Things You'll Need
2, 5-gallon containers
1 potato masher
1 wooden spoon
5 pounds Valiant grapes
2 quarts water
2 tbsp. sugar
1 pack wine yeast
1 rubber band
4 corked glass bottles
Valiant grapes are a fairly new variety of grape. They are a cross between Fredonia and a wild grape, Vitus riparia. The grapes are bright blue but produce a red wine. They are considered cold hardy and even grow in northern Canada. The grapes have low acid levels and high sugars. For wine making they need to stay on the vine a little longer than those picked for hand eating to accumulate sugars. Wine making is an individual process, depending on the vintner's taste and the flavor of the grapes but a basic recipe for red wine is provided.
Place the grapes in batches into the first 5-gallon container and crush them using the potato masher. Crush them lightly; they just need to be broken down a bit so the sugar and yeast can get inside. Don't worry about seeds or skins. They will be strained out in a later process and the skins will add to the fermenting. Crush all the grapes and leave them in the container.
Dissolve the sugar in the water. Reserve a couple of tablespoons of water. Mix the sugar water into the grapes. The sugar mixed with the grapes is called "must." Pour the yeast onto the reserved tablespoons of water and let sit for 15 minutes without stirring. Stir the yeast and water together and add to the "must." Stir in the yeast mix and let the bottle stand for seven days, stirring twice daily.
Strain the mixture through a sieve on the seventh day. Discard the solids and pour the liquid into the second 5-gallon container. Place the balloon tightly over the top of the bottle and use rubber band to secure it. Prick the balloon once with the pin. Fermenting causes gases and the bottle needs a way to release them. Let the bottle ferment for three to four weeks.
Wash the first 5-gallon container thoroughly. Slowly pour your fermented mixture through the sieve and into the clean container. Make sure not to stir up the sediment. Leave an inch or two of liquid behind with the sediment and discard. Secure the lid with the balloon and the rubber band. This container will ferment for four to six weeks.
Siphon off the wine and pour in clean glass bottles. Secure with corking or any other method that will contain a tight seal. The wine now needs to age for one year. In one year, uncork and enjoy.