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      11.11.2013 20:30
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      If you've got an apple tree or some reduced in the shops, give it a go

      INTRODUCTION This is a very easy to make apple wine that I've recently started a batch of at home using all those lovely windfall apples from a tree near where I work. I made the same last year and to say it was good is an understatement. It's not a quick process, but the effort is well worth the end result. It tastes different to shop bought wines / ciders, mainly due to the fact that homemade brewers don't typically add all manner of nutrients and chemicals in the brewing process. You might be shocked how basic this recipe is, but trust me - it works! I USED: A large plastic storage box and two dinner trays as a lid - all thoroughly scrubbed with bleach and then rinsed 5 carrier bags of apples - wiped with a dry cloth to remove any soil / dead leaves Food processor Half a bag of granulated sugar 10 litres of room temperature water Sieve lined with muslin (I use a set of old but clean net curtains) Siphoning tube Finishing powder METHOD 1. Make sure the container you will be fermenting the apples in is super clean. If you use bleach to do this, be sure to rinse it well so that there isn't any nasty residual taste left in there. 2. Chop the apples into rough quarters, then add to a food processor - the aim is to release as much liquid as possible. Some people spend good money on a fruit press, but even small ones of these start at about £40 so you would have to make an awful lot of wine in order to recoup your cost. I leave the pips in the apples and also the skins are left on - it all adds to the flavour. 3. When the apples have been blitzed, add the whole lot into the container and using very clean hands, press out any large lumps with your knuckles. The end result should look like a very wet, juicy puree, and it smells heavenly. I use a plastic storage box - we have plenty of these at home so I don't need to spend any extra on demi-johns etc. 4. Sprinkle half a bag of sugar evenly over the pulp - this will feed the yeast that the apples contain. Yeast is the brewer's friend - feed it with sugar and it will give off carbon dioxide and alcohol. There is an amount of natural sugars already in the apples so in theory you don't need to add more, but I find it makes for a sweeter tasting end product and also speeds up the yeast slightly. 5. Pour onto this pulpy mess about ten litres of water, give a good mix with a clean ladle and then cover, sit back and let nature do her funky thing. Try and get a good cover on the container so that wild yeasts can't enter and spoil the brew, but don't have an air tight seal or else the carbon dioxide pressure will build and potentially explode. 6. Every few days, check that the liquid is bubbling - when I look at mine I can guarantee that within a minute I'll see some bubbles rising up to the top and they make a satisfying plop sound. This means that the yeast is working. When checking for signs that the yeast is working, also take the opportunity to scoop out any apples that have started to grow mould on them - this can sometimes happen. All the bits of fruit rise to the top so it's easy to spot and the mould won't actually be in the liquid, so don't worry, it hasn't killed me yet! When doing this, I take the opportunity to give it a bit of a stir as well so that all the pieces of apple are submerged in the liquid at some point. 7. After three weeks, I dip a spoon in and have a little taste - it should taste boozy by now. The next step is to remove as much fruit as I can scoop out, but I let the fruit drain off back into the container before I add it to the compost heap. Next I stop the yeast. I prefer to stop the yeast by adding some finishing powder - it's very cheap to buy and I get mine from Wilkinsons. 8. At this stage, the wine will be quite cloudy and contain lots of sediment - bits of fruit, dead yeast cells etc. By siphoning off the liquid into new containers (other buckets, bottles etc) and leaving a layer of sediment at the bottom, the wine will become clearer. This is called racking - allow the sediment in the wine to settle between each racking. I do this no more than four times over the course of a week, and each time I seal the container I have racked the liquid into to prevent air getting to it and spoiling it. 9. When all the racking has been done, it is ready for bottling. Use ultra clean bottles, and if there is any fizz left at all (you will see bubbles rising up the side of the container if the yeast hasn't all been killed off) it's best not use glass bottles as these can explode, plastic might be best. However, I always use glass as I'm sure I have killed the yeast off by this stage. Purists say that the wine should be left for at least three months for the flavours to mature, but I can never wait that long, and I'm not a connoisseur so wouldn't be able to taste the subtle differences anyway. However long you decide to wait, hopefully you'll enjoy the taste - as I said before, it's different to shop bought ciders/ wines and tastes that much nicer because you've made it yourself. There is a lot more science to wine brewing, for example there are four blends of apples that can be mixed to create different effects (bitter sweet, dry etc), but for a beginner's level I've found the above method works fine and has given me some very enjoyable results. I'll leave the science to the big boys like Magners and ze French. Thanks for reading.

