Wine, an alcohol beverage almost as old as civilization as a whole, is still, and probably always will be, highly popular among people from all walks of life - from the average person all the way to people who prefer investing in wines, but some people prefer making their own wines from grapes harvested from their backyard which begs the question: how to make wine from grapes?
It all begins with, of course, the grape. While Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon remain the most popular grapes varieties in the US for wine, and Thompson Seedless are the most popular table grapes, Concord grapes remain as one of the easiest grapes for the eager viticulturist to grow. Although, do not worry, you do not actually have to be a viticulturist to grow them.
To grow concord grapes, you will need a site with full sun to part shade, but, of course, more exposure to sun means more grapes and an actual sweeter flavor. You will want to plant the vines in spring, about eight feet apart, and pruning it a bit. Sowing the vines in springs allows for optimal harvest in autumn. The vines will normally grow to six feet long as long as it is properly maintained and has an annual pruning, otherwise, it can grow to an immense twenty feet.
How to know when wine grapes are ready to be picked?
There are few tell-tale indications to know when to pick them starting with the color of the grapes that go from green to red as it ripens, however, experienced winemakers and viticulturists know it can take a few weeks before they are ready color-wise.
Next sign is the color of the stems and grape seeds, when ripe they will be brown.
As the amount of sugar increases, they tend to swell in size, and become easy to pull from a cluster. Also, when a grape is eaten, the seeds tend to be easily chewable.
Lastly, the taste. When tasting a grape, you will want to look for sweetness with no bitterness whatsoever.
How to make wine from grapes?
Now that you have your grapes, it is now a matter of making wine. You will want thirteen to fifteen pounds of the fruit, remove any stems, and crush them to create a must which is the combination of the juice, skin, and pulp. From here, you will need to measure how sugar you will need, in the drink designer, input 15g in the Grams of sugar (per serving) field, then choose how sweet you want your wine to ultimately be. Once the sugar has been added, simply mix them to dissolve the sugar, then add in a Brewsy bag, and shake vigorously to wake up the yeast. Traditionally, though, winemakers would use the wild yeasts found on the skin, but they can be too unpredictable.
After reaching a sweetness/dryness and ABV preference level comes the clarifying processes which are pretty standard. Cold-crash for an initial 48 hours to let the yeast go to sleep and bring everything crashing down to the bottom; after this duration, a nice amount of sediment will have developed made out of the yeast, grape must, and other particles. From here, rack, and repeat 1-2 more times, adding GoClear along the way if necessary. As it is a red wine, it would benefit greatly from aging especially with a bit of oak.
Once you are done, congratulations! You have learned how to make wine from grapes! Take a seat, grab a glass, and enjoy the wine you have just made.