More than a year ago, I posted a recipe for Homemade Rosé Wine from the More Pots and Pans Cookbook. I’m not sure if anyone else out there tried the recipe, but I for one never got around to making it. This year, however, it was on my list of things to try, and I figured Memorial Day, the Unofficial First Day of Summer, was as good a time as any to get the project started. Best case scenario, we will be enjoying delicious homemade wine mid-summer! Worst case, I wasted a few dollars and will have a gallon of something that doesn’t taste very good.
The ingredients for this project totaled less than $5 and are pretty easy to obtain:
- 12-ounce can of grape juice concentrate
- 1 envelope (or 2-1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
- granulated sugar1
The only supplies that I needed to get started were a gallon-size container and some cheesecloth. The recipe calls for a “gallon bottle” and I didn’t have much luck finding something in a store, so I ordered this jar from Amazon. Although I’m not using it right now, the jar does come with a plastic screw-on lid, which means that once it has served its purpose as a wine-brewing vessel, I can use it for something else (unless, of course, this wine is so exceptional that we want to have some fermenting on the kitchen counter year-round).
I am copying Ann Savor’s (of Warren, OH) original recipe below, along with some notes of my own:
HOMEMADE ROSÉ WINE (Domače vino2)
In a gallon bottle dissolve the sugar in one quart warm water. Shake bottle to dissolve sugar. Add thawed grape juice. Fill jar with warm water to about 2 inches from top to give headspace for fermentation. Add the dry yeast and stir (a long slender knife or wooden dowel will work). Cover with cheese cloth. Mix every other day for four to six weeks until fermentation stops, which depends on the weather.
There are 2 methods to tell if fermentation has stopped3:
- After a week, put a strong balloon on the bottle to check on fermentation. When the ‘gas’ comes up, the balloon is upright. When limp, no more ‘gas.’ This means the wine is ready to cap.
- If a balloon is not used, fermentation has ceased when the tiny surface bubbles disappear and the wine is clear above the sediment.
To siphon4, place the gallon filled jug on the edge of the table and a glass jar or bottles on the floor. Through a plastic or rubber tube, siphon the clear wine into the jar/jars leaving sediment behind. Cap and store in basement to ‘age’ for at least 4 weeks or longer. “I have some that is a year old and enjoy it.”
NOTE: Supplies can be purchased in a winery equipment store.5
1: The original recipe calls for 3-1/2 cups of sugar. Some sugar is absolutely needed because it serves as fuel for the yeast, but because I do not like very sweet wine, I decided to take a chance on decreasing the amount of sugar called for, and I put in about 1-1/2 cups (keep in mind there is also significant sugar in the grape juice).
2: The Slovenian translates literally as “homemade” or “local” wine.
3: Because I am using a wide-mouth jar, I won’t be able to use Ms. Savor’s “balloon method,” so instead I will just be tracking bubbles.
4: I’m a little uncertain about the siphoning method… so I will do some research over the next few weeks to see how this is best accomplished.
5: I haven’t bought any other supplies! (yet)
I will be posting updates on the Grandma’s Icebox Instagram page, if you’d like to follow along! (@grandmasicebox, or, if you are not on Instagram, the right sidebar of this page!) Please comment below if you plan to make your own jug of wine along with me!