Whoever has his own vineyard in his dacha can hardly resist the temptation to learn winemaking. Homemade preparation makes the drink real and healthy. White wine is more complicated in terms of the technology of preparation, but it is considered more refined. If you want to surprise even gourmets, then try to make homemade wine in an original way from your own white grapes. Popular white varieties in the Moscow region and Central Russia are Lydia, White Kishmish, Alpha, Bianca, Aligote, Chardonnay, Valentina. Muscat white grape varieties (Isabella, White Muscat) are suitable for making rosé wines.
Advice! Grape varieties for white wine are chosen not for the color of the berries, but for the subtlety of taste and freshness of the floral aroma.
You can get a light drink from any variety, but the excessive astringency of dark varieties will be inappropriate in white wine.
Collection and preparation of berries
White grape varieties ripen later than dark ones, moreover, for white wine, the berries are recommended to be slightly overexposed. Some growers leave the bunches until the first frost, others prefer to remove the berries with a slight acidity. Thus, different flavors of white wine are obtained.
White grape wines can be dessert and dry. Dessert ones are obtained from overripe berries with a high sugar content. For dry wines, berries with a higher acidity are required, so they are harvested immediately after fully ripening. Both options have their own nuances (including the weather conditions of the season and the climate of the region), so the scope for experimentation is huge.
The collected bunches of grapes should lie in a cool place for 2 days. White grapes for homemade wine must not be washed. The flow of water will wash away the wild wine yeast and there will be no fermentation. You can add purchased dry wine yeast, but the craftsmen appreciate the wild ones. Preparation of berries consists in careful sorting and rejection of cracked, rotten and affected grapes. The twigs can be left to add flavor to the drink.
Ideal for fermentation of homemade wine is to purchase a glass bottle with a volume of 10 or 20 liters, depending on the size of your production. It is better to store the finished wine in glass bottles with wooden stoppers. The use of ceramic and enameled dishes is allowed, but it is not so convenient with it (sediment is not visible, it is difficult to understand the moment of clarification). It is possible to prepare white wine from grapes in wooden barrels, but it is more difficult to disinfect them (fumigation with sulfur).
All tools and cutlery that come into contact with grape juice must be stainless steel. Containers and tools are pre-cleaned with baking soda, rinsed thoroughly with running water and dried.
The main differences in the technology of making white wine
The variety of wine served in a restaurant should complement the selected dishes, reveal their sophistication. White wine differs from red wine by the color of the grapes used. White wine has a more delicate and delicate taste, devoid of the astringency of the skin of the berries. The skin also contains coloring pigments, which are absent in white wine. Consequently, the main technological difference in the preparation of white wine is the exclusion of the squeezed juice contact with the berry skin.
White grapes with low acidity are suitable for white wine. Classic recipes do not involve the addition of sugar, as the berries are assumed to be sweet enough. In any case, the amount of added sugar to homemade white wine is negligible.
Stages of the technological process
Those with experience in making homemade wines understand the importance of maintaining sterility throughout the entire process. Make it a rule to treat hoses and tools with a 2% soda solution every day. The technology for making white wine includes 6 stages:
- getting grape juice;
- settling and sediment removal;
- active fermentation;
- "Quiet" fermentation;
- removal from sediment and filtration;
- pouring young wine into containers and aging.
Let's consider the features of each of them.
Getting grape juice
For white wine, the juice should not come into contact with the skin. The best way to make quality juice is to grab it. In this case, the grape juice is released by gravity, and the berries themselves act as a press. You will get a light juice without pulp impurities. The only drawback of this method is that it takes a long time to get the juice.
For large volumes, this option may not work. Then the juice is carefully squeezed out with your hands. The use of presses and juicers is contraindicated, since the technique can damage the bones and unwanted substances will get into the drink, which will affect its quality.
Settling and sediment removal
At home, freshly squeezed grape juice will turn out cloudy. This wort needs to be refined. Settling is carried out in a glass bottle for 6 - 12 hours in a cool place.
Advice! Do not leave the wort unattended. At high temperatures, it can ferment, and the settling will have to be stopped.
To prevent premature fermentation, the wort must be fumigated with a sulfur wick. To do this, a burning wick is lowered into an empty bottle (without touching the walls) and as soon as it burns out, pour the wort into 1/3 of the container volume, close the lid and stir slightly to dissolve the gas. Then lower the wick again, add another portion and mix. The procedure is repeated several times until the bottle is filled.
