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Beginners Guide to Wine Making

The first question we normally get asked is "What do I need?"

The following is a list of essential equipment to make 30 bottles of wine (it's the same for 6 bottles but smaller containers). We however would recommend that you do the 30 Bottle starter kit not because its more expensive (although your cost per bottle is considerably cheaper) but you will have 30 bottles to savour, and let's be honest, 6 bottles won't last very long!!

All these essential items of equipment can be found in our Luxury Wine Starter Pack (30 Bottle) + Free DVD , which offers great value for money and means you can be on your way to making your first batch of wine without any hassle!

What type of wine kit should I make?

We would recommend either Wineworks Premium or Wineworks Superior as your first 30 Bottle Kit Wine. Both these ranges are designed to produce a good quality wine that is ready to drink within 4-6 weeks.

What do I do?

The two most important aspects of making wine are Cleanliness and Temperature. Firstly remember everything that comes into contact with the wine should be cleaned and sterilised (see below). Secondly maintain a constant temperature between 21-26°C (69-79°F). It is much better to be on the cool side and constant than hot one minute and cold the next. Airing cupboards are definitely no, no's. (See below)

Steps to making a good wine (follow the instructions!)

  1. Clean and sterilise all equipment.
  2. Add the concentrate and water to the sterilised fermenter/bucket.
  3. Add the yeast sachet and leave to ferment watching the temperature. The yeast will turn the grape juice (and sugar) into alcohol. Carbon dioxide is given off while this is happening and you will see bubbles coming through your airlock.
  4. Once fermentation has been completed the wine is stabilised (to prevent any re-fermentations) and finings are added (to clear the wine).
  5. The wine can then be siphoned off the sediment and transferred into bottles.
  6. The bottles need to be either "corked" (there are several corking devices available) or sealed with plastic stoppers (not very good if keeping wine more than 6 weeks). Shrink tops and labels can then be added.
  7. Leave the wine if you can to mature and enjoy it!

How long before I can drink it?

Wineworks superior wines: These usually take 10-15 days to ferment, and a further week to clear. Again the wine can be drunk immediately but we recommend ageing it 4 weeks but you can leave it up to 12 months. The time you will leave it will depend very much on your stocks. So get plenty built up. The reds benefit more than the whites with ageing. Certain kits like the Selection (see our wine kits department for a range which will suit the more experienced wine maker) takes 4 weeks to ferment and is then left for a further 2 weeks. This product does really benefit from ageing. All the kits we list in this section require little ageing.

How long will it take to make my wine?

As it's new to you it will probably take in all 2 hours for your first batch. However, once you are used to it 1 hour is about the maximum amount of time needed. We would also point out bar the bottling side; it takes just as long to make 6 bottles as it does to make 30 bottles, so we strongly recommend you make the larger quantity. After all 6 bottles doesn't go very far as we said before!

What space do I need?

Approximately 600mm (24") x 600mm (24") is all that's needed to make 30 bottles of wine - no space at all!

What temperature do I need to ferment my wine?

From our experience it is much better to maintain a constant temperature than a fluctuating one. We suggest 21-26°C (69-79°F), although if it is cooler than this, it is not a problem, it just takes slightly longer to ferment. If you can't maintain this then we supply three different forms of heating equipment:

Brew Belt / Heat Belt
This is a simple insulated electric cable that wraps round your container and provides a gentle heat. It is very flexible and extremely easy to use.
Heat Tray (4 demi/5 Gallon Fermenter)
This is like a flat tray that provides a gentle continuous heat that goes under the fermenter.
Immersion Heater
This drops into the container, through the bung and can be thermostatically controlled to maintain the exact temperature. Similar to a fish tank heater. All these can be added to our starter kit packages.

Why do I need to sterilise my equipment?

It is important to clean & sterilise all equipment that comes into contact with the wine. This will prevent infections which can spoil your wine (and in some cases turn it into vinegar). We sell a simple steriliser which when mixed with water will prevent infections. It only takes minutes for it to work, and then the equipment should be rinsed with clean water to prevent the chloride (in the steriliser) from spoiling the taste.

How much will it cost?

If you've made it this far, hopefully understanding a bit of what we've said, then you'll want to know how much it will cost to get started! Well, we've put together a couple of equipment packs which include everything you need, and take the confusion out of buying. Together with the equipment pack, you'll want a wine kit. We sell wine kits and equipment separately, as we believe this gives you better choice, both in terms of the wine you will make, and the quality of equipment you opt for.

You can make you first 30 bottles of Wine for as little as £64.95, although if you go for our Superior Wine Kit, or one of the more expensive brands like Beaverdale or Selection, you can expect to pay around £80-£90.