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        05.04.2010 12:56
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        As a first time this worked really well, give it a go, its really cheap!

        My boyfriends dad has been making his own wine for ages and he has bottles dated back from 1990 up in his attic. Whenever we go out for an indian and we can take our own wine,or when we have a takeaway, we always manage to 'borrow' a bottle of his wine as its free and usually tastes gorgeous. I kept pestering my boyfriend last summer to allow him for us to make our own and go and pick our own fruit, and let his dad help us with it. Finally he agreed, so out we went to find the fruit. We made three different types of wine, peach, blackberry and plum. We bought the peaches but picked our own plums and blackberries, so obviosly the peach wine worked out more expensive. Here though is our recipe for the plum wine: Note, this makes around 12 bottles or 2gallons Roughly 10 lb of plums(we mixed yellow egg and purple egg the more you use the stronger the flavour) 1 lb sultanas 2 tsp pectolase 2 camden tablets 2 tsp citric acid 1 tsp yeast First we stoned the plums, and put them in a container along with the raisens and boiling water until covered and mashed them up to release the juices. We also added two camden tablets to prevent the plums going brown. After 24 hours we added the pectolase in order to prevent the wine from going thick and oily, and give a pure clear wine at the end. We went back for the following two days to keep mashing them to release as much as we could. After three days we strained all of the liquid out of the skins as we could and put it into another container and added the yeast, citric acid, sugar and fermented until the sugar had worked out of the mixture. This took around 10 days. We then let it stand for around two weeks and then took it off the sediment to reduce the amount of 'bits' in the wine. Again, we let it stand for around a month and a layer of sediment had built up again, so we took it off the sediment again. About three months later we seperated the wine and left it in two demi-jons, one we added more sugar to which made it slightly sweeter, and the other we left the same in order to give a slightly drier wine. About a month after this we filtered the wine one final time and then bottled it up. As i said, the amount of fruit are rough and you could make this last for around 3 gallons of slightly lesser flavoured wine, but the more fruit you pack in per gallon, the more flavoursome the overall wine will be. Overall this made us 12 bottles of wine but you could double the mixture and obviously make double the wine. We were just trying the process out to see how we found it and it was surprisingly easy. The wine has quite a nice bite to it and both the sweet and dry versions were full of flavour. Overall I would reccommend trying it as it is so cheap. It worked out to about 20p per bottle which you just cant argue with. The only expensive parts are the powders which you have to add but these are usually no more than a few pound for a small tub which lasts for ages so again the cost per bottle is negligible.

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          24.04.2009 16:46
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          Tasty summer wine

