This is my very first instructable, please bear with me since English is not my first language... Winemaking is an old art, and anyone can do it with a few very simple & cheap tools and some discipline. The first are found in your cupboard, a garage sale, your local chemistry, a specialised wine/beer makers shop or ordered online, the latter means that you need to work super clean and must have patience to let things develop.
Wine making is a natural process. Basically sugar is transformed to alcohol. We use yeasts to do this. Yeasts are living organisms and abundantly all over the place in all kinds of flavours. Some are good, some bad; they are key for all kind of processes. To make sure we use the "good" and not the bad or ugly it is best to buy your yeast. There are many yeasts available, for now I will stick to the recipe below. There are many sources available if you want to read up on this subject.
Why make rosehip wine? That' s simple: because I have them (I breed and grow rose hips) and because it is said that rose hip wine is the finest wine after grape wine. So let's go ahead:
Step 1: Pick rose hips
I live in North-West Europe and rose hips are available in the wild from august till november. They grow everywhere. Avoid rose hips that grow near roads, since you do not want to poison yourself with car exhaust. Any rose hip will do, there are no poisonous rose hips, but trust your tastbuds: if they taste good the wine will be good as well. The fleshier they are the better: more flesh means more taste and sugar. Pick only ripe ones. If they are over-ripe they start to rot which is not good. If they are too young there is too much starch and not enough sugar. Besides that: they will taste sour.
Clean the rose hips, remove any stalks and leaves, discard the ones with worms etc. Rinse them with clean water. You can collect them in batches and freeze them in zip-lock bags. Freezing is a very good idea anyway since it destroys the structure and when defrosted leaves you with pulp which is much better to work with. You will need approx. 4 kilogrammes.
Step 2: Get your wine making gear
You will need the following stuff. I marked the optionals with an asterisk, they are not absolutely necessary.
- A fermenting vessel, 200% the size of your wine quantity. If you want to make 10 litres of wine you need a 20-25 liter vessel. Since we will ferment pulp a vessel with a large opening is ideal. If you would use juice any large bottle will do. You can simply use a big food grade plastic bucket for this, ask your local snack-bar for it, they have plenty of them left from the mayonnaise or other sauses. You need the extra volume since the fermentation will produce froth. This will come out through the waterlock & create a mess.
- A vessel to let the wine settle and clear. A glass one is ideal since you can see whether the wine is clearing. A demijohn is the classic bottle, look for them on garage sales etc.
- A waterlock. This will allow the CO2 to get out and prevent oxygen to get in. Oxygen will oxydate you wine.
- Yeast. For this recipe I used port yeast
- Yeast nutrient. This is nutrition for the yeast. Adding it will allow the yeast to multiply fast.
- Pectic enzyme to destroy the cell walls and make things easy for the yeast
- Sulphite to sterilise your equipment
- Citric acid or lemon juice
- A hydrometer to measure the sugar content of your wine
- Siphoning tube. Any clean tube will do
- A reasonably warm place to let the wine ferment. If you are lucky enough to have floor heating any place will do, search for a place which is around 18-24 celcius.
* - A food processor to mash up the rose hips. If you don't have one: either use your imagination (potato masher?) or just put the rose hips in the vessel. Mashing them up will make the fermentation smoother because the yeast can get to the good stuffs easier... I have see recipes where they did the rose hips in a panty or nettle cloth.
* - Acid testing kit to measure the acidity of the wine. Not strictly necessary, but if you want to be precise...
* - A measuring glass for your hydrometer
* - Lactic acid to increase the acidity of the wine. Acid is needed to give your wine body. Pointless without acid testing kit. Chances are you will be able to make a nice wine without.
* - Alcohol weigh to measure the alcohol content of the actual wine. Cool to have, you will taste & find out anyway....
*- If you can' t find a place with a reasonably steady temperature you can consider buying a so-called heat belt to keep the temperature up in your fermenting vessel. I have a 15 watt one, works perfectly. Wrap around the vessel, plug it in and the temperature is steady. I have made plenty of wines without in my kitchen with the vessels/demijohns on the floor, temps varying from 16 C at night to 25 C during the day...
