Tart, light, and still, Apple wine is the type of drink you sip on a warm summer afternoon or with a freshly baked cake and the company of your close buddies.
Nonetheless, it’s not that easy to prepare…
Complexity is not in ingredients or the process, but in the actual recipe since most of them out there are either for cider or apple beer.
While beers and cider are sweet and delicious, they don’t come any close to the smooth consistency and subtle fruitiness that genuine apple wine offers.
Apart from that, when you master the winemaking process. Maybe you prefer sweet apple wine. No problem, you can tweak the recipe and create your own homemade apple wines with different flavours and aromas that you enjoy the most!
With this recipe you’ll be able to prepare traditional, refreshing and delicious drink and we will answer the all important question of how to make apple wine? right in your home!
Ingredients Per 1 Gallon (6 Bottles) of Apple Wine
You can get all needed ingredients below:
What follows next is the quick step by step instructions on making apple wine.
Let’s Start With Needed Equipement
For those newcomers to the wine making scene that don’t want to purchase each individual piece of equipment individually, there’s a very convenient solution out there in the form of Homemade Starter Kit.
If you’d still like to buy each equipment separately, the specific items you will need to get started are listed below:
- Food grade sterilized fermenting (brewing) bin with at least a gallon capacity. The white bucket on the left side is food grade plastic container with the capacity of 5 gallons. You can use it for almost anything and you can get it for as cheap as $48 on the market today.
- Two glass demijohns with at least 2 gallon capacity.
- Simply fitted airlock and bung.
- Regular coarse mesh nylon straining bag or we also like to use the extra large version.
- Vinyl siphon tube with a minimum length of 4 ft.
- 4-8 Clear glass wine bottles, corker and fitted corks.
- White plastic funnel.
Step 1: Picking Apples
By far, picking apples off their trees is the best method to acquire good and fresh apples.
Apples grow and mature with seasons and as such, you should pick them between late spring seasons down to the winter – depending on your choice of apple variety.
In reality, there isn’t a good or bad apple type for making wine. For those that like sweet wine, go for sweet apples, while for those that prefer dry wine, bitter ones make the cut.
It’s known that blending different apple varieties together evens out the must composition and often results in richer and more complex wine!
What is more important is the quality of the fruit. To help you, check the following preconditions:
- Minimal bruising (A bruised apple begins to slightly rot, soften and sweeten over time which can alter the taste of both the apple and final product-wine).
- Unbroken skin (to avoid the risk of a worm or worse, maggots in the wine),
- Preferably organic,
- Well cleaned and of course,
- Fresh apples are the best!
Step 2: Preparing Your Apples
Unlike with various apple preservation methods, preparing apples for your apple wine recipe is super easy.
As long as they remain whole and unscratched, you’re good to go.
Why? As soon as you cut or peel them, they immediately start fermenting and in a matter of minutes, they are down rotting which is, of course, a shame and loss.
That being said, make sure to remove bad apples and cut out all parts of apples that have been damaged.
Simply wash them properly and leave them whole until seconds prior to using them.
Step 3: Preparing the Mixture
- Boil water and add sugar,
- Chop up your apples, place them in the nylon straining bag,
- Put the straining bag with apples at the bottom of your plastic bin,
- Pour sugary boiling water over it, top it up with warm water,
- Add yeast nutrient, citric acid, wine tannin and stir it thoroughly,
- Wait for 2 hours, add crushed campden tablet, leave it like this for 10 hours (overnight),
- Add the pectic enzyme and stir it thoroughly.
So how to make delicious sweet apple wine?
It all starts with this: Heat up the water in a large stainless steel pot and add 2 pounds of granulated white sugar. Bring to the boil and simmer for approximately 10-15 minutes.
Once that’s done, start chopping your apples into small pieces (no need to press or juice the apples) and place them inside the nylon straining bag, put it at the bottom of the plastic fermenting bin and pour the boiling water over it.
Now add the rest of the water to make 1 gallon – this will bring the temperature of your mixture down and it’ll become lukewarm. Finally, add 1 teaspoon of the yeast nutrient, 1 teaspoon of the citric acid, and half teaspoon of wine tannin and make sure to stir the whole thing thoroughly.
Optional: Wait for 2 hours, add the crushed campden tablet and stir it all again properly.
Cover it up and leave the mixture like this for another 10 hours.
After that, your mixture should start to foam slightly and all apples have most likely floated to the surface. This is a good sign and means that the fermentation process has already started.
