You have your grape juice, so sterilize your primary fermenter, and all
other equipment you will be using on this day. I highly recommend using a 6 gallon glass
carboy for the primary (they suggest a plastic bucket fermenter). add your juice to the
carboy. most kits tell your to add 1.8 imperial liters of water to the juice. I DO NOT. I
add 1.5 U.S. gallons of water to the juice, this will give you a total volume of about 5
1/2 gallons of wine. This will allow you to make a fuller bodied, fuller tasting wine,
with a deeper rich color. After racking several times your final wine volume will be about
Add 1/2 tsp. addition grape tannin to the must. (Important!! If using
oak chips then don't add this, because you may end up with an over tannic wine, thats a
Add 1 tsp. yeast nutrient. You may not need this as the juice my have
sufficient amounts, but this will help the yeast work harder and help insure finishing
with a dry wine.
Take a hydrometer reading should be 1.092 and acid reading, this should
be .68 % tartaric. These will vary some, but with the amount of water added this is
usually what I get. if you add the amount of water specified by the juice maker your S.G.
and acid will be lower and you may of have to ameliorate your wine with some sugar and
Some kits provide oak chips with the juice, so add this at day 1
remember that oak will also impart some tannins to your wine so dont add any of the
tannin in the above step.(you can add later if you feel it needs more) once the water and
oak (if using, I recommend it) are added, stir the must good to get the oak wet and
settling into the top of the wine, then add your yeast to the top of the carboy. (Lalvin
EC-1118) fit with a bung and airlock. If your using a 6 gallon carboy as I recommend, you
will have about 1/2 gallon of air space in the top, this will be sufficient for the
foaming that is about to occur. I ferment all my wines at a constant 66 degrees. I
recommend storing your wine where it will not exceed 70 degrees. a cool slow ferment will
enhance the flavors of your wine!!!
Day 2 - Check on must should be foaming nicely by
Day 3 - Remove bung and airlock, and give your
wine a gentle stirring on the lees. stir for about 1 minuet. remember to sterilize
stirring rod! replace bung and airlock.
Day 4 - Nothing, check it.
Day 5 - Nothing, check it.
Day 6 - Nothing, the juice maker recommends racking on
this day, but giving it an extra day will allow the S.G. to drop a little more and give
another day of oaking to the must. ferment will be less active by now. Oak will be mostly
settled to the bottom of the carboy by now.
You will be racking to a 5 gallon carboy from a 6 gallon carboy with 5
1/2 gallons of must in it. This should fill your secondary nicely without the need for
topping up. (see why I do it this way!!) It will also leave a
little extra, you should put this in a small glass bottle for topping up with after the
next racking. Sterilize your secondary fermenter, your racking cane, and racking tubes. Do
a hydrometer test. it will be right at about 1.020. This is what we want!! Acid should
still be right although a little lower, don't worry about this right now. I don't usually
do an acid test at this stage. If you do and its a little low, that's fine you can correct
this later, or add a little acid blend.
Now rack your wine to the secondary keeping the racking tube below the
level of wine in the receiving carboy. get as much as you can in the secondary, but leave
the oak chips behind as they will have settled to the bottom by now. You will get some in
the secondary and they may clog up the hose if your not careful. but with some attention
you can avoid most all of the oak chips. You can rack through a funnel with a screen in it
if you want to. fill the carboy into the neck, leave a couple inches space, as most of the
foaming should be done by now and will not cause a problem. Replace bung and airlock. Talk
to it a minuet. Use a bacterial killer cleaning solution such as formula 409 to clean the
outside of the glass carboy, or even a glass cleaner is better than nothing. I keep the
outside of all my glass fermenters CLEAN at all times, its better to avoid bacteria
infection, rather than trying to fix one.
Day 8 - Day 30, Nothing just check on it and keep the
temperature as low as possible, at this point even 55 degrees will be GOOD for your wine.
it will slow the last of the fermentation process down and aid in settlement, as well as
allowing the now wine to retain its varetial and fruity bouquet.
Day 31, or ther about..
