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How to become an expert winemaker | port and sherry

wine and grapes

Winemakers have always tried to make something that tastes a little like sherry or make their own champagne. I’ve tried most things and the sherry did taste like cheap sherry so it’s worth having a go. You can make something that tastes a lot like port too and so if you like your port and lemon, you can try that too.

There are lots of recipes in winemaking books that involves things like bananas and raisins. If you make wine with ripe bananas, it does taste a little like sherry! Raisins also give a wine a sherry flavour. However, I think it’s better to do it the easy way!

You’ll need to make it stronger than most wines and so will need a wine yeast that will ferment to quite high alcohol. This is easier to make if you make 25 litres, because you can mix you fruit juices. You can use 4 litres of apple and a couple of litres of white grape juice for a full-bodied wine. If you’re only making 5 litres of wine, than use 1 litre of white grape juice.

Sherry is quite high in tannin and so use extra. I always use tea to add tannin because it tends to be better quality than the grape tannin you buy. You will also need more sugar than usual, about 1200 grams.

Pour you sugar into your food grade bucket, add a pot of tea that you have made using about 3 spoons of tea (or teabags). Then add a litre of white grape juice and stir to dissolve the sugar. Then you can add water to about 3 litres to dilute it and then add the yeast that you should have cultured earlier. Then syphon it into a demijohn and allow it to ferment. Secure a plastic bag over the top of the demijohn to allow the carbon dioxide to escape and to keep out bugs like fruit flies. Top it up after a few days to about 4.7 litres.

When it’s finished fermenting, test with an hydrometer and the SG should be about 1.000. Then add you wine stabiliser to stop it fermenting and 1 campden tablet. After about 24 hours in a cool place add the wine finings. The wine finings should be mixed with a little of the wine in a soft drinks bottle and then added to the bulk of the wine.

Let your wine clear and syphon it off the sediment. You might need to syphon it off the sediment a couple of times before it’s filtered. When you have a finished and filtered the wine, you should have about 4.5 litres (you lose some when you remove the sediment).

Now you need a proper Spanish sherry from Spain and you can top your wine up with this, so the enzymes from the sherry make it all taste like sherry.  Then you leave it for a few months until it has thrown another sediment, syphon it off again; then filter it for a second time. Now it can be bottled, sealed and labelled.

Then it’s finished!

To make a port substitute, do it the same as for sherry except substitute the white grape juice for red and when you top it up at the end; top it up with port from Portugal, rather than sherry from Spain.

I’m not sure why I have less readers this week, but I need help getting more readers so please share with your friends on LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. You can also check out last weeks blog that was about making punch. Please comment, if you have a question.

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