Step 3: Clean everything thoroughly
Cleanlyness is key to succesful wine making. Dissolve the suphite (look at the directions on the packaging for measurements) in luke warm water, add some citric acid (or lemon juice) to strenghten the effect and clean all your stuff really good. Everyting needs to be sterile. Obviously there are other ways to sterilise your stuff; go ahead!
Step 4: The recipe
Now that we are all set; here is the basic recipe:
- Defreeze the rosehips. Make sure they are at room temperature; sterilise ALL equiment you plan to use.
- Mash up the rose hips. If you use a food processor: avoid the metal knives. The knive will cut the seeds which is bad for the taste. Use the plastic dough knive instead. As you can see 4 kilo's is about a 5 litre soup pan.
- Put the mash in the vessel, add some of the water. The seed will float and you can easily remove them with a skinner. Dissolve the sugar in 2-3 litres of water to make sure everyting is mixed well. Add the dissolved sugar and the pecto enzyme; look at the package for measurements, and mix well.
- Close the lid, add the waterlock and let rest for 12-24 hours. This will allow the enzymes to destroy the cells.
- 2-3 hours before you plan to add the yeast to the vessel: put the yeast in a sterilised jug, add some luke warm water allowing the yeast to rehydrate. Cover and put away on a warm spot, on top of the vessel is ideal.
- After two-three hours: add the yeast, yeast nutrient and lactic acid to the vessel. Make sure the temperature difference is not more than 2 degrees C
- Close the lid and let the fermentation begin!
Step 5: Fermentation, measuring & racking off
After 12-24 hours you will see that the water lock comes alive with bubbles. This is CO2 escaping from the vessel. This should last for 10-21 days depending on the temperature, amount of sugar and many other factors. A lot is going on in the vessel.
When the bubbling doesn't start or stops early something is wrong. I have never had a non-starter, so I will skip the solutions. If it stops prematurely chances are that the temperature is either too low or too hot, polution of some sort (did you work clean?) or something else. The fermentation will not stop at once, it will slowly become less. It is perfectly normal for the fermentation to reach its peak after 4-10 days and slowly come to a halt in the 4-10 days after that. When the bubbling has finally stopped it is time to check the wine.
Open the vessel and take some of the wine out. Weigh the wine with the hydrometer. If the weight is around 1000 everything is allright. Higher means there is some sugar left and you will have a sweet(ish) wine, lower means less or no sugar at all, resulting in a dry wine. Taste the wine, and be prepared for a shock: it will probably taste very very sour and not nice at all. Relax: the following steps will lead you to succes:
Rack off the wine in your glass bottle / demijohn using your tube. Fill up the bottle until 3-4 cm are left. Do this as gently as possible avoiding contact with oxygen, be aware that the bottom of the vessel will have a layer of dead yeast cells and other debris: you want to leave these behind so do not shake or stir the vessel, and keep the tupe off the bottom! Top up with a white wine (pick a nice one!) if you are short. It is important that there is as little oxygen in the bottle as possible. Note that the fluid is not clear. Time will allow the particles to sink to the bottom.
Store the bottle is a cool dark place like a basement. Having a steady temperature of 14-15 C is ideal, but any dark place will do.
After a while you will notice that the wine becomes clearer. Rack the wine off in another sterilised(!!!) bottle after a few weeks/ months and repeat this until you are left with a crystal clear fluid. At the picure you can clearly see the difference between a clear batch and a batch that is still clearing. Clearing can take long, even many months. Once again: make sure your tools are sterile before you start racking off the wine, and top up the bottle every time to avoid oxygen contact.
When your wine is clear you will have to wait 1-2 years before you can bottle the wine. This is called ageing, and is key for the wine to develop. Most fruit wines age fast: apples and pears in less than 6 months. Rose hip wine needs 1-2 years. As eager and curious as you may be: be patient, and taste as little as possible to avoid the chance of polluting your wine. Give nature a chance. Ageing is a very complex process that needs time and rest. When the wine is ready you rack it into bottles, invite all your friends and enjoy succes!