They are prepared in brown ceramic jars called "bharani," which remind us of the ancient trade between India and China. To make sweet grape wine, the fermentation time is shorter, and the process stops before all the sugar turns into alcohol.
Christmas is a time of celebration with good food and fruit wine, and talking about wine, there’s nothing that comes close to homemade wine. Special wines are part of the festivities in Goa, Mumbai, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu.
It is mandatory in every Catholic home to have a glass of homemade sweet grape wine and a thick slice of rich plum cake during the festivities. During the olden times, the process of making wine would begin in October, although nowadays many prefer to buy store-bought ones and still fewer make fruit wine at home.
What is a fruit wine?
Fruit wines are very sweet to taste and are often spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. They are prepared in brown ceramic jars called "bharani," which remind us of the ancient trade between India and China. To make sweet grape wine, the fermentation time is shorter, and the process stops before all the sugar turns into alcohol. You will need to use equal parts grape juice and sugar, which results in a sweet grape wine.
The grapes used for making the grape wine are usually sourced from Nashik, Bangalore, etc. and must be a dark red variety. The red color of the wine comes from the redness of the grape skin. The distinct flavor of the wine comes from the grapes and sugar, along with the yeast for fermentation and a combination of spices. Its strength usually depends on the amount of wheat or barley used, which also acts as a clarifying agent, and for a crystal-clear wine, you will need to use egg white.
Before you even start the process of winemaking, you will need to sterilize the bottles being used and the equipment as well.
Here are two easy recipes for making wine at home:
Homemade Grape Wine
1 kilo sweet dark grapes,
1 kilo of sugar
1-inch cinnamon stick, crushed
18 cups of water,
1 teaspoon dry yeast
¼ cup wheat kernels
1 egg white
• Crush the grapes and keep them in the ceramic jar.
• In a bowl, add the yeast to 2 tablespoons of warm water and set aside for 20 minutes.
• Add the yeast, sugar, water, wheat, and spices to the crushed grapes and give it all a good mix till the sugar is fully dissolved.
• This should fill ¾ of the jar. Keep it in a dark place to ferment for three weeks.
• The fermentation causes the release of carbon dioxide, so you must cover the jar with cloth and tie it with a rope.
• Open the jar once a day and stir the contents well with a dry wooden spoon.
• You will find the grapes floating at the top of the liquid initially, but after a few weeks, they will settle at the bottom of the jar.
• At the end of the third week, the foaming will stop, and when that happens, strain the liquid through a cloth into another clean glass jar and keep it closed for three days.
• Now pour the clear wine into a bottle. Mix the egg white and leave it in the container, keeping it closed for a few more days until the wine is fully clear.
• Store in dark bottles in a cool, dark place.
Christmas Mulled Wine
Here is another amazing Christmas wine that is made in every home during the festival. Homemade mulled wine is full of spices and can be easily made at home on a stove or slow cooker. It's just perfect for a cold winter evening and to have with fruit cake at Christmas time.
The preparation of this wine is very easy and just needs a bottle of red wine, an orange, some basic spices, and sugar. It can be easily made at home and must be served warm. Sip on it and enjoy it with friends and relatives at Christmas time and other festive times as well.
750-ml bottle of dry red wine
1/4 cup brandy or orange extract
2 sticks of cinnamon
2 pieces of star anise
4 tablespoons of sugar
• Add all the ingredients together in a saucepan. Stir and simmer over medium heat, then reduce the heat to lower
• Don’t allow it to bubble, or else the alcohol will bubble off.
• Cover and allow the wine to simmer for 2 hours.
• Strain out the wine and add more sugar if needed.
• Serve in mugs with orange slices, star anise, cinnamon sticks, etc.