Wine making is cheap, simple, inconspicuous, and ideal for production in less enlightened countries.

Minimum requirements:

1 x 5 gallon plastic jerry can, (suitable for water storage, do not use unknown secondhand jerry cans)
15 x 1.5 litre water bottles (empty)
1m x plastic tubing 6 - 8mm (1/4" to 3/8") internal diameter
Drinkable water, ideally potable tap water.
Warm storage space 20 - 30 degC, ideally 25 - 27 degC

Ingredients for 25 litres (5 gallons):

4 kg sugar
8 - 12 litres pure grape juice, (I prefer red, it's more reliable) usually available in 1 litre cartons (8 litres makes a pale red wine, 12 makes a rich ruby red colour, start with 10, and next time... )
2 tea spoons yeast, wine yeast is best, but baking yeast (granules or solid) is ok and readily available


Cleanliness is next to godliness! Everything should be as clean and sterile as possible. The idea is to provide the best conditions for a yeast to breed, it is also perfect for any other bug to multiply
Wash out the jerry can thoroughly, ideally in hot water
Pour in the grape juice, a funnel made from the neck of a water bottle is useful
Fill the jerry can to within 2" of the top, (this air space is for the frothing)
Add 2 teaspoons of yeast. to this 'mash'

Place the stopper on loosely, expect it to froth over, place in a suitable storage space, place old towels / newspaper under it, or place in some kind of drip tray.
Within 24 to 36 hours it will froth vigorously, (The bubbling is a product of the fermentation process, it shows that alcohol is being produced from the sugar) and then it will begin to slow down, it will produce a distinctive brewing aroma - take suitable precautions.
When it has stopped frothing over, it must still be allowed to vent, but oxygen must be kept out. (If oxygen gets to the wine now, it will oxidise and produce vinegar) Drill the jerry can stopper to fit the tubing tightly, insert the tube, and put the other end into a water bottle, half filled with water, to produce a bubbler system.

When it bubbling stops completely, after about 2 - 3 weeks, the liquid will start to clear, it should be as clear as possible before transferring (using a siphon) into the water bottles.
Leave the sediment in the jerry can, (this is dormant yeast, and can be bottled and stored for use in the next batch).
Store the bottles, preferably somewhere cool, the wine should clear completely within a week, the clear wine can then be decanted into clean bottles, again leaving the sediment in the bottom.

Sample. It should be about 12% alcohol, any cloudiness remaining is yeast and can give you a good clean out (pharaohs revenge) only drink one glass until you are used to it


Fine tuning

Yeast is killed above about 35 degC, don't put it into a hot mash.
Ideal fermentation temperature is about 27 degC for red wine (white wine prefers about 22degC max, not easy in Saudi)

I've stored the entire process in my wardrobe, drilling through the wardrobe and cabin floor to vent the fumes by a tube from the bubbler bottle.
The 1/4" ID tubing should be as short as possible, it will have to vent the frothing over in the first 36 hours, hopefully being contained and re-liquefied in the bubbler bottle, a 1/8" ID tube is too small and will overpressure the jerrycan (boom, splosh, bxxxxxx)

Use a modified wire coat hanger to preset the depth of the tube when 'racking' from the jerry can and decanting from the bottles when serving


Quantity doesn't matter much, it multiplies in the mash, less might make it a day later, more might make it a day earlier, 2 teaspoons is the usual option

Baking yeast will produce max 12% alcohol. (shop bought wine is about 9% alcohol)

Wine yeast can produce 15% alcohol, start the first batch with a sachet of 'Formula 67', bottle the lees (sediment) store in the fridge, and use it to make the next batch......

The sugar is converted into alcohol, too much will produce a too sweet wine, too little will be entirely consumed and produce a very dry wine, 4kg in 25 litres works for me.

Grape juice:

I prefer 1 litre cartons of red grape juice, avoid grape juice 'nectar' and 'mini cartons' (they usually have saccharine and colouring added).

Connoisseurs would use 'Rauch' in flip top bottles, the bottles are ideal for bottling the finished product, or can be used for beer production where they withstand pressure and have an inbuilt safety valve (if you're lucky the washer blows out).

I use a vinometer to show off the wine potency (£1 - £2)


The Winemaking Pages
Winemaking - From Wikipedia
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