A Beginners Complete 10
Steps To Making Fine Wine
This is for fermenting on the fruit pulp(5
gallons) for other flavor extraction methods see procedures page.
Pick a time that's quiet and you don't have to rush, gather all your
equipment and get your fruit ready, I suggest a 6 or 7 gallon food grade plastic
bucket or wine fermenter for use as a primary fermenter, don't use plastic that is not
food grade. You can buy a beginners wine making kits from wine suppliers, I highly
recommend this, the cost around $60.00 or a little more, but can be used over and over,
and they generally come with everything you need. go to my Wine
Supplies page for info.
Now, sterilize everything in site. use potassium metabisulphate (2 tsp.
in a spray bottle or gallon milk jug) or a bleach solution and clean everything that will
touch your wine. if you use bleach make sure you RINSE GOOD, don't want any bleach in your
wine. once all is sterile don't place anything on the counter top or let it touch an
unclean surface. here's a tip: if you have a lid to your
fermenter bucket, sterilize it and then you can lay your spoons, stirring rods and stuff
on it while you work and it will stay sanitary.
Prepare your fruit. (2-3 lbs. per gallon on must) Cut up and remove all
bad spots and any seeds, cores, and pits in the fruit. also rinse your fruit prior to
handling. we wont worry to much about it touching anything while you cut it up, as you
will be adding campden tablets to your must that will kill off any bacteria. place your
cut up or minced fruit in a fermenter bag, nylon panty hose, or some other thing that will
contain it properly. If you don't have anything just put it in the bucket and it will be
just fine. Crush the fruit well, really mash it with your hands or some kind of tool..
If you are using any grape concentrate with your recipe (which I highly
recommend it adds body and grape characteristics to your wine.) add it now to the bucket
with all the fruit. heat some water, say a gallon or so to boiling and pour this
over the fruit and/or concentrate mixture. let your must sit a while and hour or two, and
then add the rest of the water to just over 5 gallons. this should help bring the
temperature down also. Make sure the must cools to tepid, or room temp.
O.K. now you have a full bucket of wine must. you need to get out the
acid measuring kit and the Hydrometer. Its time to take measurements. If you don't have
these essential tools, you really need to have them. As you will be making wine on guess
work or by following a recipe, and the end result although may be o.k. wont be near as
good as the FINE wine we are trying to make here. sweetness and acidity in a wine NEEDS to
Measure the acidity of the must and write it down. measure the
specific gravity of the must and write it down. Your measurements have now told you how
much acid blend and sugar is needed to produce a finished wine of .55 -.66 % tartaric acid
and at about 12.5% alcohol. Remember there are 8oz of sugar in a cup. and 1 tsp. of
acid blend will raise the acid of 1 gallon of wine by .15% so lets say your
acid reading is about .40 tartaric you will need to add 1 tsp. of acid blend per gallon to
bring total acidity to .55% so you will need to add 5 tsp.'s. The sugar reading will be in
Specific Gravity, and there is also a sugar scale on most all hydrometers. lets say your
must reads 1.030 S.G. you will want to add sugar to the 1.090 mark for a 12-13%
alcohol wine. So look on the sugar scale part of the hydrometer and see the sugar ounces
per gallon that reads on the same mark as 1.030. Simply look at the 1.030 mark and rotate
the hydrometer around to the sugar per ounces scale and read what it says. for instance,
lets say it reads 15. that means you have 15 oz of sugar per gallon in your must at this
time. You goal is to get to about 32 oz of sugar per gallon of must so that you end up
with a 12.5% alcohol wine. So subtract 15 from 32 and you will see that you will need to
add 17 oz of sugar PER GALLON. you are making 5 gallons of wine so if we do the math we
see that (5x17= 85.) You will to add 85 ounces total sugar to get a 12-13% alcohol
wine. now we know there are 8 ounces of sugar to a cup right, so we will divide 85 by 8 =
10.6 You will need to add about 10-11 cups of sugar. Now most of the time your must
wont read as high as my example here, so you will usually use 6-10lbs of sugar for a 5
gallon batch of wine. add your sugar and acid blend and stir REAL good to dissolve all..
you can re-take the tests if you want to check your accuracy. Remember that the temp. of
the must can throw your hydrometer reading off a little also.. so just get as close as you
can. White wines can be a little higher acid than reds, usually .70% to .75% tartaric.
will be quite nice..
Sugar and acid are right!! add your campden tablets (5) or
potassium metabisulphate (1/4 tsp.). Add your pectin enzyme and your grape tannin. Cover
the must with lid and place air lock, or use a plastic sheet or something to cover with
and leave in warm place for 24 hours.
After the 24 hours, stir in 2-3 tsp. of yeast nutrient, and sprinkle
your yeast on top. cover the must once again and let sit. In about 24-48 hours you
should see signs of froth on top and a lot of bubbling. Stir once a day and punch the
fruit bag or fruit down into the must. Make sure that what you stir with is sterilized.
Your must is now fermenting and will soon become wine. how good this wine turns out
depends largely on the type of fruit you are using, the acid level, temperature of
fermentation, and other uncontrolled phenomena. Once fermentation starts, keep it fairly
cool around 65 degrees is perfect, although it may need to be warmer in order get the
yeast going, but once it gets started the cool temps, will not phase it and a cool slow
fermentation is what we are aiming for here..
After 5 days remove the fruit, if its in a bag just take out the bag. If
its floating in the must, you can scoop it out with a strainer or something, or pour the
must through some cheese cloth that has been sterilized. after removing the pulp let the
must sit undisturbed for 3 days and then rack it to a clean secondary fermenter.(glass
carboy) Fit the carboy with a bung and an airlock. If you don't get a full carboy
full of wine you will need to top up the bottle so the liquid is up at least the bottom of
the neck. ALWAYS KEEP YOUR BOTTLES TOPPED UP. See tips page From
now on we want NO AIR to get to our wine.. Let the wine sit for 3 weeks to one month
undisturbed while its in its secondary fermentation stage. The wine should be completely
finished fermenting after this stage with a specific gravity reading of .998 or lower.
