Instant pot wine has been the “unicorn” of many food bloggers ever since instant pots started rising in popularity in 2016. Today, most of America uses these near-miracle half-pressure cooker/half-slow cooker devices. Yet, the idea of using instant pot to make wine remained elusive.
Until one food blogger managed to make it work. David Murphy from the FoodnService blog accepted the challenge and started looking for ways to make instant pot wine work.
The New Jersey food aficionado scoured the internet for instant pot wine recipes and when he didn’t find any, he went to the Instant Pot Community’s Facebook page to ask other specialists for some advice. Hitting a dead end there as well, Murphy eventually got the idea he was waiting for.
“Then, my a-ha moment happened,” he told MUNCHIES over an email in February. “The Instant Pot has a Yogurt function, and you can use less heat. Before you know it, I was shopping on Amazon and running to the store to grab juice and to test out my theory… and it worked!”
As any good experimenter, Murphy tried his idea at home and a couple of weeks later he posted it on his website. The final recipe isn’t as “instant” as the instant pot’s name implies but it’s definitely much faster than how regular wine is made. It’s also fairly simple and with very few ingredients:
- A 64oz. bottle of Welch’s grape juice. Presumably, other brands of grape juice should work too as long as it’s 100% grape juice with no added sugar or other artificial sweeteners, colorants, and chemicals.
- One cup of granulated sugar.
- Half a packet of Lalvin Red Wine yeast. Again, you can likely use other brands of wine yeast but it’s important to use wine yeast and not regular yeast. It’s also important to use a high-quality yeast for obvious reasons.
- Any model Instant Pot that has a Yogurt Function with a 6qt DUO Plus IP.
- A funnel and a roll of clear packing tape.
If you feel that these are insufficient ingredients for wine don’t worry – we all had that reaction. But, before we judge anything we first have to test the recipe – here are all the steps to instant pot cooking your own 64oz. bottle of red wine:
- Sanitize your Instant Pot. This is vital as you don’t want any food residue to be left on the pot when you start making your wine in it.
- Open up the bottle of juice and remove one cup and set aside.
- Add a cup of granulated white sugar in the juice. We previously removed a cup of the juice to make room for the sugar, we’ll combine them in the pot later on.
- Close the bottle and shake it well for about 2 minutes. This is one of the main steps a lot of people seem to mess up as they shake the bottle only for a while and don’t let the sugar dissolve fully in the juice.
- Add the 1/2 packet of red wine yeast in the bottle after you’ve shaken it.
- Close the bottle again and shake it some more to mix the yeast in. This second “shake session” can be shorter and milder but it’s important to mix the yeast after the sugar and not together with it.
- Pour the mixture inside the sanitized pot liner of your Instant Pot cooker. You can add the previously removed cup of juice into the pot if you haven’t drunk it already. If you add it, stir the contents of the pot well. Also, you should keep the juice bottle as you’ll need it later on.
- Close and lock your Instant Pot BUT leave the vent on the lid open for now.
- Press the “Yogurt” button on the Instant Pot and press “Less” to set the temperature to 80-degrees Fahrenheit (that’s 27-degrees Celsius). Set the pot for 48 hours as that’s how long the initial process is going to take.
- Every 6 to 8 hours you should switch the vent on the cooker’s lid from open to close and vice versa.
- After 48 hours (and several switches of the vent) have passed, open the Instant Pot, breathe in the smell of warm juice and alcohol, avoid tasting it if you value your taste buds as the mixture definitely won’t taste well at this stage, and add the whole thing back inside the juice bottle. If you’ve thrown the bottle or you want to use something that’s not plastic, you can use another container as well.
- Add the bottle’s cap back on but don’t screw it completely – screw it just halfway because the wine will need to keep “breathing”. That’s because the yeast will still have lots of work to do at this point and it releases CO2 while doing so (there will be bubbles coming out of your soon-to-be-sort-of-wine.
- After you’ve screwed the cap halfway through, attach some of the clear packing tape onto it to keep it secure on the bottle – you want the wine to breathe but you still want to make sure the cap remains on.
- Store the bottle someplace dark. Room temperature will do fine, you don’t need to stick it in a basement, however, there should be no sunlight hitting the bottle.
- Wait 8-14 days until the wine stops making bubbles. The more you wait, the less fizzy it’s going to be. The taste will also change with each passing day so you can start tasting it every day after bubbles have stopped forming until you find the taste you like.
And that’s about it. If you prefer a more visual guide, the Emmy Made In Japan Youtube vlog has made a nice step-by-step video of the whole process:
So, what’s the verdict?
Well, it is wine. Whether you’ll like it or not, however, depends on your taste. Murphy says that “it tastes like Merlot” and that “The grapes in the juice became alive and transformed into something more palatable. You can smell dark cherries and raw chocolate on the nose, and you can taste more complex flavors than what you started with.”
Not everyone is as fond of Murphy’s creating as he was, however. And that’s fine – at the end of the day, wine-tasting is a matter of personal taste. But we’d go out on a limb that most wine enthusiasts won’t like this recipe too much unless their preferences happen to include wine made with lots of sugar and with a strong lingering taste of juice.
This recipe is definitely worth trying at least once if you have an Instant Pot with a Yogurt function. It’s a very neat and fun experiment, and you can invite some guests over to try it out.
Cheers, and stay safe!