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I have never brewed, but I am playing with the thought of starting to make fruit wines. While I can get very good alcohol of other categories, fruit wines are rare, and some types are not sold here at all (e.g. orange wine).

I glanced at the process in the Wikipedia article, but it didn't go into specifics. What do I need, in terms of equipment and conditions, to produce something drinkable? My grandparents used to make grapewine in the basement, but I don't like the harsh taste, so I suppose I will need to control the conditions more tightly.

I would prefer the sweeter, more fruity versions above the fully dried ones, if this makes a difference. But I want actual fermented wine, not liqueur like triple sec.

I am not much worried about the need to get ingredients or master the process. I am accustomed to sourcing and dealing with unusual ingredients and additives for cooking, and also have no problem with measuring and tightly controlling food I am creating (measuring sugar content and temperature in candy making, measuring and adjusting pH of sauces, etc). I am more asking about the basic set of tools I will need to create a batch of wine, and also what conditions the wine needs during fermentation and aging - is the corner of the kitchen good enough, or do I need some kind of air conditioned cabinet/wine fridge?

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The equipment and processes are going to vary depending on the variety of fruit wine. If you could be more specific, i.e. ask for advice about a particular type of wine, you're more likely to get a helpful answer. –  Tobias Patton Jan 28 at 0:02
    
A harsh taste may come from sulphur added after fermentation. –  Robert Jan 28 at 21:24
    
@TobiasPatton I cannot tell you anything about a type, because I haven't decided on one yet. But maybe there is stuff which is common to most processes? I am not trying to put together a shopping list for a specific wine; I want to generally assess the amount of time, effort and (conditioned?) living space I would have to invest should I start making my own fruit wines. And it probably won't be worth it to stop at one batch of one kind of fruit, so if I do it, I will want to experiment with different fruits and maybe processes. –  rumtscho Jan 28 at 21:32
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1 Answer

You'll need basic equipment:

  • fermenting bucket or carboy
  • airlock
  • tools to get the juice out of the fruit (can be as simple as cheese cloth to squeeze the fruit or as fancy as a juicer)
  • hose for racking

For each batch:

  • lots of fruit, preferably cheap
  • wine yeast
  • normal table sugar
  • for some fruit: antigel to prevent gelation
  • for some fruit: acid

A web search should turn up plenty of recipes and instructions like http://www.eckraus.com/fruit-wine-making/ or http://www.fruitwinemaker.com/

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OK, this sounds simple enough. But can I put the fermenting bucket in a kitchen corner and attend to it when it needs it, or does it need some specific temperature and humidity? And the links I have found so far mention letting the wine stand around both before and after fermentation, do I need temperature control for this? –  rumtscho Jan 28 at 21:36
    
Fermentation will work fine at room temperature. Check the yeast package for the recommended fermentation temperature range. Once fermentation is done, the wine will clarify better at cellar temperatures (around 50F / 10C). I've always moved my fermenter to the basement at that time, so I cannot really tell for sure what happens if you let it sit at room temperature. My guess is that it will be fine. –  Robert Jan 28 at 22:05
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