Raisin wine

Raisins, being dried-fruit, are always "in season" to winemakers, and they are less expensive - than most fresh fruits. If vinified adequately, raisins can produce either a dry table or a semi-sweet "social" wine.

12 lbs chopped raisins
8 lbs white table sugar
6 quarts hot water
2 Tsp yeast nutrient
8 Tsp dry tannin made into a thin paste with water
2 Tsp pectic enzyme powder
9 quarts cold water
3/4 Tsp potassium metabisulfite made into a slurry with water
16 Tsp acid blend (malic, tartaric and citric acid)
1 package Champagne yeast - Lalvin EC-1118 - preferred
bentonite finings
gylcerine (see the note below)
In a food processor, chop the raisins - in 8 oz batches. Place the raisins into a nylon straining bag and tie it off 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 1.100 by adding sugar. Throw in the 16 Tsp of acid blend, or - with an acid testing kit, shoot for about 5.5 g/L by adding the acid blend gradually (see the manual of your kit for specifics).

Raise or lower the temperature of the must to maintain a constant (ideal) 75 degrees F.

Prepare the yeast to package directions. Pitch 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 1-3 months.

Bottle the wine. Bottle age 1-3 months. Drink.

To take the dry edge off of this raisin wine, it can be sweetened slightly with 1 oz of gylcerine at the time of bulk aging.

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.