This is a step-by-step recipe for a dry white table wine. A prerequisite to applying this recipe is to learn the basics of winemaking.
White wines are always pressed before fermentation, so only the grape juice winds up in the fermenting pail.
* 18 lbs. ripe white grapes
* 1 campden tablet
* Tartaric acid, if necessary
* Table sugar, if necessary
* 1 packet wine yeast (like Champagne or Montrachet)
1. Harvest grapes once they have reached 19 to 22 percent
sugar (19° to 22° Brix). Pick over grapes, removing any moldy clusters, insects, leaves or stems.
2. Place the grape clusters into the nylon straining bag and put into the bottom of the food-grade plastic pail. Using very clean hands or a sanitized tool like a potato masher, firmly crush up the grapes inside the nylon bag.
3. Crush the campden tablet (or measure out one teaspoon of sulfite crystals) and sprinkle over the crushed fruit in the bag. Cover pail and bag with cheesecloth and let sit for one hour.
4. Lift the nylon straining bag out of the pail. Wring the bag to extract
as much juice as possible. You should have about one gallon of juice
in the pail.
5. Measure the temperature of the juice. It should be between 55° to 65° F. Adjust temperature as necessary. Take a sample of the juice in the pail and use your titration kit to measure the acid level. If it is not between 6.5 and 7.5 grams per liter, then adjust with tartaric acid as described above.
6. Check the degrees Brix or specific gravity of the juice. If it isn’t around 22° Brix (1.0982 SG) adjust accordingly.
7. Dissolve the packet of yeast in 1 pint warm (80° to 90° F) water and let stand until bubbly (no more than 10 minutes). When it’s bubbling, pour yeast solution directly into the juice. Cover pail with cheesecloth, set in a cool (55° to 65° F) area and check that fermentation has begun in at least 24 hours. Monitor fermentation progression
and temperature at least once daily.
8. Once the must has reached dryness (at least 0.5 degrees Brix or 0.998 SG), rack the wine off the sediment into a sanitized one-gallon jug, topping up with dry white wine of a similar style. Fit with a sanitized bung and fermentation lock. Keep the container topped with white wine. Be sure the fermentation lock always has sulfite solution in it. After
10 days, rack the wine into another sanitized one-gallon jug. Top up with wine again.
9. After three months, siphon the clarified wine off the sediment and into clean, sanitized bottles and cork them.
10. Store bottles in cool, dark place and wait at least three months before drinking.