Making Apple Wine
By Ed Kraus
Here is some general information for making your own apple wine. It is a very easy and straight forward process. If you have never made wine before, you may find this to be a good wine to start with.
What Kind Of Apple Cider Should I Use?
The first issue at hand is obtaining the cider. This shouldn't be to hard. Any roadside stand will do. The type of apples used for making apple wine is not to critical. Some winemakers are of the opinion that a blend of several apple varieties is best for the sake of balance, but in my opinion any common variety seems to stand well on its own.
It is important however, to make sure that no preservatives have been added to the cider that might interfere with the fermentation. Cider that contains preservatives like "Sodium Benzoate" and "Potassium Sorbate" should not be purchased for making wine - Ascorbic Acid is okay. If the labeling doesn't say, then ask.
What Equipment Will I Need?
The equipment you will need is no different than any other wine making endeavor. You'll need a Primary and Secondary fermentation vessel, air-lock, siphoning equipment, hydrometer, etc. For more information about home wine making equipment, see the article, "How To Get Started In Home Wine Making". All of this equipment is available at EC Kraus ! Be sure to get all your tools before wine season is over!
What Ingredients Will I Need?
For every gallon of cider add to it:
* 1 Pound of Cane Sugar
* 1 Teaspoon of Yeast Nutrient
* 1/8 Teaspoon of Pectic Enzyme
* 1-1/2 Teaspoon of Acid Blend
* 1/4 Teaspoon of Wine Tannin
* 1/8 Teaspoon of Ascorbic Acid
* 1 Campden Tablet (crushed and dissolved)
A little later, you will also be adding 1 Package of Lalvin EC-1118 for every batch up to 5 gallons in size. All of the above items can be found in the wine making section of our website
1. Mix together everything listed above in an open container (primary fermenter), EXCEPT for the yeast. Cover with a light towel and let sit for 24 hour.
2. After 24 hours, add one package of Lalvin EC-1118 Yeast for each batch that is 5 gallons in size or less. Batches larger than 5 gallons will require a minimum one package of yeast for every 5 gallons.
3. Allow to ferment 4 to 5 days or until your hydrometer reads around 1.030 to 1.040 on the Specific Gravity scale.
4. After 4 or 5 days, carefully siphon the wine into a Glass Carboy so as to leave most of the sediment behind. This is called "Racking". The Secondary Fermenter should be some type of food-grade container that will allow you to attach an Air-Lock to it.
5. Allow the wine to ferment another 2 to 3 weeks under air-lock, or until the hydrometer reads .998 or less on the Specific Gravity scale. Now the wine needs to clear. This usually takes at least and additional 2 to 3 weeks.
6. Once the wine is completely cleared, add a second dose of Campden Tablets at the rate of 1 tablet per gallon. And it is then ready to be bottled and aged.
For a little more information on the fermentation process and how to avoid any pitfalls, you might read the article, "The Top 10 Reasons For Fermentation Failure".
If You Like Your Apple Wine Sweet . . .
You can sweeten it with more sugar, honey or whatever. But, three things have to happen first:
* One, the fermentation needs to have already stopped completely and the wine given a couple of weeks or better to completely clear.
* Two, you need to carefully siphon the wine off the sediment into a clean container. Otherwise, this sediment will be stirred up again when you mix in your sugar.
* Three, Potassium Sorbate needs to be added to the apple wine as a stabilizer. Otherwise, the fermentation will eventually start up again when the sugar is added.
"Making Sweet Wines"
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.