If you have ever wanted to make your own wine but thought that making good wine was difficult, then think again. Making wine is easy, especially if you make it from frozen juice concentrates. You can make grape, apple, cranberry or any other kind of wine you like by just browsing a grocery store's freezer case.
Equipment you will need can be found in the kitchen. To make one gallon of wine you will need a plastic or glass gallon jug, two twelve ounce containers of frozen fruit concentrate, two pounds of sugar and a glass or plastic bowl which will hold at least one and a half gallons. In addition you will need some granulated yeast. Wine yeast, which may be sold in some specialty grocery stores works best, but you may use granulated bakers yeast if you wish.
First, place the frozen concentrate in the refrigerator to thaw out. It can be used frozen, but it is much easier to mix in the sugar syrup if it is thawed out.
Next you will want to get the yeast started. For one gallon, use one level teaspoon of the granulated yeast. Whatever yeast is left in the packet may be sealed in a plastic bag and placed in the refrigerator until needed for the next batch of wine you make. Put two teaspoons of sugar in a glass of warm water and stir until it is dissolved. Then dump the yeast into the warm sugar water and stir well. Place this in a warm location until it starts to froth. This can take anywhere from a couple of hours to several hours, depending upon the temperature of the room and the freshness of the yeast.
After the yeast is started you may make the sugar into syrup for use in the wine. To make the syrup boil the two pounds of sugar in one half gallon of water, stirring often to keep the sugar from scorching. The sugar solution will clear when it is done. Take the syrup off the stove, cover and set aside until it is cool. Usually this will take a couple of hours, so by the time the starter is ready, the sugar syrup will also be cool enough to use.
Now you are ready to make the wine. In a one and a half gallon to two gallon bowl, pour the fruit concentrate. Now add the sugar syrup. Then add the fermenting wine yeast. Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel and leave this in a warm place for a few days. After a few hours the wine will begin to ferment. This ferment may be quite vigorous, so you will need to leave the wine in the bowl a few days so it doesn't overflow.
Once the ferment slows down, thoroughly clean a plastic or glass gallon jug. Using a plastic or glass kitchen funnel, pour the fermenting wine into the jug. Top up with cool tap water until the jar is a couple of inches from the top. Place a small piece of plastic wrap over the mouth of the jar and secure with a rubber band. Place this in a cool, dark room. The ideal temperature is sixty to seventy degrees Fahrenheit. The ferment will take approximately two months.
When the ferment is finished, siphon the finished wine into a second gallon jar using plastic tubing which is suitable for food use, being careful to not disturb the sediment at the bottom of the jug. The wine is now ready to drink, but will benefit from aging for several months to a year.
Good wine may be made in this way from frozen fruit concentrates quite easily and quickly. While not gourmet wine, it will be a delightful vin ordinaire which is quite economical to make. After you master it, you may experiment with different ingredients, yeasts and juices to make a wine more suitable to your tastes.
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