While there are many types of wild grapes, muscadine grapes are the most common variety used to make wine. Muscadine grapes grow in many parts of the United States, and can be harvested in August and early September. Muscadine grapes are large in size, purple in color and have numerous seeds. Like most grapes, they grow in clusters on vines.
Things You'll Need
- 5-gallon carboy
- 10 to 20 lbs. of muscadine grapes
- 8 lbs. of sugar
- Juicer or wire masher
- Several large stainless steel stockpots
- Wine yeast
- Funnel with large opening
- Food grade plastic tubing
- Wine bottles and caps, or soda bottles with lids
Wash the grapes and remove the stems. Place the grapes into a stainless steel stockpot and crush the grapes to release the juices. Alternately, you can use a juicer to extract the juice from the grapes.
Strain the juice into a large bowl or another stockpot using a colander and cheesecloth.
Use a funnel to pour the juice into a carboy. Add enough water to make the liquid equal approximately 4 gallons. The more grapes you use, the stronger the grape taste of the final product will be. Add the sugar and stir.
Add 3 tbsp. of sugar to 1/4 cup of hot water in a small jar or bowl. Add the wine yeast and stir. When the yeast has doubled in the bowl, add the mixture to the grape juice in the carboy.
Seal the top of the carboy with a cork and airlock. Set the carboy in a spot where the temperature will remain between 60 and 75 degrees F.
Check the wine after a month to see if it is still fermenting. If the water in the airlock is still bubbling, the wine is not ready. Keep checking weekly until the airlock is still.
Use the plastic tubing to siphon the wine into bottles. Try to keep the end of the tubing approximately 1/4 inch above the bottom of the carboy in order to not siphon the "must" of the wine, which makes wine cloudy in appearance.
Cap the wine bottles and store. The wine can be drank immediately or aged for a short period of time for a cleaner taste.
Tips & Warnings
- If a carboy isn't available, a large crock or other container can be used. Simply cover the container with cheesecloth secured by rubber bands or string. Any amount of grapes can be used. Use the ratio of 2 lbs. of sugar to 2 lbs. of liquid. A simple airlock can be made using the siphon hose, a half-filled jar of water and plastic wrap. Place one end of the tubing into the carboy and wrap the top of the carboy securely with plastic wrap. Place the other end of the hose in the jar of water. Winemaking supplies can be found at brew shops or online (see Resources below).
- If the wine ages too long, it may develop a taste similar to wine vinegar.
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