This is one of the first recipe’s that I started making. It is very straight forward,and easy to make. Best of all,it requires very little equipment,and uses only store bought ingredients.
- 2 one gallon glass carboys
- 1 drilled rubber stopper
- 1 airlock
- 1 funnel,plastic or metal
- a long spoon or stirring stick
- 3-4 ft. length of clear plastic tubing (home depot,wine supply shop,etc)
- 12 oz. can frozen apple juice (any brand,make sure it says 100% juice)
- 6 oz. can frozen lemonade or the juice of two lemons and 1/2 cup sugar (please don’t use bottled lemon juice)
- 8 raisins
- two cups of sugar or 1 1/2 lb. mild honey
- 1 gallon of water,boiled and cooled while covered
- 1 packet of wine yeast ( I prefer Lalvin 1116)
- 1/2 teaspoon pectic enzyme (optional but recommended)
- 5 Campden tablets or sanitizing solution
First,boil a gallon of water in a stainless steel (or enamel) pot and let it cool. Keep it covered to prevent bugs or anything else from taking a drink while you are not looking.
Then take one quart of water,and boil the sugar/honey. Stir every so often to make sure the sugar completely disolves.
Sanitize your one gallon glass carboys. You can do this by crushing the campden tablets into a gallon of water and mixing thoroughly. I like to fill the gallon jug half full with water,add the crushed tablets,and shake it like crazy,then fill the rest of the gallon jug with water. This is now a sanitizing solution that strongly smells of sulphur. (be careful when smelling it as it is very strong!) Use this sanitizing solution to sanitize all of your equipment that will come in contact with the wine. This includes stirring spoons,etc. Basically rinse everything with the solution and then rinse it off with water. Save the sanitizing solution in the one gallon jug for later,just put the stopper in it.
Rinse off the equipment and the empty gallon jug with clean water.
Now everything is ready for use.
When it comes to making wine,it is important to keep everything clean. The high sugary mixture will be a breading ground for yeast,lets keep it to ONLY yeast..
After the sugar water has cooled a bit,but is still warm,pour it into the gallon jug. Add the apple concentrate,lemonaid concentrate,and raisins,and the rest of the gallon of boiled water.
Stir the mixture to ensure that the sugar water is well blended with the boiled water.
Let this sit for a few hours to equalize,and settle to room temperature.
Rip open the yeast packet,and dump it into the glass jug over the sugary slurry –called must in the winemaking world.
Put the drilled rubber stopper into the glass carboy (now called the fermenter),and place an airlock filled with distilled water into the rubber stopper.
It is best to keep the mixture in a 70-75 degree room. After about 6-10 hours,you will start to see the airlock bubbling. This is a good sign. This means that the must is now fermenting converting the sugary slurry into wine. This will remain in this container for about 14 days.
After 6-12 hours,you will start to see the airlock emitting air. This is CO2,which is a byproduct of the yeast converting the sugar into alcohol. Store the fermenter in a dark part of the room and try to keep the temperature around 70-75 degrees F.
After 2 weeks has past,we need to rack the wine (and now it truely is wine,albeit a very young/harsh/bitter one). This just means seperating the good stuff from the dead yeast and other sediment at the bottom. To do this,take rest of the sanitizing solution and shake it up good. Use some on the clear tubing,and dump out the rest and rinse well. This will become the new home for the wine.
Boil another cup or so of water.
To rack the wine,we need to place the wine on a table above the empty glass jug. Try not to disturb the sediment too much in the process.
Take the tubing,and place it in the wine near the bottom,but try to avoid getting too much of the sediment. I like to keep it an inch or two above. Then suck on the tubing to start the wine traveling down the tube. Then place the tube into the empty container. It will slowly empty out the wine and put it into the clean container on the floor.
As the wine gets siphoned out,and reaches near the bottom,you can tilt the glass jug a little so that you can get a little more wine out,but once you start getting too much sediment stop and remove the tubing.
Top up the wine by adding in more boiled water (cooled) so that the wine is up to the neck again on the container.
Replace the stopper and airlock.
In about 2-3 months you can check on the wine. If it is done fermenting,you will not see any bubbles leaving the airlock within 5 minutes. You can tap gently on the on the side of the glass and look for bubbles also. Just be patient. Making wine takes time.
As you get more advanced,you can use a hydrometer to measure the sugar that is left an know precisely how far along the fermentation is.
For now,just let it sit until its completely done.
The wine should now be fairly clear,and ready for another raking as there will be a little more sediment on the bottom.
Just rake the wine as you did before,and top up as necessary.
The wine can be drunk now,but it will be much better if left to sit for another 6-8 months. If you have a campden tablet,crush and add half of it to a 1/4 cup of water,then dump it into the wine,and gently stir. This is a preservative,that will help keep the wine fresh during its long slumber.
In about a year’s time (since you started),the wine is ready to drink. You can drink it earlier,but believe me,it gets A LOT better with age. When I first started,I wanted to pour out the stuff because it was awful,only to discover that it was amazing later on. Time does wonders for a young wine.
This finished wine will have anywhere from 8-10% alcohol.
Good luck and above all else,have fun!