Once finished rack it off of the secondary settlement into a clean carboy. Add 2 1/2 tsp.
of potassium sorbate, 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. of potassium metabisulphate, and your finning agents
now (if you are going to fine your wine) Stir!!! Top up carboy if needed. Now for
the next 5 days, you need to de-gas your wine, this means stirring your wine for 3 minuets
long each time and do this 2 or 3 times a day for 5 days. (this is important for making a
quality wine) Once this is done leave wine to settle out the finning agent for about 10
days. Once wine has settled it should be crystal clear rack of the finning lee's to clean
carboy. The wine should be nice and clear, meaning you can see all the way
through the glass carboy (Unless its a deep red wine) Whites and light rose's will let you
see through the fermenter. if its not clear after a few months and you have racked it
good, and finned it then you may need to filter the wine. A lot of wine makers including
myself often filter anyway to clear the wine of all potential suspended particles that may
not have been cleared by the finning. Remember, you don't have to fine or filter your
wine, as they will usually clear nicely if given enough time. See my procedures page. for filtering and finning. and my Cellar page for a view of my filter setup. BUT if you want to avoid
settlement in your bottles then you will NEED to fine and filter your wine, or let it bulk
age for long enough to let EVERYTHING settle out. Your Choice. the aging needs to
be done anyway.. But can be a shorter time with finning and filtering which also helps
speed up the aging of wine!!
Alrighty then, if all has gone well your wine should be a few months old
now and it should be crystal clear. You can leave the wine an addition 2-3 months for
aging, as it ages much slower and BETTER in bulk, or you can go ahead and bottle it. If
you are ready to bottle, you should get a 7 gallon bucket that has a bottling spigot on
it. you can attach a length of tubing to the spigot and bottle it that way. You can also
get a spring loaded bottle filler from the supply shops that is invaluable at bottling
time. (only cost a couple of dollars) Anyway no matter how you bottle you should check
your acidity at this time and re-adjust to .60-65% tartaric if needed. Taste your wine, if
it is young and may be somewhat tart/astringent, or bitter if you have let it
ferment to dryness (no residual sugar) Young wines can be a little harsh but will smooth
out over time. Tartness, or harshness can be easily masked in a young wine by the
addition of a little sugar. I HIGHLY recommend sweetening fruit wines just a little
to bring out the fruitiness and wonderful fruity aromas. If you do sweeten I recommend
letting the wine sit a week before bottling, making sure its fully protected from air.
keep it under air-lock. You also will want to add about 1/2 campden tablet per gallon to
the must or some Ascorbic acid before bottling. This will help keep the wine from
oxidizing, and allow it to last long enough to age well in the bottle. once you bottle
your wine, cork it good and let stand upright for a few days, to allow the corks to seat
good. you can then lay them on their sides to keep the corks moist. let your wine sit for
at least 6 weeks before trying. Longer if no bulk aging was done. Wine goes into bottle
shock right after bottling and actually gets worse during this time, so allow sufficient
time for the wine to overcome this anomaly and begin to improve before you taste
Most fruit wines will be a little tart and harsh at first.. let them age
and add a little sweetness to mask this
Stir your wine good after the 2nd racking for 3-5 days in a row, or
several times in one day in 15 min increments, to release carbon dioxide.
Be patient, and only open wine to stir or add, stuff.. don't mess with
it to much.. it wont like it!!
Keep it cool... 65 degrees or colder.. this will help retain the
fruity aromas of your wine. Keep the light off your wine at all cost.. cool and dark
will make it very happy!!!
ALWAYS stabilize with potassium sorbate and add 1/4 tsp. of potassium
Metabisulphate or 3 campden when fermentation is finished (2rd Racking) and another 1/4
tsp. of potassium metabisulphate at bottling. (adding potassium sorbate with out adding
potassium metabisulphate could give geranium smells to your wine in the long run, so
always add PM when you add sorbate.)
Don't drink to much!! keep it in moderation, but do tastes your
wines monthly as they age, so will know when they are peaking, and can apply this
knowledge to future batches....
Note** at the stabilizing and
finning stage and after the 3-5 days of stirring, you can (and should) place your wine in
a COLD area around 22-32 degrees for 2 weeks or longer.. This will chill proof (cold
stabilize) your wine and reduce some of the tartaric acids. it will also eliminate the
acids from titrating out in the bottle when ever you put one in the fridge..Most all
commercial wineries do this, so that tartrate crystals don't form in the bottle when a
customer buys and chills a wine prior to drinking. (not totally necessary though) If your
acid level in your wine is o.k., then this step is not necessary. If you wine is over
acid, this is a good way to help lower the tartaric acid. most useful in red wines...
There you have it... you have made your first wine. Let it
age a good while as it will get better as time goes by. I think of wine as a living entity
(It is) and it is ever changing. Big reds are best at a year or two of aging
and whites are best at about 6 months to a year of aging (grape wines) fruit wines
are best bulk aged about 3-4 months and will peak probably about 6 months to a year after
bottling, but will last years if you added the ascorbic acid or the campden tablets prior
to bottling, and if your acid content is good. Remember to
keep a good balance of sugar, acid, .60-.65% tartaric and sulfur dioxide (campden tabs.)
and you will make a fine wine..... (Go easy on the acid blend with fruit wines, its
easy to over do it!!!) Good luck and let me know how it comes out!!!
One last thing!! Its o.k.
to talk to your wines....hehehe I do!!
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