So this is not in any way official with any movie or anything like that, this is a pretty darn good red base wine, but I wanted to call it a Hobbit Red Wine, because in my imagination, I envision, that hobbits would be drinking something like this. The cost of the ingredients is also inexpensive ($10 ~ $12) and in the end it produced about 2.0 gallons of wine after all the racking stages / if this is your first time making wine, keep your batch size small – there are all kinds of learning curves, as making wine is different from brewing beer, so before you scale up, learn and observe.
Of course you want your fermentor and anything touching your ingredients to be clean and sanitized.
Take your grapes, disconnect from the vines and clean them well, put into a blender and blend that all up into a slurry – you can skip blending if you want, by just squeezing the juice out, but we think this makes a more complex wine and there really isn’t enough grapes used to cause any issues with tannings from the skins / which normally would be if you were using a lot of grapes, that’s why you gently squeeze them out. You will add this slurry to your fermentor.
Again, have a clean container, bucket or final fermentor and add that in there, along with your water and frozen concentrate juice.
After you mix the (water, grapes juice, frozen concentrate), take a brix reading with a refractometer and then use a lookup chart to see how much more sugar to backfill for your desired end product. There is not enough residual sugar coming from the grapes + frozen concentrate to make a 14% or 16% wine. You can change this ratio by buying more grapes or more frozen concentrate – but the costs go up.
- 1 bag of grapes from your local grocery store, in our case it was the “Red Seedless Raising Rouge Sans” grapes – you can get more than 1 bag, but the costs go up
- 3 frozen concentrates ( 100% juice ) from red grapes, brand: Langers – each is 11.5 fl oz – you simply add these contents with the grapes
- 2 gallons of water – we used artesian water
- backfill now with sugar to achieve your desired alcohol level, we did 12% ( sorry, I didn’t save the weight used ) but use a lookup table so see how much you need, and yes, use inexpensive white granular table sugar – http://www.honeyflowfarm.com/Winemaking-Information/sugar-addition-chart.html
- yeast – dry yeast Lalvin K1-V1116 – rehydrate in luke warm water and add to the final fermentor
tip: because we used blended skins, we don’t put an air lock, we simply put some tinfoil over the fermentor output and that is good enough, we never had any contamination, the positive pressure of the fermentation will let co2 gas out and nothing in… Once the bulk of the active fermentation is over, when you rack to the secondary – you can put an air lock on it, some people use baloons. If you don’t follow this tip, the skins can clog up the air lock, block it up and then give you nice art work on your ceiling, if you want grape art work – go for it.
For fining agents we use Bentomine, a natural clay in the secondary, but you can use it in both primary and secondary. Once all the fermentation is over and done, we add a crushed tablet of campden – this will kill off any remaining yeast and help to condition the wine. You want all the fermentation to be done before bottling wine, because if not, the bottles would carbonate and maybe explode.
- primary fermentation 3 weeks
- secondary 3 weeks
- if you want the wine to by crystal clear, you can do another stage and consider other fining agents as well
That’s all we do, you can do more complicated steps and add more things into it, check your pH, etc… but we keep it hobbit style like and simple.
Wine is ready to drink after a few months of aging, you can cellar your wine as well.