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How to Make Wine in Just One Week

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This juice from Dollar General worked great for my last batch of wine.

This juice from Dollar General worked great for my last batch of wine.

Make Homemade Wine Fast!

This recipe stands out because it's simple. There are tons of homemade wine recipes on the internet. This is the lazy man's recipe that only requires three ingredients available at just about any grocery store, and your wine will be ready to drink in one week or less. The taste will improve, and the alcohol content will increase if you let it age longer. But it's not necessary. I presently have some aging in the fridge, and I tell you, it has a very strong alcohol aroma and a real kick. I actually don't care that much for wine but like the challenge of making it from such simple means. It has to be better than Mad Dog 20/20 or Thunderbird or the nasty hooch prisoners make in their toilets.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 gallon of whatever juice you like
  • 1 packet of yeast

Instructions

  1. Buy grape juice. Grape is all I have ever experimented with, except for one batch of apple. Different types of juice will probably produce different types of wine since each type of fruit has a different sugar content. I have used Sam's Choice and the Great Value brand from Wal-Mart, but you can use Welch's or any other brand.
  2. I recommend using one gallon of juice, but you can use a smaller bottle if you'd like. Look for "100% Juice" on the label. It will always say "from concentrate." Yeast will not do its job with preservatives present. Ascorbic acid and citric acid (Vitamin C) are ok. All grape juices are concentrated with water, so you'll never be able to get pure juice unless you squeeze the grapes yourself.
  3. Set the juice out so it gets to room temperature. Juice should be at room temperature or slightly higher. If your juice is refrigerated, you need to leave it sitting out until it reaches room temp.
  4. Add one packet of active dry baker's yeast. Red Star and Fleichman's are the two brands I see the most in my local grocery stores. Do not stir. Do not add more yeast later; just this once. I generally follow this yeast rule about adding yeast just once; however, I should say that in several batches I have refreshed the yeast by adding a teaspoon's worth. My advice is that if after about 3 days there is no more bubbling, add some more yeast. If this doesn't start some new bubbling activity, it is done, and you should allow this extra yeast time to settle to the bottom sediment. Finish by transferring to your final container.
  5. Bottle it and leave room for air. Screw the cap back on the bottle and loosen about one turn so air can escape. Fermentation produces carbon dioxide and needs to be able to vent from the bottle. I used to use a balloon, but other winemakers have suggested this should not be done because acids and other nasty things can build up in the balloon and fall back into the bottle. Makes sense to me.
  6. Keep an eye on it. Watch your project daily. After 3 days, check to see if it's still bubbling. If it has stopped, you can sample it now. If it's still bubbling, just keep checking it daily until it isn't bubbling anymore. If you really can't see any bubble action, put your ear to it and listen.

When the Wine Is Finished

  1. Find a glass container. When you are satisfied that your wine is ready to drink, transfer the wine from your fermentation container/original bottle to another clean container of plastic or glass. Old, sterilized glass wine bottles are perfect.
  2. Transfer wine without upsetting the sediment. When transferring the wine, use a plastic funnel. Once you've tipped the wine to pour, DO NOT turn the bottle back up straight but keep pouring until you're finished. There is sediment left over at the bottom that contains acids and impurities. If you keep tipping the bottle, you'll stir up the sediment and ruin the wine. Siphoning with a hose would be just as good or even better, just leave the end of the hose an inch or so above the sediment to avoid sucking it out with the good stuff.
  3. Refrigerate and enjoy. After bottling your brew, it is suggested that you refrigerate but leaving out at room temperature is ok as long as your room temperature is not really hot. Keep out of direct sunlight.
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Please drink responsibly, and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

More Things to Keep in Mind

Juice produces ethanol, not methanol: Making homemade wine, or alcohol in general, is simple because of the simple fact that yeast converts sugar to ethanol (alcohol). There is a misconception that drinking homemade brew is not safe, but that's only if you drink methanol. Brewing with fruit juices and yeast cannot produce methanol. It can only produce ethanol.

This process can be done in as little as three days: My attempts at wine making usually take around 7 days, but some people who have tried this method have reported that the fermentation (yeast completely stopped making bubbles) stopped in about 3 days. So this method can actually produce wine with a moderate alcohol content in about 3 days.

You might need to add sugar: Since this fermentation method produces wine that isn't very sweet (because the yeast converted all the sugar in the juice to alcohol), I am updating my recipe by saying that you should add one cup of granulated or cane sugar or corn syrup to a one gallon batch or half a cup to a half gallon batch before adding the yeast. This might produce a sweeter wine, if that's what you want. It might be best to pour the juice into a large saucepan and heat it up slightly (not over 110 degrees F) so the sugar will dissolve properly. Then pour it back into the bottle using a funnel and allow to cool to room temperature.

A hydrometer will tell you the alcohol content: I'm not sure of the alcohol content of this brew, but you could buy a hydrometer to measure it. They are cheap and readily available online or at any brewer's store.

Get winemaking yeast, if possible: If you live in a city that has a home-brewing supply, I advise buying yeast made just for winemaking. Active baker's yeast from grocery stores works ok, but the real winemaking yeast is formulated better for wine, doesn't peter out as fast, and will add a few days to my "one week" method. I have never experienced a "bread smell" using baker's yeast.

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