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Hillbilly Wine-Making 101: Putting It Together

The introduction to this series is here, me rambling about sulphite use is here. I go into a basic (And probably boring to most) explanation of yeast, here.

Oh, you know what they say about intentions. I had intended to keep on, pretty regularly with this when BAM. I got hit with a teething baby issue I had not foreseen. The lack of sleep did a number on my brain and made it hard for me to write much apart from some sentimental or quasi-angsty jibberish. Anyhoo.

I was going to sit down and write out this HUGE LIST O YEASTS! But, turns out, I really don’t have to. Many blogs before me have, so, for the sake of time saving- I’m just going to link you to the best one I found. Daniel Pambianchi over at Maleta Winery has an extensive list that blew the doors off of any other I had seen. His page on Choosing Wine Yeast Strains is long, but very, very worth it and the diagrams are terrific.

As I mentioned before, the basic recipe we’re going to use is:

6-7 pounds of blackberries
2.5 pounds of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of pectic enzyme
7 pints of water
Lavlin D254 yeast, and nutrient.

This should make roughly a one gallon batch of blackberry wine.

I am going to use Crosby and Baker pectic enzyme, but you can use whatever type you see fit, same with your yeast choice. I mentioned before in a comment, I like to use Midwest Supplies, and that is not only where I get my carboys, but my yeast nutrient as well. When you’re making wines with other fruits apart from grapes, yeast nutrient is a…..
….wait for it…

The things you’re going to want to have on hand are:

Large bag for straining, preferably nylon
half-inch plastic tubing, clear
two one gallon carboys or glass jugs- if you get the clear ones, you will want to wrap them in something like a paper bag or a towel.
food grade bucket that has a lid- usually around 2-4 gallon capacity
Five 750 ML bottles
Corks and a hand corker
Fermentation lock and bung

You may also want a hydrometer and a acid titration kit- but, while the hydrometer’s relatively inexpensive, that titration kit can be a little pricey. While both are definitely worthwhile investments: they’re not really that necessary if you’re just making a bit of home-wine. The hydrometer essentially is just going to tell you the weight of your must and how your fermentation is going- this can be important so you can make any adjustments you may need to. The acid titration kit, however, is going to help you better understand the acidity of your wine, and again- make adjustments. When you’re just getting started, however, you know- you can make a basic batch, then you smell it, taste it and go, “Whew. Maybe I wanna…do this next time. Or that.” Use of both of these things can prevent that*, if you do a little homework. For brevity, I’m not going to go into those things, here.

*To a point. If you really get into it, say, you end up with wine in your blood in the oooey gooey sentimental sense, you’re never, ever going to stop doing that. It’s really an art form, and like any art form, each batch you make, you’re going to be thinking about what you can do to improve on it, to tweak it and so on and so forth. No great work of art is ever “finished” in the eyes of the artist and all that. To a Full Winemaking Alchemist- this is the same deal.

3 thoughts on “Hillbilly Wine-Making 101: Putting It Together Leave a comment

  1. I hear ya on the teething baby!! I've been super too tired to write much recently. we are making elderberry wine for the first time this year (next month when they are ripe) and I hear ya on the sulfites! I went into a wine kitz store and he told me I have to use sulphites. nope. not interested. thx for the post!


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