How to Make Muscadine Wine?

One of the reasons many non-wine drinkers shy away from regular wine has to do with the bitter and sometimes astringent flavor associated with the world’s most popular drink. Some people have a solution for this problem. Ever heard of Muscadine wine?

Muscadine wine is a much sweeter option and ideally suited to people who want to enjoy wine without bitterness. Many wine enthusiasts don’t think highly of this wine though because of its high sugar content. Some consider it to lack the finesse of regular wine.

Despite this opinion, Muscadine wine has its own following of people who enjoy the sweetness and robust aromatic qualities. Another appealing feature of Muscadine wine is that you can actually make it at home! Many people who enjoy Muscadine wine make their own homebrews! Keep reading for the recipe as well as storage and serving tips!

What is Muscadine Wine?

Essentially, Muscadine wine is made from Muscadine grapes which are native to the U.S. Unlike other wine-making grapes, Muscadine grapes aren’t farmed commercially. These grapes make for a full-bodied, sweeter wine.

Their sweeter flavor profile makes them the ideal dessert of after-dinner nightcaps. On average, Muscadine wine features an average alcohol content of 10% ABV.

Can You Make Muscadine Wine at Home?

Can You Make Muscadine Wine at Home
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Muscadine wine is one of the most popular wines to make at home. You can make it with or without pulp and skins. Expert Muscadine homebrews advise that the wine you end up with will be different with every brew.

If you don’t mind this and you have the patience, it’s a great idea to test your wine-making skills!

Muscadine Wine Recipe

If you’re eager to make your own Muscadine wine, we’ve got you covered with a traditional recipe that’s been used by wine lovers for generations. Before we jump into our easy 12 step recipe, it’s important to know this isn’t a process that happens within a day or two.

Homemade Muscadine wine takes a few months to make. Some homebrewers also age their wine for additional weeks before drinking. Keep reading for everything you need to know to start brewing your vino.

Equipment Needed

The most crucial fact to know about Muscadine wine-making is the cleanliness of your equipment. Every item you’re going to use must be sterilized, sanitized and cleaned properly. This includes anything as simple as stirring spoons to bottles and containers.

Any trace of bacteria will hamper the fermentation process and will cause mold to start growing. Our expert tip is to let all your equipment soak in boiling water for a few minutes before use.

You’ll need:

  • Food-grade basin for brewing
  • 1 gallon-sized demijohn (glass or a plastic container fitted with a rubber stopper and a fermentation lock that prevents oxygen and bacteria from entering your brew)
  • Wine airlock and bung (a device used that allows carbon dioxide to be released during fermentation without allowing oxygen to enter the mixture)
  • Large funnel
  • 3-foot long vinyl siphon tube

Ingredients Needed

  • 3 quarts filtered water (don’t use normal tap water as this might contain bacteria or excessively high oxygen levels)
  • 6 standard cups of granulated sugar
  • 7g active dry yeast
  • 1 quart mashed fresh Muscadine grapes or 4lbs of grapes
  • Wine stabilizer (common choice is potassium sorbate which can be bought at Amazon. It prevents fermentation from starting up after the initial fermentation)

Method

It’s important to give your Muscadine wine-making process some thought. Ensure you have all the equipment before starting. You’ll also need to find a cool, dark place to keep your wine between fermentation processes. The spot you use should be safe from being moved around or opened.

While the mixture is in its brewing process, never shake it because this will hamper the fermentation process. If you have all the equipment and ingredients on hand, follow our 12 step brewing plan listed below!

