Let’s Make Some Wine!
In this section you will find tips and techniques for home wine making. A large variety of wine ingredient kits and equipment can be found at www.learntobrew.com. If you are new to home wine making or want to expand your understanding of the wine making process we recommend that you watch our full length DVD Guide to Home Wine Making available at www.learntobrew.com. This will give you an interactive visual aid to the process and get you started making award-winning wine and in little time you can begin to master the art of wine making. Deciding what type of wine to make is usually the hardest part.
The equipment for wine making can be found in our equipment kits on our website at www.learntobrew.com. These kits will include all the equipment needed for fermenting 6 gallons of wine.
The ingredients for wine will include juice or must (must is unfermented wine). The juice is usually in a concentrate form of about 9 – 18 liters. Some premium kits will contain a full six gallons of juice. Usually the volume of juice is correlated with the amount of time the wine needs to age in the bottle. The more concentrate the longer the aging.
The other ingredients include, clarifying agents, wine yeast, oak chips and stabilizing agents. Some wine kits also included tannin, acids, grape skins, acid blends, and sweetening blends.
Cleaning and Sanitation
To prepare our equipment for winemaking we must clean and sanitize anything that will come into contact with the juice. This is a very important because unwanted bacteria and wild yeasts can destroy our efforts of making good wine.
All equipment must be cleaned and sanitized. While you clean, make sure that you do not use a fragrant soap, as there is a chance the fragrance could carry-over to the final product. Once everything is cleaned, it is time to sanitize.
Do not use bleach to sanitize your winemaking equipment as trace amounts of chlorine and ruin the wine.
Iodophor is a solution that contains iodine and phosphoric acid. One benefit of iodophor is that it’s a no rinse solution. Simply remove your equipment from the bath and allow the equipment to drip dry. A fifteen-minute soak of your equipment in an iodophor solution is sufficient. Another alternative to iodophor is potassium metabisulfite or commonly referred to as meta, sulphite, or campden.
The first step for wine making is two warm approximately 1 gallon of our water 100 degrees F. We recommend that you use sterile, non-chlorinated water. An excellent source is natural spring water that has been treated with a UV light. Add 1 oz of bentonite to the water and stir.
Carefully and gently pour the entire contents of the juice bag into the fermenting bucket. Once the bag of juice has been emptied, carefully pour the 2 cups of warm water into the bag to rinse the bag. With all the juice added to the primary fermentation vessel, true up the volume with more sterile water to a full 6 gallons. (Some wines may contain oak chips or oak powders. Add these additives now.)
Now it is time to take an original gravity reading. Since you are using a fermenting bucket, it is very easy take a gravity sample.
With the original gravity recorded, it is time to add the yeast. Open the packet of yeast and sprinkle the yeast on top of the juice. Do not stir the juice once the yeast has been added. Add the lid to the bucket and the airlock to the lid and place the primary bucket in an area at normal room temperature for two weeks for fermentation.
After 14 complete days of primary fermentation, it is time to stabilize and clarify the wine, but before you get started, be sure to clean and sanitize all of your equipment.
First siphon the wine out of the fermenting bucket and into the 6-gallon carboy leaving behind the sediment in the primary.
Add 5 grams of potassium metabisulfite to six gallons of wine and stir and degas the wine for one minute using a long spoon or wine whip. The wine whip is an excellent tool that attaches to a drill and quickly stirs and degasses the wine.
Next, add 4 grams of potassium sorbate or ¼ tsp. Some wine kits will contain extra sorbate due to the high amount of residual sugars. If your wine kit does contain extra sorbate, add all the packages. Stir and degas for five minutes.
Next add your clarifying agents to the wine and stir and degas after each has been added. Finally, top off the wine to an inch below the stopper and move the wine back to a cool elevated place away from light. Allow the wine to set in a temperature-controlled environment in the 6-gallon carboy for 14 more days.
Once the wine has clarified, it is time to bottle. If you are aging your wine more than six months, we recommend adding ¼ tsp of sulfite to help prevent oxidation. Carefully bottle and cork each wine. Labeling your wine and placing either wax on the cork or shrink capsules will add an attractive, professional look to your work of art. That’s it. The bottles now have an attractive professional look sure to impress anyone. Congratulations!