- 25 litre fermenting container or bucket with lid.
- Secondary 25 litre fermenting container with airlock.
- Siphon and u tube (recommend auto siphon).
- Mixing spoon.
- Bottles & corks or storage containers.
This wine kit includes all the ingredients to make 23 litres (30x75cl bottle) of wine. Read fully before starting.
Clean and sterilise all the equipment which comes into contact with the wine. It will also help if your fermenting container is marked in advance at 23 litres (most will already have this on it).
Take the large bag of concentrate and lay it on a worktop cap facing upwards. Grab the neck and remove the cap (a standard beer bottle opener is ideal for this (or if it’s a threaded cap, simply unscrew)) and pour it into the fermenter.
Add approximately one litre of water to the bag and shake well, and then add this to the container. Repeat this to ensure there is no grape juice left in the bag.
If you want a medium to dry wine, add the separate smaller bag of concentrate. Don’t worry if there is a sugary feel to the concentrate, this is only crystallised grape juice and will fully dissolve. Alternatively should you be looking for a medium sweet wine, don’t add the contents of this second bag until the end of the process (see step 10).
If there are oak chippings or elderflowers, add these as well. Now top up to 23 litres with water so the final temperature is 18–23°C. Stir really well to make sure it is well mixed.
Take a hydrometer reading. The starting specific gravity (SG) should be between 1070–1080.
If the temperature is too warm, leave to cool. Now add the yeast by sprinkling it over the juice and stir well. Cover the container and fit the airlock (half filled with clean water).
Leave the container in a warm place. The temperature should be between 18–23°C. This is important and it is better to have a steady but cooler temperature than fluctuating temperatures. If you are struggling to reach this temperature, there are several forms of heating equipment available like heat trays and immersion heaters which you can use.
Some people like to do a transfer when the gravity falls to 1010. Simply siphon off the wine, leaving the dead yeast cells at the bottom of the bucket. Strictly speaking this is no longer neccessary as we have include and improved yeast strain with these kits for a quicker fermentation.
After about 6–8 days, fermentation will be finished and the SG will be around 998. If in doubt, leave it for a few more days. The best way to make sure is by doing a hydrometer reading on two consecutive days, and if the SG is the same then the fermentation is complete. The wine can be tasted and it should be dry. Bubbles should also have finished coming up though the airlock.
Add the stabiliser (sorbate/sulphite) sachet to a cup of warm water, mix well and add to the container. Stir well to remove all the carbon dioxide gases that build up during fermentation. If your container is too full remove a little of the wine and place in a jug while you are doing this. The wine needs to be really well beaten to remove all these gases. This can take several minutes and might need repeating many times. A degassing stick is ideal for this. Once you are happy add the sachet of Kieselsol (finings) and stir for 30 seconds. If you are making a medium sweet wine, then now is the time to add the separate, second bag of grape juice, and mix in well. Leave to stand for 24 hours and then add the sachet of Chitosan (finings) and gently stir for 15 seconds.
Leave the container at a height where you will be able to siphon it without having to move it again.
Leave the wine to clear for 3–5 days. Siphon the wine off the sediment (being really careful not to disturb this) into either another container (if you want to filter or sweeten the wine), or into glass bottles. All these containers should be sterilised before you use them.
Storage: The wine will benefit from being stored for as long as you can bear to leave it (minimum 4 weeks please!!!) before drinking. If you are bottling, the wine should be corked and left upright for 2–3 days. You can then apply shrink tops and labels and the wine should be stored on its side to keep the corks moist.
Some Useful Tips
Always use a good quality cleaner steriliser and rinse well after use with clean water. Avoid bleach.
Temperature is really important so you must keep an eye on this. The warmer the room, the quicker the fermentation will be. However the quicker the fermentation the more flavours and bouquet you will loose, so in this case slow is good. If using brew belts or heat trays we would recommend that they are used with a time clock and only come on at the really cold time of day or night. Temperatures over 29°C will cause the yeast to die.
When siphoning the wine, make sure you have a rigid tube attached to prevent the sediment being drawn up.
As soon as the stabilisers and finings have been added and have worked then get the wine into suitable storage containers/bottles, or glass demijohns.
The removal of the carbon dioxide in the wine at the end of fermentation is really important as failure to do this will mean it is harder to clear the wine, and the finished wine will also develop a tingly taste on the tongue, which detracts from the taste. A degassing stick is a really good investment as this works on the end of a drill. It does all the hard work for you!
Sometimes the finings will cause particles to stick to the side of the container so it pays during the clearing process to give it a sharp twist. If the wine is not clear then just leave it until it is. It will clear quicker if it’s in a cool place.
We would always recommend that you taste the wine prior to bottling (you deserve this perk after all the hard work). Wine can be sweetened by adding sugar or grape juice to your desired taste. Once sweetened it can never be made drier so if in doubt don’t do it. Sweetening can be done at any time at all.