          A few weeks ago I had a week off work. After 2 days I was thoroughly bored so decided to try making my own wine. It's something I've been wanting to try for ages, but everyday life always got in the way! I'm so glad I tried it though, the results were fab! Ingredients - 3kg Apples - 1kg Sugar - 250 ml grape concentrate - 1 tsp pectolase - Tannin - 1 tsp acid blend or citric acid - Yeast - 1 campden tablet - Potassium Sorbate - 2 Demi Johns (I got mine from the local market, pretty reasonable price) Although the list does look long and full of odd ingredients, I had little trouble finding everything. I got the pectolase and the campden tablets in Wilkinsons and bought the potassium sorbate off ebay. the only thing I couldn't find was the tannin, so I left it out, but it seems to have worked fine without it! Recipe - Crush or grate the apples into small pieces. Put it all into the demi john. - Pour 4 pints of boiling water over the fruit and add the sugar. - When lukewarm, add the rest of ingredients plus 2 pints of cold water. - Top up to shoulders of demi-john - It should start bubbling within 24 hours. If it doesn't, add more yeast. - After 3 days strain off. The recipe said to use a straining bag, but I didn't have one of these so I used a piece of muslin that I bought from my local market. - Put into the clean demi john, close the airlock and leave to ferment. This may take a few days or a couple of weeks depending on the temperature. - When the bubbles stop coming through the airlock, or slow down to about one every 2 minutes, test the wine. - I performed the taste test, if it's too sweet leave it to ferment longer. - If it's dry or tastes just right, syphon off into a clean demi john. - Add 1 campden tablet and the potassium sorbate. - Leave to clear. - When clear, syphon into a clean demi john or bottle. - If it's too dry sweeten with sugar but make sure it doesn't start fermenting again What I thought of the recipe I was anticipating a lot of hassle making the wine. Recipes are usually never as easy to follow as they seem and first attempts rarely turn out well! I followed the recipe nearly to the letter and it really is as easy as it seems. The majority of the ingredients were easy to get hold off and not too expensive. The Demi Johns were the main expense, but in the long run they will save me money, as the ingredients themselves are very cheap. What I though of the most important thing.....THE WINE! After trying my Dad's dodgy home brew before I was a bit apprehensive about the first 'proper' taste of the wine. I was expecting a sour vinegary flavour, but I was pleasantly surprised! The apple taste is very strong, but not overbearing. It's sweet, but not too sweet and it has a definite kick. On the whole it tastes fresh and crisp and will be ideal for drinking over the summer. The only problem was it went down far too easily! Next time I make it, probably in the autumn time, I'm going to try adding cinnamon to give it a bit more of a autumnal feel.

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            21.02.2008 10:12
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            Esay affordable wine for people with the neccessary equipment.

            What can i say ,proper australian red wine for less than 50p a bottle. Hubby and i are quite new to winemaking and had a lot of success with white wine kits but had yet to make a red with the depth and body of a shop bought red,they all turned out more like rose than red,palatable but hubby likes proper red!. We bought a Bel Vino Australian red kit online from www.easybrew.co.uk for £12.50 it was a kit that makes 30 bottles and contains all the ingredients except sugar. These kits contain a mixture of dried fruit and oak chips you basically put it in a barrel with water add some chemicals after a week you strain it add some more chemicals leave for 2 days and its ready.Easy peasy if you have the equipment the biggest problem we had was finding enough bottles to put it in ,so under cover of darkness we "recycled our neighbours recycling" We are so impressed with this wine and we have bought a chardonnay kit to do next maybe that will be just as good

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              17.05.2003 02:37
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              Dandelions are considered to be weeds, but the brightness of their colour always makes me want to make use of these weeds to my advantage. You do not have to go very far and sooner or later you are bound to come across a golden patch of dandelions. Gather your dandelions and place them in your creel or other suitable basket and journey on home ready to make your dandelion wine. Recipe 1oz whole ginger 5 pints of dandelion flowers (stalks and leaves removed) 8 pints of boiling water 3lb sugar Juice of 1 lemon and 1 orange ½ oz yeast Place the ginger and the dandelion flowers in the boiling water and allow them to stand for 4 days stirring from time to time. Strain the liquid after the 4 days through several thickness of fine muslin Stir in the sugar, fruit juices and the yeast. Keep in a warm cupboard or room (65 to 75 Fahrenheit) and allow it to ferment When you are sure that the fermentation is complete (bubbles have ceased) stir the wine. Keep it for 3 days and allow to settle. Strain the wine once more and pour it into a corked demi-john (not bottles) After 6 months of maturing pour it into bottles then keep for a further 4 months before enjoying your first bottle of home made dandelion wine. Dandelion wine is a light coloured and textured wine enjoyable at any time.