Now at this point, we’d recommend to add the pectic enzyme and give it another thorough stir.
Step 4: Fermentation Process
From now on, the must will continue its fermentation process and you should leave it like this for another week. It’s important to mention that the process can take up to 2 weeks in total as each mixture is different and needs different time to finish the fermentation process.
Make sure to check on it at least once a day, ideally 2-3 times a day and give the must a proper stir with sterilised equipment.
It’s normal to see your mixture bubbling up and fizzing. It should calm down after 3 days. When it calms down, leave it like this for another day and move onto the step number 5.
Step 5: First Clearing
As soon as the initial fermentation has fizzled down, follow this by straining off your wine liquid, to separate it from the sediments of apple solids sitting at your fermentation bin’s bottom.
The best way to do this is by use of a muslin sheet it straining bag, properly stretched across either a sieve or colander that is placed on top of a sterilised bowl or pot.
Carefully pour down your liquid into your muslin sheet or straining bag and subsequently squeeze it (straining bag/muslin sheet) to release the most of your wine as you can.
Your wine may still be very cloudy depending on your choice of apple variety. If this remains the case, you can repeat the process by using a fresh muslin sheet or straining bag.
Step 6: Second Clearing – Using a Demijohn
Place a funnel on the brim of your demijohn and carefully and slowly, pour your liquid through.
Now that every apple solid has been removed, the quantity of your liquid may slightly reduce. In such case, just top it up with a little amount of bottled or filtered water.
Afterwards, tap your bung in place then fix the airlock at the top. Store the glass demijohn in a dark, cool location away from the reach of direct sunlight.
In the first few initial days, you will see much bubbling taking place in your demijohn – it is known as second fermentation.
This bubbling should cool down after several days. Consequently, a steady fizz stream will replace it, emanating from the demijohn/glass bottle bottom rising to its top.
This will also cool off over time, which will stop the constant gurgling of the top occurring once too often. This is what will indicate to you that you need to prepare for the next phase.
Generally, your wine will need an approximate minimum of 3 weeks to successfully ferment or even more. Don’t rush it though; monitor it until it is completely ripe.
Step 7: Racking Process – Clarifying Your Wine
If you carefully assess your demijohn-particularly at its bottom- at this particular point, you will notice a thin sediment layer just sticking around.
Those are bits of yeast solids and leftover apple residue. While those are perfectly harmless, they generate somewhat cloudy wine characterised by a stale mouth-feel, which of course is not what you are after.
To completely do away with them but devoid of losing any flavor present in the wine, you RACK!
Racking simply represents the process of transferring the cloudy wine from one demijohn down to another, to get rid of the sediments.
To properly go about it, you will need to first assemble the second demijohn (ensure it is sterilised), plus the vinyl tube. NB: You might also want to place down a towel for this step-it can become somewhat messy.
Begin by placing the wine-filled demijohn right on a flat, but raised surface (can be a chair, table etc). Ensure you do this as slowly as possible.
This is to avoid upsetting the bottom-placed sediments in the liquid. Afterwards, place the second demijohn right below the main one on the floor.
Remove both the airlock and bung from the wine, then begin to lower the vinyl tube down towards the demijohn’s bottom, stopping just about half an inch over its bottom.
Take the subsequent end of this tube and suck hard until your wine begins to freely flow through it.
Quickly place the vinyl tube into the other demijohn (empty) and allow it to slowly transfer and fill it up.
When just about all your wine has been successfully racked, you may then slowly begin to cautiously move the vinyl tube further down your original demijohn waiting for the liquid to siphon through-the maximum liquid possible without disturbing the sediments.
On completing this, top up your newly filled-up demijohn using a small amount of bottled or filtered water then add sugar ( a teaspoonful), and subsequently secure the airlock and bung at its top.
Return the liquid back into a cool and dark spot, and allow it to remain undisturbed for an approximate 2-3 weeks. After that, repeat this entire process again.
Step 8: Bottling Process
The process of bottling is quite similar to that of racking.
- Place the demijohn with the wine on a slightly raised but flat platform, with the bottles occupying the floor below.
- Use the vinyl tube when siphoning the wine to glass bottles until filled up.
- Finally, seal your wine bottles with cork and label them accordingly.
As soon as you take a sip of your apple wine, you can best believe that it would be last time you purchase typical cider again!
This homemade drink elevates the modest apple fruit by amazingly capturing its innate essence and facilitating it to slowly ferment in its exclusive juices, right before refining into a sophisticated golden experience.