How to Make Fruit Juice Wine at Home
People have been making wine for far longer than they have been writing recipes. Wine-making, like any art form, ranges from quite simplistic to incredibly precise methods. There are literally volumes upon volumes of books that could lead you through the knowledge about wine-making. If your desires are more specific then the basic instructions included here, we highly recommend you research books about wine-making.
To acquire a one gallon carboy for this and future wine endeavors we recommend buying a gallon of natural apple juice. Use the juice to make a batch of apple wine and keep the gallon jug as your wine store.
Experimentation is encouraged. Using fruit juice is the lowest risk source for good results.
Grow and Make takes no responsibility for outcomes related to this article. If your wine tastes good and you want to drink it, do so! Be sure to check out our DIY Wine Making FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) for more information and insights.
What you’ll need:
1 gallon glass jar
A tall narrow glass or jar to use with the hydrometer (optional)
A long narrow spoon that will fit into the carboy for stirring
Wine Yeast for 1 gallon batches of wine
Ascorbic acid for stopping fermentation and preserving the wine (enough for 4 gallon batches)
An airlock and bung
tubing (3-4 feet)
The area where you are fermenting the wine should be at a constant temperature below 65F (23C). A basement or pantry will usually suffice. If the temperature changes too much or is too high while your wine ferments, its more likely your wine will turn to vinegar.
Clean and sanitize everything your wine will touch before every use. To use the iodophor, mix 1 tsp with 1 1⁄2 gallons (24 cups) of water. To make a smaller amount, mix 1⁄2 teaspoon iodophor with 3⁄4 gallon (12 cups) water. Soak your clean equipment in the iodophor solution for 2 minutes. Shake any remaining sterilizer off of the equipment and allow to air dry.
Open your gallon of apple juice, the inside of the bottle and the juice are sterile. If this is not your first batch, fill your sterilized gallon jug with one gallon of juice. If you are using juice concentrate use filtered or distilled water to reconstitute. Take note that chlorinated water can add an unpleasant flavor to your wine and distilled water is missing important minerals. It’s best to use a good quality tap water or bottled water.
Add half of your packet of yeast and stir well to fully dissolve the yeast. Alternatively, you can pour a 1⁄4 cup of apple juice in to a sterilized cup and dissolve the yeast in the cup before pouring into the carboy.
Use the hydrometer to check your specific gravity by lowering your sterilized hydrometer right into the gallon jug. You can also use a tall narrow jar filled with your juice to test the specific gravity with the hydrometer. It should show a specific gravity of 1.010 or greater. Add sugar or sugar syrup and stir well to increase the specific gravity to the desired level.
Fill your airlock halfway with water and insert into the hole on the bung, then attach to the carboy. Cover the carboy with a dark, clean sheet if you are storing it in a well lit area. In a day or two, you should see bubbles coming out of the airlock.
In ten days, check the specific gravity. If you started at 1.010, you’ll want a specific gravity of 0.998 or lower. Check the specific gravity every day until the specific gravity reads the same on two consecutive days.
Remove the bung and airlock and add 1⁄4 teaspoon of ascorbic acid and stir for five minutes, ensuring all sediment is incorporated. The ascorbic acid will stop fermentation and help preserve the color of the wine.
Let the sediment settle completely before siphoning.
After two weeks, clean and sterilize your bottle, corks, and siphon tubing. Use the tubing to create a siphon to fill your bottle, being careful to leave sediment at the bottom. Cork it. If you do not have a corker, you can drive the cork in by placing a small board over the cork and hammering it into the bottle.
Let the bottle sit for three days upright, then turn them on the side for at least a month.
Taste and decide if your wine tastes right.