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                23.07.2001 22:32
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                I honestly do not understand the obsession with grape wine, and perhaps once you've tried elderberry, you will agree with me. Elderberry trees grow wild in this country, and you cannot buy the fruit. I'll start by talkign about how to harvest, then go on to preparation and a basic recepie. Elderberrys are qite distinctive - at their tallest the trees tend to be about 12-15 feet. They have green leaves shaped a bit like arrowheads, these leaves are paired down a thin branch (A bit like ash or rowan leaves.) The berries grow in large clusters, and when ripe are purpley black. When underripe they will be red or green. It's best to pick really ripe fruit. If in doubt, take a nature book out of the library and get a picture. To harvest. It's no good at all trying to pick berry by berry - you will be there all day. Take a sharp scisors, small knife or garden implement with you, and cut the bunchs of berries. It's better not to rob any tree or area of fruit as the birds will also be wanting their share. Once you have as much as you want (or can carry) get it home. Ripe elderbrries will not keep for long even in your fridge, so you need to clean and prepaire them within the next 48 hours. This is a big job, you may need to enlist help. Wash the clusters lightly, remove any insects and any rotten fruit. You now need to get the berrie off the clusters. Some people think that using a fork is best, I do better with my fingers. Either way you need a very light touch. Gather the fruit in bowls, weight. Note, any equiptment used should be sterelised first - I recomend anything suitable for baby stuff. Making the wine. Elderberry works well if you mix it pound for pound with sugar. You want about a gallon of water to every five pounds of fruit. (Versions vary.) You will also need wine yeast (Boots, or any brewing shop.) The water should be boiling when it goes on the fruit and sugar, wait until it has all c olled down before adding the yeast. Over the following week you should stir the fruit every day. Keep it covered and in a moderatley warm plac the rest of the time. Straining the fruit is a hard job - you will need a fine muslin, or a bag (Again, Boots can help you out here.) Strain into saucepans, bowls and anything else clean you can find. This is a two person job one to hold the strainign bag in place, one to ladle liquid in. Don't squeeze the remaining fruit too hard our you will end up with a syrup rather than a wine. Transfer (By means of a plastic tube) your liquid into demijohns, and seal with corks airlocks, very cunning plastic devices that hold water - go to your Boots (Again! or you could make a list and get it all first time round.) These will keep dust out of your wine, and allow you to see if it is bubbling (and therefore fermenting.) Keep your fermenting wine in a warm, but not hot place - airing cupboards are great for this. Wait patently for months. Elderberry takes a long time, anything up to a year in fact. Wait until you are sure it has fermented because this is the worst wine I've found for blowing up. You may want to bear that in mind when storing it - don't leave it next to anything you value. Bottle it up, being careful not to bottle up the sediment, of which there will be quite a lot. Elderberry wine is best if left to mature for a long time - give it a year in bottles at the least, if you can wait, give it longer. My father kept a bottle for ten years and it was amazing. This is undoubtedly the best wine you can make, ever. You may want to experiment with the sugar to fruit ratio as some people like their wine sweeter than others - a good wine book will give you a range of options for sugar based on the results youw ant. A final note - I've seen a few wine books give advice for trampling your fruit. This is totally insane and should be avoided.

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                  03.06.2001 08:12
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                  This simple recipe makes 5 litres of light white wine. What you need: -------------- 3kg dessert apples 2kg cooking apples Campden tablets x 2 (Wilikinsons sell these) Pectin enzyme 15g (Wilkinsons) White sugar 1.25 kg Wine yeast Water Glass demijohn Bottles (or second demijohn and bung) Corks Muslin cloth Grater, liquidiser or mincer Syphon tube (Wilkinsons) Sterilizing powder for all equipment How to do it: ------------- CAUTION: All utensils must be sterilized before use. If you don't do this your wine will probably spoil and you won't be able to drink it. --------- Grind the apples in a mincer or liquidiser, or grate them if you have neither of these. Drop the fruit into 3 litres of water in which the Campden tablets have been disolved. Add the Pectin and next day add the yeast. Keep in a suitable container at a temperature of around 18C and squash the pulp at intervals to squeeze out the juice. After 2 or 3 days squeeze out through muslin or a very fine seive and disolve the sugar into the juice. (A muslin cloth gives much better results than a seive. You can buy a small piece of white muslin off the roll in a shop that sells fabric. This might be cheaper than buying a roll of it from a winemakers shop.) Make the volume up to 5litres again with water. Fit an airlock and leave to ferment at a temperature of about 18C. When fermentation stops put the jar in a cool place, (you will able to see when there is no more activity in the wine.) When the wine is clear syphon it off into another demijohn (racking). Repeat if you need to. When you are ready to bottle the wine (or syphon it for the last time into a fresh clean demijohn, add 1 Campden tablet per 5litres of wine. Keep the wine in a cool place. It will be ready for d rinking in about three months and will keep for up to a year. Give this a try and you may suprise yourself. It could be the start of a satisfying hobby!

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