Comment faire du vin soi-même en 10 étapes ?

How to make wine yourself in 10 steps?

The big trend in recent years is to make everything yourself: your bread, your household products, your cosmetics... In this age of DIY and tutorials of all kinds, some go further, and launch into making their own wine. Arm yourself with patience and tenacity, and let's see together how to make wine yourself in 10 steps .

Step 1: choose the right grapes to make good wine

The basis of any good wine lies in the choice of a good grape. However, not all grapes are made to be made into wine, and some, called "table grapes", are rather intended for consumption. You must therefore start by finding the grape variety that will allow you to obtain the expected results.

First of all, you must choose the color of the grape . If you want to make white wine, then you will need white grapes. On the other hand, to make red wine or rosé wine, you will need black grapes, but you can combine them with white grapes.

Then, to know the quantity of grapes needed , we must take into account the fact that one kilo of grapes allows us to produce approximately 75 cl, the equivalent of a bottle of wine.

Step 2: remove the stem and crush the house wine

Destemming (or destemming) and crushing are two optional steps, but which are strongly recommended. By removing the stem from the bunch of grapes, you will firstly avoid this grassy and tannic taste that it can give to the wine during maceration. Then, crushing allows the grapes to burst and the pulp to be released .

For a long time, crushing was done with the feet, before machines took over. At home, after removing the stems by hand, you can simply put your grapes in a salad bowl and crush them with your fist.

Good to know: remember to wash your grapes before crushing, and not put them in a strainer, otherwise you risk losing all the grape juice by crushing the berries.

Step 3: carry out skin maceration

The skin maceration stage is also optional, but it can be interesting if you want your wine to be fruity, colorful and round.

For homemade wine, you will then need to let the grape must rest for 8 to 10 hours , at a temperature between 0 and 5°C. This condition is essential to avoid triggering the fermentation process, but also to prevent unwanted bacteria from developing.

During skin maceration, the aromas of the grape skins are released, and the colored pigments are transferred into the juice.

Good to know: if you want to make white wine and go through this step, you will absolutely have to use a red grape variety, otherwise you risk seeing your wine turn pink.

Step 4: press the grapes and collect the juice

After several optional stages, pressing is an essential phase of winemaking. This involves pressing the grapes , collecting the juice in the bus and separating it from the must.

Although this step seems easy, almost fun, it is nevertheless delicate, because you must not crush the seeds and the skin of the grapes, at the risk of increasing the bitterness and acidity of the wine. At the same time, you must ensure that you press sufficiently to recover as much grape juice as possible.

At home, two solutions are available to you: either you place the grapes in a strainer, over a container, and you crush the grapes with your fist, collecting the juice from below. Either you put part of the grapes in cheesecloth, above your barrel, and you press everything by hand, until you obtain a compact ball.

Good to know: always with the aim of delaying the start of fermentation, pressing must be done at a temperature below 12°C.

Step 5: settle the grape juice

To make white wine, you will then have to go through settling . In other words, you will have to remove all the suspended particles , called “sludge”. If professionals use the centrifuge or the stabilization technique for this step, at home it is simpler. For a small volume, you will have to wait 24 hours after pressing, so that all the residues fall to the bottom, then pass your juice through a strainer or cheesecloth.

Good to know: if you carried out your pressing with cheesecloth, this step is not necessary, because the juice is already filtered.

Step 6: Let the sugars turn into alcohol

To tell the difference between grape juice and wine, you must go through the alcoholic fermentation stage. This is when the sugars contained in the juice, under the action of yeast, are transformed into alcohol.

You can then choose whether or not to add yeast, to make the process easier, but be aware that wine naturally contains yeast in its skin. They are called indigenous yeasts, as opposed to exogenous yeasts, manufactured in the laboratory.

To carry out alcoholic fermentation at home, you should know that yeasts are only active between 12 and 36°C. It is therefore necessary to maintain the grape juice at the right temperature . At home, room temperature is sufficient.

The alcoholic fermentation process then lasts 10 days on average, and must be done away from oxygen. Without this, the wine risks undergoing oxidation which will alter its taste. Then place the juice in an airtight container, but be sure to also install a bubbler. This accessory will allow the carbon dioxide released by the juice to escape outside, without allowing air to come into contact with the wine.

Step 7: Add Sulphites (Optional)

When the alcoholic fermentation ends, and you open the container, the must risks oxidizing on contact with air and micro-organisms can develop. To protect and stabilize the juice , sulfur dioxide (SO2) can then be added. This sulfiting , optional, requires perfect mastery, and you can do without it for homemade wine.

By doing without this antioxidant, you also avoid the risk of having a headache after a good glass of your wine, because sulphites are often responsible for headaches.

Step 8: reduce the acidity of red wines

For this 8th step, you will need to carry out malolactic fermentation . Almost always absent when making white wines, malolactic fermentation is essential to produce red wines.

It is then sufficient to leave the wine to rest for 10 to 20 days , to allow time for the malic acid to transform into lactic acid. The objective is then to attenuate the acidity of the malic acids, and replacing them with milder lactic acids.

As with alcoholic fermentation, malolactic fermentation must take place at a strict temperature, between 10 and 25°C. During the process, an almost spontaneous clarification will take place, as the solid residues will settle at the bottom of the barrel. It will then be enough to carry out a final filtering after the second fermentation.

Step 9: let the wine age

It is not possible to taste a wine immediately after malolactic fermentation. You will have to wait a little to let the wine age and reach maturity.

For red wine, an aging period of 8 to 12 months will be necessary, compared to only a few months for white wine.

It is during this stage that the aromatic substances in the wine will finish developing, and thus reveal all their characteristics.

Step 10: Bottle the Wine

The final step in making homemade wine is bottling . You must then remember to close the bottle tightly, using a cork or a capsule. Also remember to stick a label, with a minimum of useful information, such as the vintage.

Optional steps before bottling

If you want to refine the quality and characteristics of your bottles of homemade wine, you can use various options:

  • Proceed with the assembly of several different vintages to balance the qualities of each of them;
  • Clarify the wine , using protein glue which will bring together the last suspended components and guide them to the bottom;
  • Carry out a final sulphiting to protect the wine from oxidation...

Making wine requires great expertise and many years of work and refinement. But you can try the experience of vinifying your own wine at home , and discover each step of the process. And to learn more about wine making, don't hesitate to take part in the workshops led by the oenologists from the Berne estate.

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