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How to make red wine?

Updated on June 21, 2015
Carol Reed profile image

Carol graduated from Indian Hills C.C. with an AAS in H.I.T and an AA in Arts & Science. A Social Media Booster for Wine Diamonds Film.

Grapevines

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Nearwood Home Vineyard
Nearwood Home Vineyard
Nearwood Home Vineyard | Source

Not ready yet.

Brix aren't high enough.
Brix aren't high enough. | Source

How to Create Red Wine: Must be 21 years or older in the United States to make and drink wine.

Starting with the red grapes, reaching as close to the highest brix is best for the varietal & vintage which determines the harvest time.

Brix = the sugar content in fruit juice, chiefly in wine-making. This also has the effect on acidity. Example: Norton grapes are better when reaching 20 – 24 Brix. Dessert wines hang on the vines until the first frost and the brix level reaches 28 or higher brix which produces more of a thick/ jam characteristic.

Refractometer = measures Brix in the juice.

Once the brix reach the recommended level or as close to the level as they can according to the harvest season, before falling off the vines, or losing them to the transition into raisins it’s time to pick them.

  1. Crush & Destem, this separates the stems from the grapes. The longer the skin contact the darker the wine, so pressing will come later. When using a crusher / destemmer for a ton of grapes plan to spend two hours or more, depending on the size of the equipment.
  2. Lysozyme can be added before Fermentation to break down the skins, separate the pulp and release more juices. Adding Bentonite helps clarify the wine. Sugar can be added at this time to bring the alcohol up to the desired alcohol level. Tannins can be added to stabilize the Terpenoids and flavonoids and pigment compounds so they don't regenerate.


This cluster is ripe.

Grown & Harvested  in 2014.
Grown & Harvested in 2014. | Source

Pick grapes and put in buckets.

Ready to dump into Crusher / Destemmer.
Ready to dump into Crusher / Destemmer. | Source

Into the crusher, stems and all.

Stems go out the side and the grapes & juice slide down the shoot into the barrel for the red grapes but into the press for the white grapes.
Stems go out the side and the grapes & juice slide down the shoot into the barrel for the red grapes but into the press for the white grapes. | Source

White grapes for white wine verses red grapes for red wine.

  • White grapes require cooler temperatures.
  • Press white grapes right away.
  • Press red grapes after allowing skin contact time during fermentation.

Fermentation & Punching

This step comes before pressing.

3. Start Fermentation with hot water and mixed with yeast. Once the yeast starts moving add it to the grapes & juice. The amount of yeast & water depends on the amount of juice. One can substitute yeast with certain molds or bacteria (microorganisms).

Fermentation = converting sugars into alcohol.

4. Each day, this has to be “punched down” once to twice a day.

Punched Down = When you take a paddle or something that reaches far enough down into the container housing the juice / Must, and then push the substance that has floated to the top toward the bottom and continue this process until all of this has been pushed down. This is done twice a day.

Primary Fermentation takes anywhere from 5 days to 3 weeks, depending on the temperature. The yeast is more active when it is warm.

Fermentation is complete when you have reached your intended sugar level or it has gone to 0 Brix, (Dry wine).

After Fermentation

5. Then comes racking; when there isn't any of sugar left at the end fermentation.

Racking = separating the residue. Empty the "juice and must" into the press and press the wine and then pouring into clean barrels.

Free-run = The juice that runs freely through the press before the press is closed and water runs through the bladder to press the grapes.

6. The pressed juice is pumped into clean barrels.

7. Now is the time to oak if you plan to oak your wine.

8. After a few days in the oak or a few days of calming down in the barrels or containers, time for filtering.

Filtering = Helps clarify the wine.

9. Sulfites are added to the wine to help preserve and protect the color, flavor and character.

Juice

"Free Run" Is the best.
"Free Run" Is the best. | Source

Press the grapes.

Lid on, check. Hose hooked up, check. Now time to cover press to keep from having a mess and then Mike will press the juice out.
Lid on, check. Hose hooked up, check. Now time to cover press to keep from having a mess and then Mike will press the juice out. | Source

Before bottling decide dryness or sweetness.

Benchmark: Pour samples of wine in four to six glasses. Same amount in each.

Example:

  • First glass no sugar. (Dry)
  • Second glass less than 1% of sugar. (Dry - Off Dry)
  • Third glass a little more sugar added. (Semi Dry)
  • Fourth glass with 3% sugar.(Semi - Sweet)
  • Fifth glass with 4% sugar . (Sweet)
  • Sixth glass 6% sugar. (Sweet) This way a person can gauge the dryness or sweetness that best fits the type of wine. Bench-marking is best done with a panel of people. There is a saying, "The winemaker that makes only wines they love goes broke."

Your rating on this hubpage.

5 stars from 2 ratings of Producing Red Wine

Time to bottle your dry, off dry / semi dry, semi sweet or sweet wine.

10. Time to bottle, cork and then label the wine bottles.

Bottling

A Man With Many Hats. This one, happens to be bottling.
A Man With Many Hats. This one, happens to be bottling. | Source

Three Steps....

Two steps in bottling.

  1. Fill bottles with wine. Wand fillers are alright for small supplies but bottling runs smoother and faster when the bottle filling equipment can fill three or more at the same time. However the more they fill the more expensive the equipment runs which also means the less time it takes to fill the bottles.
  2. Cork bottles with corker. A Floor corker works for small wineries.
  3. Put bottles of wine back into their cases until ready for labeling. Most wineries may have label machines. Several small wineries start out with their own unique hand process of attaching labels to the bottles.

Wine bottles with labels.

Featured at the Iowa State Fair in 2013 with awards for their taste.
Featured at the Iowa State Fair in 2013 with awards for their taste. | Source

An Interview With Wine Diamonds Film

Correction on my part......


Yes, I said, Merlot but I should have said that we made Leon Millot, which won an award at the State Fair in 2013. I happened to have a Merlot in my hand during the interview. I hope next year, the IMPA will serve some Midwestern wines.

Notice the different shades of red wine.

Red Wine Color Scheme
Red Wine Color Scheme | Source

Red Wine Healthy

Contains
Helps
How much?
antioxidants
Has been known to prevent heart disease
Moderations
 
HDL (Good Cholesterol)
 
 
Relaxing after a long hard day.
 
Red wine with health benefits.

Red or White?

Do you prefer red over white wines?

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    • profile image

      Kathryn Daugherty 2 years ago

      Interesting article, looks like a great deal of work. Know you do an awesome job. Thanks for the information.

    • Carol Reed profile image
      Author

      Carol Clarke Reed 2 years ago from Remote

      Thank you Kathryn.

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