Q: I read about another method of making fruit wine, is to place the fruits and sugar into the container for 1-2 months, or even longer. There is no mention of loosing the cover to release the carbon dioxide produced. What's the difference in the wine produced compared to your method? Is this method dangerous, will the container explode? Will the quality of the wine be affected or spoilt with time? How long does it take to harvest the wine using the mentioned method?
A: It is impossible to "place the fruits and sugar into the container for 1-2 months, or even longer and never loosen the cover to release the carbon dioxide". The container will explode.
Of course, if you add fruits and sugar to liquor, then it's possible. But that is not fermenting wine, that is soaking fruit wine, it will not produce carbon dioxide.
Q: I'm interested to make my own lychee wine. Can I follow the method of one layer of grapes followed by one layer of white sugar? I just need to peel away the shell and seeds and put the whole fruit and juice in the jar? Need to loosen (but not fully open) the cap occasionally during the first 7 days to let out the carbon dioxide? How long does this lychee wine take to harvest? Is it about 8 days, like the grape wine? And how long can we keep the wine and residue? What is the correct way to store them?
A: A layer of grapes followed by a layer of sugar is used by quite a number of people in Taiwan. As the grapes are not squeezed open, you'll need to leave it longer to harvest, the rest of the steps are similar.
For lychee, remove the skin and seed will do. Cover the container, release the carbon dioxide occasionally (cannot stir). The speed/duration to harvest fruit wine depends on factors such as the surrounding temperature, amount of yeast, the size and softness of fruits and amount of sugar. There is no fixed timing, but once there is no new bubbles produced in the container, the wine is ready for harvest. It can be as fast as 5-6 days or as slow as 2-3 months.
After harvest, remove the residue from the wine. Fill into container and keep in the fridge, that is the best way of storage, can store up to a few years. But must remember to fill up the storage container to almost full and closed properly. Release the cover every alternate day. If there is gas gushing out of the bottle, it means fermentation is not fully completed. The wine can still be consumed, but you need to release the gas every now and then.
Q: Thanks for your above reply. According to your explanation above, making lychee wine only need to remove the lychee skin and seed. Do we need to add sugar? I'm making grape wine now, can I use the grape residue to help the lychee wine ferment? If I do not add sugar or grape residue, will the lychee wine fails to ferment?
When the grape wine completes its fermentation, do I need to squeeze out the wine from the grape residue?
A: Lychee wine is similar to grape wine, it's up to individual whether to add sugar or not. Without sugar, you'll get a non-sweet lychee wine.
If you wish to add sugar, maximum amount is 1/4 of the weight of lychee.
Adding a little grape residue makes it easier to ferment. Without the grape residue, sometimes the lychee wine may fail as the amount of yeast in the fruit is less.
When filtering the grape wine,you can choose to squeeze or not to squeeze out the wine in the residue. I usually do not squeeze it out into the wine so as to have a clear wine. I will squeeze out the residue separately for own consumption.
Q: I've just read some books on homemade fruit enzyme, the method is very close to making fruit wine. May I know what's the difference between these two?
A: The logic behind making fruit enzyme is this. Fermenting wine will produce large amount of yeast, which will in turn produce enzyme. So they're actually the same thing. It's just like while dough can be used to make bread for consumption, it can also be used to cultivate wild yeast.