A recipe for making dry red table wine

This is a step-by-step recipe for a dry red table wine. A pre-requisite to applying this recipe is to learn the basics of winemaking.

Red wines always are fermented with the skins and pulp in the plastic pail; the solids are pressed after fermentation is complete.


* 18 lbs. ripe red grapes

* 1 campden tablet

* Tartaric acid, if necessary

* Table sugar, if necessary

* 1 packet wine yeast (like Prise de Mousse or Montrachet)

Making process

A photo of white of red grapes1. Harvest grapes once they have reached 22 to 24 percent
sugar (22° to 24° Brix).

2. Sanitize all equipment. Place the grape clusters into the nylon straining
bag and deposit the bag into the bottom of the food-grade pail. Using
very clean hands or a sanitized tool like a potato masher, firmly crush
the grapes inside the bag. Crush the campden tablet (or measure out
1 teaspoon of sulfite crystals) and sprinkle over the must in the nylon
bag. Cover pail with cheesecloth and let sit for one hour.

3. Measure the temperature of the must. It should be between 70°
and 75° F. Take a sample of the juice in the pail and measure the
acid with your titration kit. If it’s not between 6 to 7 grams per liter
then adjust with tartaric acid.

4. Check the degrees Brix or specific gravity of the must. If it isn’t
around 22° Brix (1.0982 SG), add a little bit of sugar dissolved
in water.

5. Dissolve the yeast in 1 pint warm (80° to 90° F) water and
let stand until bubbly (it should take no more than 10 minutes). When
it’s bubbling, pour yeast solution directly on must inside the nylon
bag. Agitate bag up and down a few times to mix yeast. Cover pail with
cheesecloth, set in a warm (65° to 75° F) area and check that
fermentation has begun in at least 24 hours. Monitor fermentation progression
and temperature regularly. Keep the skins under the juice at all times
and mix twice daily.

6. Once the must has reached “dryness” (at least 0.5°
Brix or 0.998 SG), lift the nylon straining bag out of the pail and
squeeze any remaining liquid into the pail.

7. Cover the pail loosely and let the wine settle for 24 hours. Rack
off the sediment into a sanitized one-gallon jug, topping up with a
little boiled, cooled water to entirely fill the container. Fit with
a sanitized bung and fermentation lock. Keep the container topped with
grape juice or any dry red wine of a similar style. After 10 days, rack
the wine into another sanitized one-gallon jug. Top up with dry red
wine of a similar style.

8. After six months, siphon the clarified, settled wine off the sediment
and into clean, sanitized bottles. Cork with the hand-corker.

9. Store bottles in cool, dark place and wait at least six months before

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