Wine should be finished. If it is not and is still bubbling let the wine
finish before continuing. If it is finished, You can now do a second racking. Make sure
you let your wine finish working before racking, we are aiming for about .990 -.995
specific gravity reading. (you may still see small bubbles but with a low S.G. reading the
wine is pretty much done and can be racked) This is a dry wine, but can be sweetened
back up before bottling. I like most of my fruit wines at about 1.001 S.G. and grape
whites at about the same. A grape red wine can be a little dryer and still be to my
liking. This is a matter of taste and you will learn where to finish your wines at.
Sterilize all the equipment, and rack your wine. leave a little space in
the top of the carboy (about 6" or so) if you had some extra from the previous
racking, just leave that as is for now, making sure its under air lock.
Your kit will usually contain stabilizer and finning agents. This is the
time to add them. Also 1/8 tsp. of potassium metabisulphite should be added at this
time, if your kit does not contain it..(It should).On occasion with red wines I don't add
the finning agents, but I do add the stabilizer. either way if you want to fine and have a
clear wine much sooner, add it now along with stabilizer. I would dissolve these in some
of the wine first and then stir them in REAL GOOD. If you have gelatin or clairo KC you
can just pour it in, if its bentonite dissolve it first. Your kit should provide
instructions on this procedure. Stir!!!
This additional step is important and should be done to most all wines.
Once the stabilizers and fining agents are in you need to de-gas your wine. This will help
remove all the carbon dioxide from the liquid. You do this for the next few days after
adding your stabilizer and clearing agents. This is done by stirring the wine real
good for 3 minuets 2 times a day for 3 days. You can also complete de-gassing in one day
by stirring for a few mins, waiting 15 min. and then stir again, repeating this several
times.Once this step is complete you stop stirring and let the fining agents do their job.
Top up carboy up into the neck with any extra wine, or boiled cooled water. If you desire
to sweeten you can add a little sugar when boiling the water and use that to top up with.
be careful not to sweeten to much, as more sugar can be added later if desired and it
usually better to wait to just before bottling to sweeten.
Your wine should have settled out by now and should be clear. You will
see the fining settlement in the bottom of the carboy. Rack the wine off the lees. If its
not REAL clear leave a few extra days and keep it COOL. Make sure carboy is topped up and
then replace bung and airlock.
According to most wine kit instructions at this point your wine is
finished and can be bottled. I recommend letting the wine age now for AT LEAST 6 months, 8
months to a year will be better. This is one of the hardest things a good wine maker has
to endure. If extended aging in bulk you will want to rack in a again in a few months. The
wine will be good now, but will be EXCELLENT in 1 year from now. You can also filter your
wine now if desired. I recommend a 1 micron filter for reds, and a 1 or .5 micron
filter for whites. If the filter is to fine it will strip your wine of body and some color
as well. some vintners use only a 5 micron filter for reds, I find this is to large rating
for filtering, and will leave to much in the wine, which will eventually settle out in the
If you have followed this procedure, and you started
with a quality wine kit, you will have a FINE wine now. There is nothing left to do but
let it age preferably in bulk, for AT-LEAST 6 months, but at least in the bottle for a
good while. These wines can be very complex with a wonderful bouquet, and nice
color. Remember prior to bottling add 1/8 tsp. of
potassium metabisulphite or 3-4 campden tablets to help preserve your wine. Also test for
acid levels and adjust these to about .60-.65% tartaric.
This Alternative Method:
Viola!! You Have Done It!!!
Wine Links | Procedures | Fruit
Recipe's | Tips | Equipment
This is the way I make
my own kit wines:
On or about 1 month after the start of fermentation, and after the second
racking I do not add finning substances. I stabilize with potassium sorbate and potassium
metabisulphite, and then de-gas over the next several days. Once the de-gassing is
finished I let the wine age in bulk and settle out on its own. I don't use finings because
for one thing if you are aging for awhile the wine will settle out with out the use of
them. I rack 2-3 more times over the next 6-8 months and then adjust final acidity,
add a little more metabisulphite (25-30 PPM) just before bottling. I give the wine time in
the bottle to overcome bottle shock, and then its open house on drinking and sampling the
wine. The wine will continue to improve over the next several years..........