Wine making might seem like a difficult, involved process -- and it certainly can be if you start with grapes and expect to make a nuanced, high-end wine capable of pleasing the most discerning palates. But there are ways to make wine making simpler and more accessible if all you're looking for is a basic, sweet table wine. Read on to learn one method for making sweet table wine from Concord grape juice.
- 1 gallon of Concord grape juice (local, non-pasteurized juice is best, but store-bought will work, too)
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
- 1 teaspoon yeast nutrient*
- 3/4 teaspoon acid blend*
- 1/8 teaspoon yeast tannins*
- 5 potassium metabisulfate tablets*
* These ingredients can be purchased in most home brewing and wine making stores, such as The Wine Shoppe, as well as some specialty food stores and hobby shops.
Pour your grape juice into a large plastic bucket. Crush up the potassium metabisulfate tablets, add them to the juice, and stir well. Then, add the sugar, yeast nutrients, and yeast tannins to the bucket and stir to make sure they are distributed evenly.
Cover the top of the bucket with a thin, clean towel. Let the mixture sit for a full day. During this time, the potassium metabisulfate will be working to sterilize the juice so that you do not end up with bacterial growth in your wine.
After a day has passed, sprinkle the yeast onto the surface of the wine. Do not stir it! Cover the bucket with a towel again, and this time, let it sit for five days. You should start seeing some foam forming on the top of the wine during the first few days. Note that your "wine" will decrease in volume as some of it evaporates.
At the end of five days, the wine will be adequately fermented. The yeast will be at the bottom of the bucket, so you'll need to siphon the wine off the top to remove the yeast. Siphoning is a lot easier than you might think. Place the bucket on a counter and a jug on the floor in front if it. Have a helper hold a piece of flexible tubing below the surface of the wine in the bucket. Suck on the other end of the tube to draw the wine into the tube. Put this end of the tube into the jug. The wine will flow through the tube, from the bucket into the jug. Remove the tube from the bucket when you get close to the bottom to avoid sucking up any of the yeast sludge.
And there you have it! What's in your jug should be a sweet Concord grape wine. Drink it within a few hours, or cap it and store it in the fridge for up to three days.