Since we’ve started this new venture in making our own wine, we are often asked – isn’t this hard to do? Don’t you need a lot of special stuff? Doesn’t it take a lot of time?
Our best way to answer those questions is to use a process that everyone understands – making apple cider. Most of us have visited a cider mill and watched as the presses squeezed every drop of juice from the apples, sent the juice through a maze of tubes, and the finished product was bottled by the gallon, quart or pint.
So, how does this relate to wine?
The cider mill picks or purchases bushels of apples to make the cider.
As a wine maker, I have a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and flowers that I can pick for my wine in addition to the traditional grapes. Unlike the cider mill, that can only produce cider with apples are in season, a winery, such as ours, can start a batch of wine selecting from the produce that is in season.
Both are so similar – they rely on produce that is in season.
The apples in the cider mill are pressed, usually in a cloth sandwiched between wood that exerts a tremendous force on the apples. The result is the juice.
The wine process is similar. Grapes, apples, and other fruit can be pressed in order to obtain the juice for the wine. Vegetables are often cooked to release their juices, and flowers are steeped like tea. More delicate fruits, like strawberries, can be run through a juicer.
In any case, both the cider mill and the winery rely on a method of juicing the produce.
Here is one area where there is a difference in the process. At the cider mill, once the juice is flowing, it goes right to bottling.
A winery needs to add sugar, other optional ingredients, and yeast to the juice of the selected produce. This is the step that transforms ordinary juice into an alcoholic beverage. The amount of sugar determines the level of alcohol in the finished product. This process typically takes four to six months to complete.
The standard containers for apple cider are plastic jugs in gallon, quart, or pint sizes.
Wine can be bottled in the standard 750 ml bottles or the one-serving 187 ml bottles. The bottles can be clear or tinted and labeled accordingly.
The products are now ready for purchase.
The wine making process is not extremely difficult and it doesn’t need a lot of “special” equipment. Yes, it does take time to process, but, we guarantee you, it’s worth the wait.
KeiLin Farm, a producer of farm fresh beef and eggs, as well as premium hay, is located in Rose Township, Michigan and is in the process of acquiring the required licenses to become a small wine maker.