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Wine

This basic wine-making procedure outlined below uses wild yeast which is present on the grapes.

The alcohol content of wines is normally expressed as '% alcohol by volume'. The alcohol content is between 10% to 12% for table wines, 15% to 30% for aperitifs, ports, sherries & dessert wines and 30% to 75% for liqueurs. The following table gives the equivalence between the four different systems of expressing the alcohol content.


British System

United States System

Metric System

% alcohol by volume

Absolute alcohol

175 deg.

200 deg.

100 deg.

100

Normal spirit strength

70 deg.

80 deg.

40 deg.

40

Table wine

17.5 deg.

20 deg.

10 deg.

10

Before we start, we need to decide the strength (% alcohol by volume) of the wine. By measuring the specific gravity (S.G.) of the must (fresh grape juice used for making the wine) and referring the table given below, we will know how much sugar to add to one gallon (4.5 liters) of the must for obtaining the required strength.

Specific Gravity of the must

1.040

1.045

1.050

1.055

1.060

1.065

1.070

1.075

1.080

1.085

1.090

1.095

1.100

1.105

1.110

1.115

1.120

Sugar present in Kgs

0.36

0.42

0.48

0.53

0.59

0.65

0.70

0.76

0.82

0.879

0.936

0.992

1.05

1.11

1.16

1.22

1.28

Potential % alcohol

5.4

6.1

6.8

7.4

8.1

8.8

9.5

10.1

10.8

11.4

12.1

12.8

13.4

14.1

14.7

15.4

16.0

From the above table, you will notice that for every 0.05 kgs of sugar added to the must, its S.G. rises by 0.005 and it potential alcohol by approximately 0.65%.

To make one gallon of fine table wine, you need about 10 kgs of your favourite variety of grapes. Green grapes make white wine and black (or red) grapes make red wine. A mixture of both can be used to make rose coloured wine.

Wash the grapes in water after removing them from the bunches and discard any bad ones. Press the grapes or liquidize them in a juicer and first filter through a standard plastic sieve. Filter again through a fine muslin cloth. Use a hydrometer to check the specific gravity and adjust the quantity of sugar as required with the help of the table given above. Leave the must in a wide mouthed food grade bottle/stainless steel jar with capacity 10 liters and cover it with a cloth. Fermentation will commence within 24 hours. (If fermentation does not commence, recheck the specific gravity and add water to bring it down to 1.09 if required. Ensure that the temperature is warm enough for fermentation (at least 20 degrees Celcius).

For the next 4 days, remove the floating residue (called cap) with a spoon and rotate the bottle vigorously to churn the must. This should be done at intervals of of 12 to 24 hours to encourage the yeast to multiply by aeriationg the must. After the fermentation has subsided considerably, transfer the contents to a one gallon (4.5 liter) bottle and fit it with an air lock. The air lock can be make by drilling a hole in a rubber bung, fitting a glass pipe in it and attaching a plastic pipe, the end of which is put into a bottle filled with water. The air lock will permit the carbon dioxide evolved during fermentation to be expelled to the atmosphere, but will prevent the oxygen from the air to come in contact with the wine. Siphon off (aka racking) the wine from one bottle to another at regular intervals of about 3 weeks to exclude the sediment. The wine should be ready in about 3 months. Bottle in smaller (650 ml or equivalent standard) bottles for convenience. Chill for a week and rack/filter to remove any residue. Serve cool.

The above procedure can be used for making wine using apples, oranges, beet root etc. Just make sure that you add a bunch of grapes to provide the yeast!

Wine is very acidic and should be consumed in moderation. The only justification for consuming wine in large quantities is when there is an epidemic of plague, since historically, a significant proportion of the survivors of a plague epidemic were wine drinkers! (apparently, the plague germ cannot survive in an acidic environment).

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Wine

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