I will work on an example, blackberry wine. You wlll need a demijohn [jar], fermentation lock, rubber bung with a hole for the lock and sodium sterilizing powder. Put a teaspoonful of the powder into the jr and wash it out with warm water. Make sure it is all washed out
Get a pound of blackberries and place them in a pan, bringing them gently to heat, but not to boiling. Soon you will have a dark liquid. Pour the liquid through a plastic funnel into the demjohn. Then pour two pounds of white sugar into the jar. When the temperature of the jar is about 25c you can add your yeast. Many wine makers make a yeast starter the day before brewing, which is a bottle containing yeast, yeast nutrient, sugar and warm water. The advantage of this is that it gets the fermentation off to a good start, but it is also possible to simply pour in the yeast and the yeast nutrient. Then top up the jar with warm water, but do not overfill. Part fill the fermentation lock with water, stick it into the hole in the rubber bung, then seal the jar. Your ferment will start, at first slowly with a few bubbles, then it will quicken.
Wine cannot be hurried. Leave your wine in a warm, dimly lit place, maybe for three weeks until the ferment is over. Then to make sure drop a sterilizing tablet into the jar. Quickly reseal, as you do not want germs entering. You can get wines that are ready in three weeks, so the kit manufacturers tell you, but if you want quality you must be prepared to wait for the wine to mature. Some winemakers wait for year.
Sometimes a wine will be cloudy. This is more the case with white wines. When this happens use wine finings, which is a substance that clears the cloudiness, depositing it at the bottom of the jar.
Occasionally in the days after starting your wine the ferment goes crazy and bubbles up into the fermentation lock. Don't worry over this, simply clean out the lock and replace the water. To avoid contamination some winemakers have a spare lock ready.
Winemakers rack their wines after fermentation is over. This involves siphoning off the wine into a clean demijohn. When doing this leave the cloudy bit at the bottom, it is waste. The new jar is sealed with a bung without a hole, as there should be no gas escaping. Then they wait a couple of weeks at least before siphoning off into bottles. Bottles should be corked rather than screw capped because if there is a residual ferment a screw-capped bottle could explode, whereas a cork just pops out. My mother told me a family story that one of her father's brothers once brewed beer, but bottled it before the ferment was complete. During the night the family heard a series of loud pops, and came downstairs to find the kitchen covered in beer froth.
In England, as Big Bro says, "Former " is first, "latter " is second
The white sediment is at the bottom of the jar along with the lees, the dead yeast. You do not use this stuff to drink, so when you siphon the wine, leave the sediment in the jar and then pour it away.
One last question: I meant to ask in regard to your first comment to my question two days ago, is there anything I can do about the white sediment in strawberry wine, and if not, will it have no or some slight taste?
Mulberry is tasty, but takes 13 months to mature. Wineberry is a member of the Rubus genus, like raspberry and blackberry, so is very suitable for wine, as they are. Strawberry's soft, fruity flavour will blend well with the honey in melomel.
Thank you! So I'm looking forward to attempting strawberry wine since the strawberries are shooting up early along with the wild onion. What do you think of mulberry and wineberry as wines?
The web site for Westfjords Winery mentions honey wines as melomels with fruits and honey; as methylglins with herbs, honey and spices; and as "pure" mead. Would strawberry mix well with honey for what they call melomel, wine fermented with fruits and honey?
Strawberries make a lovely wine, but expect a deposit of white sediment, as the seeds sink to the bottom and mingle with the yeast sediment.
Rhubarb is known to make a good wine, I have enjoyed it. I have never made bilberry wine, as there are not sufficient supplies of wild bilberries in my area, but I think it would be good. Crowberry does not grow in my area at all, so I cannot comment on it.
Wild strawberries grow here from March to November. But the clement weather has brought the beginnings of wild onion and strawberries already in this last week of February. What is your opinion of strawberry wine?
Also, what is your opinion of bilberries, crowberries and rhubarb for home-made wine? (The Westfjords Winery in Iceland mentions the previous trio as the fruits with which they intend to make wine.)
Any wine that you enjoy, but wild fruits will not be available around St Patrick's Day. Maybe if you have stored apples and a press you can make apple wine. I rarely drink beer so I have never made it. But in mid march you might harvest young nettle leaves for nettle beer.
The former means first listed, just as in American parlance.
In re-visiting your article, a question came to mind because it's February and soon will be March. What home-made wine do you consider as most attractive, most tasty for Saint Valentine's Day and for St. Patrick's Day? Or does the latter day likelier inspire beer, and if so, what kind?
In a related, unrelated direction, I remember reading somewhere -- may not have been a reliable source -- that your side of the pond considers former as the second-listed and latter as the first-listed of two persons or things. On this side, the former is the first, the further away from the end of the sentence, and the latter the second, the closer to the end.
Where I live in North West England grapes are hard to grow, so buying grape juice is necessary for wine makers.