  • Step 1: Mash the grapes by placing them in a clean plastic bag and smashing them with a meat tenderizer. Alternatively, freeze the grapes until their skins crack off. Allow the pulp to defrost in the bag. Since the mixture will be strained eventually, you don’t have to remove the skin or seeds at this point. NEVER use a blender or food processor as this won’t give you pulp in the right consistency and increases the tannins.
  • Step 2: Boil the water and allow it to cool. Slowly dissolve all 6 cups of sugar into the cool water. Ensure that the sugar and water are mixed in a sanitized bowl/container, making sure that the sugar is entirely dissolved. Stir with a clean spoon.
  • Step 3: Slowly add the mashed grapes to the water-sugar mixture. Sprinkle the active dry yeast evenly over the top without stirring. Stirring will ruin the mix, so it’s important to NOT stir.
  • Step 4: Use a clean, dry kitchen towel to cover the bowl. Place the covered bowl in a cool area with a temperature ranging between 68 – 72 degrees F. If you have a pantry, or cool grocery cupboard, this would be an ideal place to store. Leave the mixture for 24 hours. Remove the towel and stir well with a sterilized wooden spoon.
  • Step 5: Once well stirred, cover the mixture again and place back in its cool space. Stir the mixture every day for 1 week. Ideally, you need to do this at the same time every day. If this is the first time you’re brewing wine it might help to set an alarm if necessary to avoid forgetting!
  • Step 6: After 1 week, strain the liquids into another sterilized bowl using a straining bag. The bowl you’re pouring the mixture into must have an airlock for maximum results.
  • Step 7: Fill the bowl/container with water to the top. The wine ferments for a week in its designated cool and dark space. The wine mixture will bubble for the first few days. This is the fermentation process and is perfectly normal. Once the bubbling stops, the fermentation process is complete.
  • Step 8: When the fermentation has stopped after the 1st week, there’ll be foam at the top of the mixture and bubbles at the bottom. Strain the mixture and then use the sterilized funnel to drain the mixture into the demijohn. If the mixture doesn’t fill the bottle, add more filtered water with a teaspoon of sugar. Doing this will ensure there is no space in the bottle for oxygen and bacteria to grow on top of the wine.
  • Step 9: Fit the bung and airlock to the demijohn and let it stand in a dark, cool place for 3 weeks. The mixture should remain completely unmoved and unopened. No matter what you see happening in the bottle, resist the urge to shake the mixture!
  • Step 10: The fermentation process will slow down after three weeks. Your wine should be a bright ruby color. The liquid should be clear and might have some fruit sediment at the bottom. Note that the mixture shouldn’t be cloudy. Strain the mixture from the demijohn into a different sterilized container to rid the wine of any remaining sediment. You can use the siphon tube to siphon the wine out of the demijohn until it’s just above the sediment layer.
  • Step 11: Add extra filtered water to the top of the container adding 1 teaspoon of sugar. Place the airlock on the bottle and allow the wine mixture to ferment for another 3 weeks. It might be necessary to strain the mixture another time because the Muscadine has a tough skin and might make a few more layers of sediment. Ensure you wait three weeks between each time you strain the mixture. Top the bottle up with filtered water and add a teaspoon of sugar each time.
  • Step 12: Once your wine mixture is a clear ruby color with little to no sediment, you can pour the wine into sterilized glass bottles. Add the stabilizer to avoid renewed fermentation from starting in the bottles. Ensure the bottle has airtight caps. To keep track of the age of your wine, add a label with the date. Store in the refrigerator and enjoy as needed!

Best Way to Store Home Made Muscadine Wine

Homemade wine obviously doesn’t contain the preservatives that professional winemakers use to give their wines a long shelf life. Additionally, the shelf life of your wine also depends on how clean the tools, containers and bottles are during the mixing and making process.

Generally, Muscadine wine should be stored in a cool, dry area such as a pantry. Since Muscadine is best served cold, you could also store it in the refrigerator straight after the brewing process is complete.

If you’re not going to add sulfites, your homebrew should be consumed within 3 to 6 months. Always keep an eye out for mold or change in smell as this will indicate the presence of bacteria.

An expert tip would be to start off making Muscadine wine in small quantities until you get the hang of the process. It’s also crucial to sanitize all tools and containers used in the process.

How Should Muscadine Wine be Served?

How Should Muscadine Wine be Served
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Muscadine wine, like most other dessert wines, is best served chilled. Since Muscadine is made up of a variety of intense flavors, it can even be served ice-cold without dulling the more subtle flavors.

Be sure to taste the wine before serving it at dinner. Its sweetness might be overwhelming with some food pairings. You may find it’s perfect with spicy dishes, if you enjoy that kind of food.

Final Thought

While it’s true that Muscadine wine isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, it has a popular following with people who enjoy a sweeter vino. The advantage of Muscadine wine is that allows amateur wine enthusiasts the opportunity to practice wine-making skills in the comfort of their own kitchens!

By following our detailed recipe and exerting a bit of patience, your dinner guests will soon be sipping on your very own homemade vino!

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