Most Kerela/Mullu, Goa, and Indian style homemade wine recipes will call for the addition of a copious amount of sugar, water, wheat grains, and Egg white. Yet the typical western recipes will not mention such ingredients? Why?

Egg white in red wines India

Egg white also called Albumin is used to remove tannins from the red wine. Tannins creates astringency and harshness. European wines are typically aged in a temperature controlled cellar for 1 year to mellow down the harsh astringency and make wines taste smoother. In India, some home brewers end up drinking their stock within 2-8 weeks of pulping the grapes.

If you are making fast instant home made red wine from local grapes then the yeast would not get enough time to perform complex biochemical reactions to give wine its full bodied taste. That is why cheaper wine (lets call it ethanol in a sweet fruit juice) needs egg white to make it more platable.

wine fining techniques bentonite, gelatin, isinglass, pictinase enzyme

Typical American or European recipes will call for 1.5kg of grapes for every liter of wine. Some traditional Indian wine recipes, on the other hand, would use 200-500gm of fruit per liter of wine or hard cider. This results in a wine that starts tasting too watery, i.e. lack the body and mouthfeel. To compensate for this lack of body, wheat is added. The skin of the seeds is rich in tannins that make the wine less watery.

Summary: Decide what you want to make Ethanol or Wine?

Your wine will be as good as the ingredients use and the patience you have. If you add too little fruit, then you are essentially doing a sugar-wash wine (ethanol spirit without any taste and flavor). If you don’t allow at least 6 months of aging, then wine will be too hard to drink. To mask the off-flavors, you will have to back sweeten with too much sugar (sweet dessert wine), or add a lot of egg white to strip off the harshness.

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21 years of experience in Home Brewing and author of Arishtam (India's first homebrew Guide Book).

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