How to make homemade red wine

  • You obtain ripe grapes. In our country, the most commonly used varieties are Wide Melnik Vine, Mavrud, Merlot, and Cabernet Gumza.
  • Remove the leaves, the rotten grapes and optional – the clusters. If you do not remove the clusters, the wine will have a higher content of tannins.
  • The grapes are crushed and placed in a container. They should NOT take more than two thirds of the volume of the container. The container may be made of stainless steel, wooden casks of different sizes or even a plastic container.
  • Immediately after placing the crushed grapes in a container, one should measure its sugar content. It should be about 22-24 %. If the sugar content is lower, sugar should be added.
  • In 1-2 days the fermentation begins. This process releases a large amount of carbon dioxide, which pushes all husks, seeds and other solids on the surface and forms an umbrella on the hole of the container. The so called “artificial yeast” can be found on the market. It is the activator of alcoholic fermentation. It helps to quickly start the process of converting the sugar into alcohol, reduce fermentation time and help the rapid clarification of wine afterwards. The use of yeast is a matter of personal choice.
  • During the “turbulent” fermentation which takes about 7-10 days, one should stir the grapes or pinch them with pine slats to allow the “umbrella” to be slightly submerged and to prevent the drying out of the surface layer, as well as to enable entering of oxygen for respiration of the yeast and releasing of carbon dioxide.
  • The temperature of the room where the grapes ferment should be around 20-25 degrees.
  • The sugar content should decline by about 2 % daily. It is advisable to drain the wine after the turbulent fermentation in another container where the quiet fermentation will continue, which lasts about a month. For this purpose, the container must be closed but a hose should be pulled out of it, the end of which should be immersed into another container, which should be filled with water. The released oxygen will bubble in it.
  • After the quiet fermentation, the first racking is done. It should be of high flow and in a place with fresh air, because wine assumes all odors. This is the first pure wine. Its quantity largely depends on the variety chosen. The greatest quantity is obtained of the Wide Melnik Vine.
  • Wine marc remains in the fermentation container which can give about 5-6% more wine through tamping or compression with presses.
  • The residual material can be made to brandy (even required). Add a solution from sugar and water to the marc in a ratio of 1 to 3. Mix daily during the rapid fermentation. When the sugar content drops near 0, brew / bake the brandy. If you don’t have the possibility and want to delay the brewing for some time, the barrel must obligatory be hermetically sealed, in order not to “lose” the material.

It is possible to put all of kinds of additives to improve the color, odor or taste of the wine. Add oak chips and a variety of herbs for specific flavor, sloes, blackberries and beans of elderberry for deeper color, gelatin and egg whites for better clarification and many other supplements. According to the old masters, however, well ripened grapes are just enough to get a good wine.