When you look at the selection of wine on the shelves, do you ever wonder whether the wine makers used specific recipes for each one?
Truth is, wine makers have been trained how to make wine, and of course they have recipes. But when they make their wine they also change things, like the type of grape or quantity (if any) of added sugar, or the brand of yeast they use. They usually keep a wine log and note everything they did and what happened during the fermentation process. Then they can fine tune each batch of wine they make until they produce something really special.
While master wine makers can adapt known recipes and come up with their own award-winning concoctions, if you are going try your hand at making wine at home, you'll be a lot safer if you stick to a wine making recipe that tells you exactly what to do.
Here's a recipe that uses white grape concentrate and bananas to make a table wine you'll be proud of.
To make two gallons, you'll need two cans of concentrate, two teaspoons of wine yeast, one teaspoon of yeast nutrient, two pounds of sugar and a pound of bananas. Bananas might seem to be a strange ingredient to add to wine, but because they are quite bland, they don't interfere with the grape flavor but add immediate body and smoothness to the wine.
You will also need an eight ounce glass bottle to activate the yeast, a glass bowl, a two-gallon bucket with a lid, a siphon, two one-gallon glass jars and some cotton wool.
First activate the yeast in four ounces of tepid (blood-heat) water. Peel and slice the bananas, put in the bowl and cover with boiling water to steep. Leave the bottle in a warm place (around 70 ° F) for six hours, and let the bananas sit for the same period.
Stand the cans of concentrate in hot water in the sink for about half an hour, especially if the weather is cold. Then pour the concentrate into the bucket. Rinse the cans and add this water to the bucket. Strain the water from the bananas and pour this into the bucket too. Then add enough tepid water to fill the bucket. Add half the sugar and stir. Add the yeast, cover and leave in a warm place for three days.
After three days dissolve the rest of the sugar in a little water and stir into the bucket with the yeast nutrient. Leave for another week. Fermentation should have subsided and the yeast particles should have sunk to the bottom. The liquid should be clear and the wine should taste quite dry.
Siphon the wine equally into the two glass jars and top up with water. Plug the top of the jars with cotton wool and let stand at room temperature. The wine will become even dryer as in continues to ferment very gently.
After three to four weeks, siphon into wine bottles ready for drinking.