Fruits, and vegetables grown in the garden can easily be made into delicious wines. By following simple modern methods, it is possible to guarantee success and to produce wines that are better in colour, flavour and texture than ever before. The cost is negligible, and if a few simple rules are observed, even a beginner can win compliments for his cellar.
WHAT IS WINE?
Wine is the fermented juice or extract from fruits, cereals, vegetables, flowers or leaves. If properly made, it is a delicious, invigorating, sustaining and health-giving drink, which can improve the appetite, quell nervous worries and get a feeling of well-being.
A first-class wine is brilliantly clear, with no deposit and a bright colour; it has an attractive aroma or bouquet, and is pleasant and clean to the palate. A poor wine is cloudy or dull, has a musty, acid or sour odour, an unpalatable flavour, or is excessively sweet and syrupy.
HOW WINE IS MADE
The production of wine is a simple scientific process. The fruit juice or vegetable extract, containing natural or added sugar, yeast and acid, ferments and produces carbon dioxide which appears as bubbles and escapes into the air, and alcohol which stays in the wine. According to method, the wine may contain from 9 to 17 per cent alcohol, be sweet, medium or dry, and still or bubbly.
It is the percentage of alcohol that determines the strength of the wine. Assuming that the wine is properly made and that fermentation is efficient, then the greater the sugar content, the higher will be the alcohol content, up to the time when the yeasts cease to ferment.
To obtain an alcohol content of 10 per cent, each gallon of prepared juice or extract, known as “must”, will require 1-3/4 lb. sugar. Add 1/4 lb. sugar for every additional 1 per cent alcohol required.
Dry wines contain hardly any sugar, since the sugar has been used up during fermentation, and have a low alcohol content—about 10 per cent. A much weaker wine than this would not keep well and would have to be drunk young.
A sweet dessert wine, with an alcohol content of 17 per cent, needs more sugar for conversion into alcohol, and as much as 3-1/2 lb. sugar is added per gallon of juice or extract, so that when fermentation ceases some sugar still remains.
To produce a rich dessert wine with an alcohol content of more than 17 per cent, it is necessary to fortify the wine by adding a strong alcohol preparation such as vodka at the rate of 1 or 2 fluid oz. per 26 oz. bottle.