DIY Homebrew Wine
Introduction To Wine Making
The most enjoyable part of drinking wine is knowing you have brewed it yourself. I am going to show you how easy it really is to make you own wine at home.
A wine kit is simply a box that contains all the necessary ingredients to make wine, so in the box you will find :
- Grape Juice
- Bentonite (helps to clear your wine)
- Metabisulphite (preservative)
- Sorbate (stops further fermentation)
- Fining Agent (To clear your wine)
- Oak Chippings (only in some wines)
Wine Kits vs Your Own Recipe
Wine kits are a great way to start when your in the learning stage, they come with full instructions and all the ingredients you need and the quality can be exceptional, as a wine maker at some point you may want to move into
making your wine from fresh grapes, this will give you full control, you will need other equipment for example a fruit press to extract the juice and all the additives, Kit wine has all the additives pre measured out for you, making the job easy, It all depends how far you want to go with your new hobby, I am still at the Kit stage will i move to the next level ? who knows. my advice would be to find a wine maker that can show you the full process as its complicated at the start this way you can limit any mistakes. There are hundreds of blog articles on the subject for you to have a look at, stick with kit wine to start off and see how you enjoy it.
Wine Making Equipment
Your going to need some equipment to make your wine, you can buy this in kit form or you can buy it individually or what i did when i first started second hand, if i had my time over again i think i would go for a wine making kit as
you will get everything that you need to get you going and are well priced, look for your local home-brew store and have a chat with the owner, I’m sure they will have equipment kits you can buy or they will put one together for you. Lets not forget about the internet is a good place to buy equipment as most of the stores sell online and this gives you the opportunity to shop about for the best prices, just watch out for delivery charges. Your also going to need to bottle your finished wine, Wine bottles can be bought from all homebrew stores, you can either cork your bottles (my preferred choice) or use the new screw on caps, these new screw on caps allow you to use standard 30mm wine bottles with a threaded top. TIP if your get on with the owner of your local Bar ask them for there used wine bottles….
In my opinion Fermentation temperature is important for example wineworks Malbec wine that I’ve just made tells you to keep the temperature between 22 & 24 degrees during fermentation, don’t worry to much but find a spot in your property with a stable temperature and you should be fine, you can buy equipment to help you with this problem and it wont cost you the earth either, heat pads, heated belt, fish tank heaters and DIY brew fridge. these will all do the job, you can connect all these to an optional thermostat so you can set the desired temperature. A brew fridge is the best option, sound expensive ! there not i bought a second hand fridge from Ebay for £20 and the other bits to complete this very easy DIY job cost me another £30 so for approximately £50 you can make you own, theres a great article on how to make one by Berrybrew click here
I cant stress this enough Clean, Clean, Clean this is the biggest reason for wine failure, everything that comes in contact with your wine needs to be sanitised, there are many products out there, my favourite product is called star san. Star San is an acid-based no-rinse sanitizer that is easy to use. Made from food-grade phosphoric acid, safe for people and the environment. Star San is self-foaming, which helps it to penetrate cracks and crevices, using this product will give you the best chance to keep all your equipment as clean as you can, i have used other cleaners and most are effective i just find star san easier to use. sanitising wine bottles can be a pain, there are devises out there to make this process easier, its a simple spring loaded contraption that squirts the star san into your bottle where you can then let it drain out very easy. Amazon sell a range of these.
What is an hydrometer, Its a simple way of measuring the alcohol content (specific Gravity)and helps you to tell if the fermentation process has finished, measuring the sugar content, its made from blown glass and floats in the wine there is a readable scale on the meter, as the yeast turn the sugar into alcohol the hydrometer floats lower because the wine becomes lighter. So basically you take a measurement at the start of fermentation this them measures the sugar content, and then take another reading when the fermentation is finished and because the yeast has turned all the sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide your hydrometer will float lower and a calculation can be made. I will post a video to explain more on this subject, Another point you don’t have to take any readings its not mandatory, I will admit to forgetting to take a reading at the start and i just leave my wine another week or so to guarantee the fermentation has finished and have had no problems.
Degas Your Wine
During the fermentation process the years turns the sugars in your wine to alcohol and carbon dioxide gas, this gas has to be got rid of and the way to do this is to vigorously stir your wine or an easier way is to buy a wine whip that you attach to a battery drill you can then whip your wine at high speed this then forces the carbon dioxide out. why do we do this ? well if you dont when you bottle your wine you may find the excess gas could push the corks out of the bottle and you can also find on drinking your wine you can find off flavours and a fizziness when drinking (we don’t want that) your wine kit instructions will advise you on this action. its not difficult and over time will become second nature.
So there you go a brief introduction to the equipment your going to need, if its something you have been thinking about, give it a go you will not be disappointed at the results and its fun, you will be amazed at the quality, some of my red wines are fantastic. You will find the longer you can keep it in the bottles the better the wine will be, yes you can drink it young but after 6 months in the bottle the wine matures and gets better (if you can wait that long) you can make your own bottle labels and give it away as presents (or keep it for yourself) Look out for my other post on wine making from kits and feel free to ask a question, if i can help i will.