Since 2011 I’ve been making my own wine, and it has been a very rewarding process. There’s a lot of cleaning and stirring involved, but it’s not at all difficult and the resulting wine has been ideal for my tastes. I began with kits but eventually graduated to making my favourite alcoholic beverage, maple wine.
Maple wine is technically not wine and is closer to a mead, but it’s a name I prefer to maple mead. To make about 30 bottles of wine I take 2 gallons of maple syrup, yeast, yeast nutrient and water, give them a couple months and bottle the wine.
Maple wine is not too sweet, rich in flavour and has a beautiful clarity and colour. It could be considered a dessert wine, but I’ve enjoyed it with many meals.
My family has long run a maple farm, and I’ve been using syrup from it for my maple wine. It’s a nice connection and reminder of the very best of my family’s traditions.
I currently have one batch that I expect to be ready for the summer.
The recipe I used for making the wine from “Maple Wine and Traditional Mead“
- 8-9 quarts, maple syrup
- 5 teaspoons yeast nutrient
- 15 grams (1 pack) champagne yeast
Hydrate the yeast in warm water and dissolve the yeast nutrient in hot water. Mix the maple syrup with cold water in a large open container to almost 5 gallons at your target specific gravity. Splash or spray the water to oxygenate the must so that the yeast can multiply rapidly. Pitch the dissolved yeast and yeast nutrient, dregs included, into a glass carboy. Then splash in the must and slosh around until well mixed, oxygenated, and full.
Use a blow off tube for the first few days and then switch to a water trap. After about 60 days, when the maple wine is crystal clear and you can shine a flashlight beam right thru the carboy onto the wall, bottle your maple wine. It is ready to drink immediately.
I always use yeast nutrient and plenty of yeast for starter, so the fermentation takes off with a bang and the rapidly rising alcohol content quickly kills anything else. For this reason I have never heated the maple syrup or honey, and have had no problems with contamination.