Wine is expensive you say, so let’s make our own. Not as easy as it sounds. There are many steps to follow to create a good bottle of wine. There are plenty of wrong ways and only one right way. In your ancestor’s day you could never afford to purchase a bottle of wine, so they had to learn how to make it themselves, and many of these attempts resulted in high-grade vinegar. Nowadays, with modern technology, this failure rarely exists with only the amateurs discovering how easy it is to create vinegar.
The main ingredient of wine is of course grapes. In the early days of wine-making, most people did not own their own vineyards, so had to purchase their grapes from growers. The grape, together with the way the wine was made, would determine the taste, look and alcohol content. Of course, once a successful method of producing a particular wine was found, they continued to make that particular wine.
The main idea behind home wine making was to produce a good cheap wine that the family could enjoy. It is no surprise that white wine comes from white grapes, and red wine comes from the red or black grape. We are led to believe that maidens with scrupulously clean feet were responsible for crushing the grapes and extracting the valuable juice. Nowadays, this would be totally unacceptable for health and cost reasons.
Yeast is the other main ingredient in wine-making. The yeast eats the sugar from the grape which converts to alcohol (called ethanol.) The ethanol sold to power engines is different, so please do not drink neat ethanol to see what it tastes like – believe us, it will taste terrible and would most probably do major harm to your insides.
A week or two into the initial fermentation period the wine is transferred to a second fermentation process which eats the remaining sugar (creating more alcohol) and the wine starts to look clearer. Our ancestors used to complete these tasks in their cellar using wooden barrels, nowadays large steel vats are used.
After a suitable time, is determined by tasting the wine, the wine is transferred to bottles ready to drink. Our ancestors would smell and taste the wine first and if it tasted or smelt bad, they would use it as weed killer – nothing went to waste in those days.
It is very easy for yeast to grow in barrels as the atmosphere is warm and sugary, along with many other things such as mould and, bacteria. Even the wrong type of yeast could affect the yield. If you are still willing to take the risk and produce your own wine, ensure you read up on exactly the right method to use, or better still, call into your local wine distributor and purchase a bottle.