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When making wine, it is useful to understand the fermentation process. First though let us start with a list of the utensils you will need in wine-making.

Utensils and vessels do not use an enamel vessel not ordinarily intended for cooking purposes as these often contain lead in the glaze, and this could render wines poisonous. Gallon-size glass bottles may be had from most chemists or wholesale grocers for about $. 25. It is best to ferment the liquors in the gallon-size glass bottle.

This is the process by which the liquors we prepare are turned into wine, and we have nothing to do with it. All we do when making wine is to prepare a liquid containing substances that will give a pleasant flavor to what will eventually become a finished wine. The yeast we add turns the liquid into wine for us.

Ordinarily, bakers' yeast and white granulated sugar are used by the average home wine maker. However, over the past few years wine-making has taken such a hold that suppliers of equipment and ingredients offer a wide range of yeasts specially imported from the wine-producing areas of France, Italy and Germany. These yeasts make the finest wines because they are true wine yeasts whereas bakers' yeast is only bread yeast and should not be expected to make good wine though of course it does, but not to be compared with the results following the use of wine yeasts.

Wine yeast is capable of producing eighteen per cent of alcohol by volume (32 proof), against the fourteen per cent of bakers' yeast. More and more people are using these wine yeasts together with invert sugar instead of household sugar. Now let us understand what happens when we add yeast to a prepared liquor containing sugar.

Yeast is a living thing a plant or fungus, it has not been decided which, and when introduced into a sugar solution it begins almost at once to reproduce itself. Billions of living cells so tiny that three thousand could comfortably queue across a halfpenny begin their life cycle and in doing so produce alcohol and carbon dioxide gas. As will be appreciated, the alcohol we make is merely a by-product of yeast reproduction.

Many, many generations of yeast are 'born', grow up and die in the course of turning a prepared liquor into wine.

When making wines, fermentation is seen as a slight frothing during the early stages and this soon settles down to a gentle ferment that may last as long as six months. But if warmth is given fermentation should be over and done with in half that time.

All the time fermentation is going on; that is, all the time the yeast continues to reproduce itself, the amount of alcohol in the wine increases. But it cannot go on for ever because when what we call the maximum alcohol tolerance of the yeast is reached, the alcohol formed kills the yeast.

It will be seen then that from the tiny amount of yeast we add at the start masses of new yeast is made and all this helps to make alcohol until the last surviving generation of the original yeast is finally destroyed by the alcohol it and all the other generations put together have formed since we began. When this happens, fermentation ceases and no more alcohol is made. Thus the old tale that the longer wine is kept the stronger it becomes is proved a fallacy or old wives' tale.

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