Making Wine: How to Avoid Swill

How to make wineHow do you start an article about making wine? Do you talk about how wonderful wine is? Do you ramble about the value of creating food and drink for yourself?  Or do you just ask a bunch of random questions until you have an introduction paragraph? Apparently, I do the latter.

Wine has been enjoyed almost as long as civilization has existed, maybe longer. It makes sense that the ancients would have easily discovered the tastiness of rotted grapes, after all, food preservation had not had the chance to evolve yet, and when everything is going bad, you don’t stay picky for very long.

How to make wineIn society today, we don’t tend to make things for ourselves as much as we simply buy them from other people. The things we buy can be made by people, but often they come from factories that have streamlined the processes of manufacturing and production. While that does raise efficiency, knowing how to produce the products you use is not only useful, but can be fun as well.

As someone who loves wine, cooking, and crafting, it was pretty much inevitable that I would eventually attempt to make my own wine. I had pretty low expectations for my first batch, and they were met. I made the usual mistakes:  I rushed the process, made sure everything was clean, but not perfectly sanitized, and of course, I didn’t take the time to measure everything exactly.

How to make wineIt’s not like I went into the process blindly. I had a great beginner’s guide to wine making.  I had read articles about what to avoid and how to make sure my wine didn’t spoil or get contaminated. But reading articles doesn’t mean I heeded them. So below are some tips about the wine making process, but also some actionable steps to ensure that you follow them.

Everything needs to be completely sterilized in order to prevent bacteria from growing. The wine making process uses yeast to turn juice into wine. The conditions required for yeast to ferment are also optimal for other bacteria to grow. This means that you need to start with a completely clean slate and regulate temperature and conditions exactly.

How to make wineSterilizing your equipment does not mean wiping it down with soapy water, or even using bleach. Many wine making kits come with their own sterilizer that can be mixed with water.

When I first thought about making wine, I wanted to go in full steam, squishing my own grapes and everything. I would definitely recommend starting from juice concentrate the first time, just so you can get the hang of the processes. Once you have the basics, you can put in the extra effort to start from grapes.

Making wine isn’t difficult, but it is a scientific process that requires precision. As with most crafts, you’ll get better the more times you try. Because of this, I would recommend making small batches until you get the hang of it. This way you won’t have as much sub-par wine to drink.

Kayla Stevens is a wine taster, maker, and writer who has allowed her hobby to take over her home in the form of a large collection of wine bottles, filters, and other wine making supplies. She writes about her experiences to help others make tastier wine with less hassle and errors than her adventures have involved.