An Introduction to Home Wine Making - Carrot Wine
By M.Kirkland, Peak Country Wine
Home wine making is an excellent method of preservation and perfect for using a glut of produce – from cherries and strawberries in a good year, to nettles and dandelions in a bad one. The aim of this article is to weed out the myths by explaining how to make 4½ litres of carrot wine.
Makes 4½ litres of carrot wine.
A medium sweet white at 12-13% alcohol
2 kg carrots
2 ripe bananas
2 large oranges
1 large lemon
1 mug of strong black tea (split the bag & use the leaves)
General purpose wine yeast
A note on ingredients:
Carrots – for flavour
Sugar –ordinary white sugar, to produce alcohol
Sultanas – produce the essential vinous quality
Bananas – give the wine body
Oranges and lemon – supply citric acid, acidity being essential in wine
Strong tea – a good source of tannin to give the wine ‘bite’, in addition to the grape tannin in sultanas
G.P Yeast - it is important that General Purpose wine yeast is used as brewing or baker’s yeast will not ferment all the sugar out
Enzyme and nutrient - are not essential but they will improve the quality of the wine, the enzyme makes clearing easier and the nutrient ensures a quick, more efficient fermentation
Fermenting bin or food grade bucket with lid
Nylon strainer bag
2 demi- jars
Heat shrink foils.
A note on equipment:
Fermenting bin or bucket – must be food grade polythene
Strainer bag – medium mesh nylon is easier to clean and sterilise
Demi-jars – 2 are needed when clearing
Siphon tube - 1½ - 2 metres 6mm diameter
Airlock – any type
Corker – lever types are best
Foils – shrink to cover the cork when heated
Bottles – ask at restaurants or buy from homebrew shop. Do not let the wine be exposed to iron, steel, lead, copper or zinc as the reaction will make it toxic
Top, tail, scrub and chop the carrots but do not peel them, the flavour needs to be extracted, so chop to give as much surface area as possible, appearance is not important. Boil until soft in 3 litres of water in a large pan with a close fitting lid.
Strain into the fermenting bin or bucket through the straining bag to make the must.
Do not squeeze too tightly to avoid mashed carrot getting into the must. Take care, the straining bag will be hot (feed the carrots to your livestock when cool). Dissolve the sugar in the must, then add the juice from the oranges and lemon (avoid the pips), the sultanas and two mashed ripe bananas. Dissolve the yeast nutrient in the mug of strong black tea and pour it, including the leaves, into the must. Top up with 1 litre of cold water and let it cool to 25oC or just below.
Take a cupful of the must, dissolve the enzyme in it and return it to the fermenting bin. Finally sprinkle 1 teaspoon of G.P yeast on top. Cover the fermenting bin and leave it somewhere with a constant temperature between 20 and 25oC for five days, avoid draughts. The wine should start to ferment within 24 hours, stir it and squeeze the sultanas daily.
After 5 days strain the wine into a demi–jar, squeeze the strainer bag well to extract as much juice as possible from the sultanas (do not feed to livestock, as the sultanas contain alcohol). Fit an airlock containing a Campden tablet solution to protect the wine from bacteria. Return the wine to a warm position and leave it to ferment out. Place the demi-jar on a tray as initial fermentation will be vigorous, and the wine can bubble through the airlock, if this happens clean and replace the airlock and move the wine to a cooler position.
Fermentation has finished when no more bubbles are rising through the airlock, leave the wine for a day or two and it should start to clear and have a layer of sediment at the bottom.
The sediment consists mainly of dead yeast cells and the wine needs to be siphoned (racked) off this as it can impart an unpleasant smell and taste. Move the wine very gently at this stage as it is important that the sediment is not disturbed. Keep the upper end of the siphon tube above the sediment, it is inevitable that some will be drawn up, but the amount is negligible.
Pour some of the wine into a cup and dissolve a crushed Campden tablet in it, return this to the racked wine and swirl it gently, to stop the fermentation. The wine will clear more quickly in a cool place with a constant low temperature, avoid outhouses and sheds as they can get too cold in winter and their temperatures often fluctuate.
After a few days, the wine will begin to clear from the top and a layer of sediment build up at the bottom. When perfectly clear rack the wine again and store (it may need racking more than once). It is best to taste your wine about a month after it has cleared, if you are happy, bottle it.
A standard batch of wine will fill about 5 to 5 ½ bottles. If you do not have a supply of empties ask at local restaurants (a good excuse for an evening out), but bear in mind that many of the bottles will be screw tops and must be stored standing up. Home brew shops and the internet are a good source of cork top bottles, and once you have bought them they can be reused indefinitely.
Always siphon the wine into clean, sterilised and well-rinsed bottles, (remembering to sterilise the siphon tube) and leave enough space between the top of the wine and the base the cork. The wine will keep indefinitely, but is usually best if drunk within 18 months of bottling.
Parsnips can be substituted for carrots to make a sweeter wine needing slightly longer maturation.
Martin can also be contacted via Twitter @PeakCountryWine