Homemade wine production!

Natural wines consist a category of wines that is claiming in a very dynamic way a share of the wine market in recent years. These are homemade wines which come from small or amateur producers, who usually apply the principles of organic farming to their vineyards.

Harvesting the grapes at the right time is one of the most critical stages of homemade wine production process. The farmer choose to harvest his grapes when they are mature, while it should be noted that different varieties of grapes mature at different periods of time. Grape sugars on the other hand should not be too high but also not too low. In most of the commercial wines we buy, their alcohol degrees correspond to grape sugars of about 20-26 degrees of Brix scale, and these are the degrees of sugars that we should seek to have the grapes we use for homemade wine production. The measuring of Brix degrees in grapes juice is made by an inexpensive device called refractometer.

The basic steps for producing homemade wine are as follows:
·        Harvesting the grapes
·        Grapes compression
·        Must extraction
·        Alcoholic fermentation of the must
·        Storage and ripening of wine

To be able make our own wine we will need some basic equipment that consists of the following:
·        Utensils to pick up the grapes
·        Hydrometer and refractometer
·        Grape press for extracting the must
·        Containers for storing the must and wine
·        Container for temporarily store the grape pulp

The process of homemade wine begins by crushing the grapes in the grape press and extracting the must, which is temporarily placed in a clean container for 12-14 hours, so that the containing solid particles will settle down. Then, the must has to be transfered to the container where the alcoholic fermentation will take place and which must be in a ventilated area. At the end of this stage of homemade wine production, we will also have at our disposal the grape pulp besides the must. If we want to make rosé or red wine, we should first put the grape pulp together with the must for 2-18 days, because the longer the grape pulp stays with the must, the more red color the wine will have. In this case, we should remove the stalks from the pulp because the presence of the stalks affects adversely the quality of wine but also the health of the consumer.

An important parameter in wine production is the temperature of the environment during fermentation process of the must, which should be around 18 °C. This way the fermentation process lasts longer and the wine will get more aromas. When the alcoholic fermentation is completed after about 2 weeks, we can transfer the wine to another container where it will be stored. Typically, wine is directly consumable but the more time you leave it in storage the better it becomes. Last but not least, indicatively we refer that a manual grape press costs about $100, while a large plastic container of 1 ton capacity and with a faucet at its bottom for storing must or wine, costs about $120.

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