STARTING A WINE KIT
How to Make Wine from a Kit
If you love wine, you might enjoy making your own. Kits make this much easier than starting a winery and, aside from the initial investment in equipment, it's far cheaper per bottle than buying wine at the store.
Purchase a wine kit.Look for an all-inclusive kit, containing all the additives you'll need, pre-measured (so you don't have to buy and measure them yourself). You can get a kit that is composed solely of pure juice, or a kit that comes with concentrated juice. The pure-juice kit requires no additional water, but is typically more expensive and needs to be refrigerated.
Purchase your equipment, as outlined in the "Things You'll Need" list below.Before making your wine, have all your equipment ready to go. Timing is critical. Read the instructions that came with your kit carefully, so you know what you'll need to do and when. The remainder of these instructions will give an overview; the exact process will vary from kit to kit.
Sanitize all of your equipment.There is a difference in "Sanitizing" and just washing your equipment. The kit you buy should come with a sanitizing agent. Prepare and use it per the instructions on the package.
Pour the contents into the primary fermenter and add the first group of ingredients, as instructed.Mix well. Draw a sample and take a hydrometer reading.
Add the yeast.The yeast should come pre-measured, but in case you're measuring your own, remember that you can't really add too much yeast, but you can add too little (which leads to bacterial spoilage).
Close the primary fermenter and place in an area with a temperature of 18–24ºC (65–75°F).
After several days (the instructions will usually specify) check the specific gravity.When it is as low as the instructions require (e.g. 1.020) it's time to rack the wine. The lower your fermenting temperature, the longer it will take to reach this stage. Test daily.
Transfer the wine into a carboy.
- Clean and sanitize siphon rod and hose, hydrometer and test jar, wine thief, carboy, bung and airlock. Rinse well.
- Place the primary fermenter on a table top. Place the carboy on the floor.
- Place the stiff plastic end of the siphon tube at the bottom of the fermenter.
- Siphon the wine from the primary fermenter into the carboy.
- Attach the airlock and bung.
Put the carboy back in the fermentation area for ten days.
Measure the specific gravity.It should be lower than before (the instructions should specify what specific gravity you're looking for). Make sure you get the same measurement for two days in a row (ensuring stability) before racking, or else the wine might not clear properly.
Rack the wine and/or take extra steps to stabilize and clear the wine (fining) depending on the kit.E.g. "Dissolve contents of package(s) #2 (metabisulphite) and package(s) #3 (sorbite) in ½ cup of cool water. Add to carboy and stir very vigorously for 2 minutes to disperse the stabilisers and drive off CO2. Again, be sure to stir up the yeast sediment from the bottom of the carboy."
Put the wine back in the fermentation area for ten days.
Transfer the wine into another sanitized carboy.Wait for the wine to reach the desired specific gravity and clarity, then rack again...and again...as instructed. You may need to add sulphite powder during this phase.
Filter the wine (optional).It will help make the wine ready to drink sooner and will make the wine stabler. Many homebrew shops loan or rent filtration units; ask the retailer how to use it.
Bottle the batch.Clean and sanitise the needed number of wine bottles, siphon rod, hose and siphon filler. Rinse well. Siphon your wine into the bottles and seal with a good quality cork. After corking, store bottles in a dark, cool, temperature-stable place, standing upright for three to ten days. Then lay down all bottles. After a day or two, check the bottles and re-cork any you find leaking.
Wait as long as the instructions recommend.Be patient! Usually you need to wait 2-3 months before even tasting the wine, but you can let it age for a year or longer for the flavor to improve.
QuestionI went to bottle my wine today, and it was awful. It tasted like rotten yeast. Why would this happen?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYour fermentation could have gone bad. This happens from time to time. The next time you make this, be sure all of your equipment is clean and follow the directions exactly.Thanks!
QuestionWill my kit wine still be drinkable if it was racked too early?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, it will be drinkable. However, it may not taste very good.Thanks!
QuestionWhy did my wine bubble over in the primary pail?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou must not have left at least 10 inches above the wine level for fermentation. Fermentation will cause the juice to expand.Thanks!
QuestionI am making blackberry Merlot from a kit. I accidentally added the fruit base on day one. Is there a way to rectify this error? Will my wine still ferment?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes it will ferment. Even if by mistake you added any other substance like sugar, salt or banana it will ferment.Thanks!
- For a five-gallon batch (the average size of a kit) you'll need the 26 standard 26-ounce (750 ml) wine bottles.
Things You'll Need
Prices given are estimates.
Video: Making Wine from a Kit Part I: Getting Started
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