When the slurry settles and the juice becomes lighter, it is poured into a clean fermentation bottle through a siphon or tube.
Some recipes suggest wort sulfitation (adding sulfur dioxide), but at home, fumigation is sufficient, which has a similar effect.
As already noted, wild yeast is found on the surface of grapes. Since berry peel is not involved in the preparation of the must for white wine, there will be little yeast in it. As a result, fermentation will be capricious and longer. Capriciousness is expressed in special sensitivity to temperature conditions. Immediately choose a place with the possibility, if necessary, of heating or ventilation. The optimum fermentation temperature should be within the range of 18 to 24 degrees Celsius.
The next prerequisite for the proper course of fermentation is the cessation of oxygen access to the wort. To do this, a water seal is organized (hoses are lowered to drain fermentative carbon dioxide into cans of water) or instead of lids, rubber gloves are worn with several punctures from a needle.
Under optimal conditions, active fermentation of white grape juice lasts about 1 week, after which the process dies out, but does not stop.
Important! After active fermentation, we leave the water seal, since carbon dioxide is still being released. If you close the covers, the gas pressure will rip them off.
To make homemade wine stronger at the stage of "quiet" fermentation, sugar is added to it. What does sugar give? By breaking down sugar, yeast forms alcohol. The content of natural sugars in the berries of even sweet varieties of white grapes will make it possible to obtain wine with a strength of no more than 12%, and with the addition of granulated sugar - up to 16%. It is necessary to add sugar at the stage of "quiet" fermentation after measuring the alcohol content. However, there are recipes in which sugar is mixed directly with wort.
During "quiet" fermentation, stability of temperature and liquid in the bottle is important. You can not mix the contents or even just rearrange to another place. This stage lasts 3 to 4 weeks. There are two signs that a process has ended:
- lack of small bubbles;
- clear differentiation of sediment and clarified young wine.
Some experienced winemakers also use a third sign: when tasting young wine, sugar should not be felt. But not every beginner can give the correct conclusion on the analysis of the taste of wine. If you need to prepare a semi-sweet dessert wine, then the fermentation is artificially interrupted, sharply lowering the temperature.
Removal from sediment and filtration
It is imperative and urgent to remove young wine from the lees. At this stage, the container with fermented wine is placed on the table (carefully so as not to disturb the sediment), and clean sterilized bottles are placed on the floor. Using a hose or tube, the drink is poured by gravity, without lowering the hose close to the sediment. Then the remnants of the wine with yeast sediment are poured into a smaller container, left to settle and the drainage procedure is repeated.
The remaining precipitate is filtered through several layers of cheesecloth. The bottles are topped up with the filtrate to the middle of the neck. Wine bottles are sealed and placed in a cool place (no more than 15 degrees) for 30 days. This completes the first stage of filtration.
After 30 days, the young wine is again poured into clean bottles, leaving a sediment at the bottom.
Filling and aging
Filled wine bottles are closed with lids and stored lying down at a temperature of no more than 15 degrees.
Before use, the wine is aged from 2 months to several years (depending on the variety).
By following a few simple guidelines, you can be sure of the success of your grape drink.
The best recipes
Of all the variety of methods for making homemade white wine, we will note the most interesting.
Frozen berry wine
To prepare wine, slightly unripe white grapes are pre-sorted and frozen for 24 hours. The exposure to low temperatures reveals the brightness of the aroma and the freshness of the taste. Since the grapes are taken unripe, sugar is added (for 10 kg of grapes - 3 kg of sugar). The juice should be squeezed out without waiting for the berries to completely defrost. Further, the cooking recipe coincides with the classic scheme.
Wine made from white and red grapes
White grapes can blend in with dark ones. Berries of red grapes with white juice are suitable. Adding it will add the spicy notes of red wine to the drink. All berries are mixed and crumpled. The resulting mass is heated, but not brought to a boil. Then it must be cooled and left under oppression for 3 days. All recipes with warming up the mash require the addition of wine yeast. The separation of the mash is carried out after active fermentation.
Considering the rules of all stages of making white wine, you can safely experiment with varieties (take berries of several white varieties), with the degree of ripening of the berries, with the amount of added sugar. Depending on the prevailing weather conditions, the quality of grapes will change every year. In order to control the quality of wine to some extent, it is useful to keep a work log where you can note the peculiarities of the conditions for growing grapes (droughts, torrential rains, record heat or cool summer), the timing of harvesting berries, the subtleties of the fermentation process, and so on.