Apple wine

Apples are readily available and rather inexpensive per pound. However, they do not yield as much juice as soft fruit (about two times the quantity is required). For wine-making, a blend of sweet and sour apples is advised. Jonathon apples, widely produced in the Northern US, have an agreeable sweet/tart profile, and are well-suited for wine-making. Apples produce a table wine that is bland and generic tasting, but quite pairable with seafood and many chicken dishes.

28 lbs ripe apples
10 lbs white table sugar
6 quarts hot water
2 Tsp yeast nutrient
4 Tsp liquid tannin (or 8 Tsp dry tannin made into a thin paste with water)
4 Tsp pectic enzyme powder
3/4 Tsp potassium metabisulfite made into a slurry with water
10 quarts cold water
acid blend (malic, tartaric and citric acid prepared for white wines)
1 package Champagne yeast - Lalvin EC-1118 preferred
bentonite finings
Chop the apples into eights, and place them into a nylon straining bag. To prevent browning, sprinkle a small amount of sulphite solution over them, as they are chopped. Tie off the bag with sterile string. Place the bag, sugar and hot water into a food grade 6-8 gallon primary fermenter. Stir.

Add the next 5 ingredients. Stir.

Adjust the specific gravity with an hydrometer to 1.095 by adding sugar. With an acid testing kit, shoot for about 5.5 g/L by adding acid blend (see the manual of your kit for specifics).

Raise or lower the temperature of the must to keep it a constant 75F.

Prepare the yeast to package directions. Add the yeast. Cover the fermenter with a lid or food-grade plastic. Stir the must twice daily. When fermentation kicks in, move the primary to a cooler location (65F) - if possible. Check the specific gravity every day. (A 10 point or more drop per day should be expected.)

When the specific gravity hits 1.020, squeeze the bag to release most of the juice, then siphon the new wine into a clean, 5 gallon glass carboy. Attach an air-lock to a 6 1/2 size white, rubber bung, fit the bung into the neck of the carboy then fill the air-lock half-full of water.

When fermentation entirely ceases, rack (siphon) the wine into a clean carboy. Top off the carboy with cold, tap water, leaving no more than two inches of head-space between the wine level and the bung of the air-lock. Attach air-lock. Allow the wine to rest for 4 weeks.

Rack the wine into a clean carboy. Add the bentonite finings (prepare as the directions on the package indicate). Top off the carboy with water. When the wine becomes sparklingly clear (about 2 weeks), rack it into a clean carboy. Sulphite the wine with 1/4 Tsp potassium metabisulfite made into a slurry with water. Top off the carboy with water. Attach the air-lock. Bulk age 3 months.

Bottle the wine. Bottle age 3 months. Drink.

In this (and other fruit wine) recipes, the acid and sugar levels have been deliberately calculated high and the water levels low, so that the carboy can be topped off with tap water to yield a wine with ~12% alcohol and an acidity of 6.5 g/L. Older recipes call for keeping excess wine in smaller jugs, then topping off the carboy with it. However, small quantities of wine are susceptible to spoilage; Cold tap-water is risk free, and it will not dilute the finished wine.

Refer to my Apricot wine recipe for a fuller understanding of the winemaking process.

Here is a comprehensive, online wine making manual by Lum Eisenman - a must for beginners: The Home Winemakers Manual.

Here is another fine, though somewhat more technical guide by the apostle of home winemaking Stanley F. Anderson: Winemaking.