Learn an old-fashioned method of winemaking. This basic recipe explains the process. The grapes are fermented for 7-8 days, then they spend 40 days in a wooden barrel, then rest in the bottle for at least 1 week. Source some grapes and give it a go!
- 20 kg mixed grapes (sultana and muscat), (see Note)
- wine crusher
- 1 x 50-litre bucket or vat
- wine press machine
- 1 wooden barrel
- 20 x 1-litre (approx) sterilised beer bottles (see Note)
- 1 funnel
- bottle-top machine
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Wash grapes and remove as many stalks as possible. Put all the grapes through the wine crusher. Place a large bucket under the wine crusher, to capture the crushed grapes.
Place crushed grapes into a wooden or plastic vat and cover completely to stop insects breeding. Allow grapes to ferment for seven to eight days. Push grapes down every day to ensure they are covered entirely in juice. (Grapes will ferment in their own juices.)
After the seven to eight days, drain the juice from the vat and set aside. Place the remaining grapes into the wine press machine. Operate the wine press for one hour (approx), pressing grapes continuously. Grape juice will drain from the bottom of the press into a container - only liquid should come out of the machine.
Pour the juice from the vat and the wine press into the wooden barrel, making sure no air pockets are left and sealing it tightly, as this will inhibit bacterial growth. Important: keep a couple of litres of wine in a glass bottle, so you can top up the barrel to remove the air pockets that form as wine is absorbed into the wood.
After 40 days (approximately) the wine should be ready. Pour the wine into sterilised beer bottles. Using a bottle-top machine, secure the lids on the bottles tightly. Leave the bottles to rest for a week, turning them each day. Drink after a week...if you're like me, drink it straight from the barrel!
Mixing two varieties of grapes balances the flavours in your wine.
Keep the bottles in a cool dark place, otherwise the wine can turn sour. Sip your wine to check if it is drinkable
Where to obtain the equipment: Wine crushers, wine press machines, bottle-top machines and wooden barrels can be purchased from specialist winemaking importers.
Whether you are buying new bottles or using recycled bottles like Nick, always wash the screw-top lids and glass bottles with warm soapy water. Then rinse the bottles with fresh hot water and place them on a tray. Put the bottles into the oven at 120 degrees for 10 minutes, until they are completely dry. Wait for bottles to cool before handling them, or use tongs when taking them out of the oven. Label and date your bottles and keep them in a dark pantry.