslin). If using dry sugar, add about 3-4 pounds of sugar
liquid (a pound or 1 1/3 cups per quart ), or make a sugar syrup
and use the proportions given below. Use the smaller amount of
sugar if using a
sweet fruit or vegetable, the larger amount if flavoring the wine with
flowers, leaves or tea. Add yeast starter. Mix. Transfer to glass
Cover with airlocks. When
sediment forms on the bottom and liquid clears, the
wine is drinkable, but can be left to age and develop for a
or more if desired.
using sulfur means getting an occasional bottle of off wine or vinegar,
but that's not worth putting sulfur into every bottle of wine
make. Commercial wine brewers have to do it because they need all their
wine to taste the same, but a home brewer doesn't have to worry about
variations in the taste of their wine. Sometimes
the variation can be a champagne-like
wine caused by
a malo-lactic acid ferment. These "contaminations"
are caused by failure to kill wild bacteria in the fermentation with
sulphur. I choose to risk the odd bottle of organic wine vinegar rather
than add bitter sulfur to my wine.
things to have on hand
and clean empty
If wine labels do not come off easily after soaking in warm, soapy
water, try pouring boiling hot water into the bottle. The label then
can be easily scraped off with a knife, and some may peel off.]
the airlocks pictured here you will need:Small
rubber bands (I
slices from a bicycle inner tube) and pieces of plastic sheeting (I use
cut up plastic grocery bags).
netting or a sieve.
sugar syrup and store
it in a cool place
(you can also use plain sugar at a ratio of 1 cup per quart or 1 pound
buy wine yeast if you like. Using
wild yeast is a lot more fun, and it is available for free everywhere.
See harvesting wild
yeast for ways
to make a
starter by harvesting yeast from the wild.
some fruit, either fresh, frozen or dried, into a clean plastic bucket
large glass jug. For each bottle of wine you wish to make, use about a
pint of fruit. You can also use edible flowers like dandelion or tree
leaves such as oak, birch or maple. However, if you use only tree
leaves that don't supply any sugar, add 50% more sugar to the
directions below.Cover and let sit for a day. After a
day, open the cover and mash the fruit with a dowel, wooden spoon or
your hands. Re-cover and let sit for another day.
hot water over the
fruit or other plant material.The hot water can
be tea made with herbs and spices first and then re-heated.
prepare to pour out the liquid:
a jug or other clean
with coarse filter or
the liquid from the fruit through the filter. In some cases, you may
also wish to squeeze out as much of the liquid as you can. (Hand
squeezing the pulp will give you more sugar and flavor but more work
removing the pulp later on -- your call.)
each liter bottle of wine, measure 500 mls (about a pint) of the liquid.
the 500 mls (about a
liquid into a clean empty
50 mls (3
tablespoons + 1 teaspoon) yeast
each bottle with an
airlock that will
keep bugs out but allow the fermenting gas to escape.
a few days to about a week (or more, depending on conditions and
activity of the yeast), the wine (technical name = "must") will start
to ferment, but this need not concern you. You can buy a store-bought
airlock if you want to watch the process, but it's not necessary. Let
it sit somewhere
undisturbed for 1-2 months at room temperature.
After you are sure the wine is "still" and will not ferment
any more, you can put
a plastic cork on the bottle, but this is not essential. If you
don't have any, you can
to use the piece of plastic (make sure it's not bio-degradable) and
sturdy rubber band that you used for
After a few
months or a year -- more is better -- decant the wine into a nice
decanter slowly and carefully to leave the sediment behind.
Taste, Health and Community With Naturally Fermented Foods
and Herbal Healing Beers by Stephen