How to Make Wine at Home
Making Wine at Home: A Guide to Getting StartedHow is wine made? Well, people have been making wine at home for millennia, and it is a craft that persists to this day. With some simple equipment, quality Wine Ingredients, and a little patience it's easy to make your own wine at home. In recent years advances in Wine Recipe Kit technology has made it easier than ever to make excellent top quality wine at home. There are wine kits to make wine styles and varieties from all over the world, so whatever your favorite wine, there is a kit to make it.
The Wine Equipment You Will Need to Get StartedThere's a plethora of equipment to choose from when starting out, but there are only a few key pieces you need to make wine. The easiest way to get started is by purchasing a Master Vintner Wine Making Kit. These wine equipment starter kits come with all the basic wine making equipment you will need for home wine making. Nearly all wine recipe kits make 6 gallons of wine, so we have designed our Master Vintner Wine Making kits to suit this volume. Below you will find a list of the basic equipment you need to make wine with any 6 gallon wine kit on the market:
- Primary Fermenter: most wine fermenters are 7-8 gallons in capacity. The most common version is a 7.9 Gallon Food Grade Bucket with a lid.
- Secondary Fermenter: often referred to as an aging vessel. These are usually either a 6 Gallon Glass Carboy or 6 Gallon Plastic Carboy.
- Siphon Equipment: usually consisting of an Auto Siphon or Racking Cane with 5-6 feet of Siphon Tubing.
- Airlocks: are used seal off your fermenter but allows the CO2 produced during fermentation to leave the fermenter, and not allow air back in.
- Rubber Stopper to fit the Carboy with the Airlock.
- Hydrometer to test the sugar levels and to track the progress of fermentation.
- 30 Wine Bottles and Wine Corks
- Wine Corker
Home Wine Making with Wine KitsAll the ingredients you need to make wine at home are included in the wine kit box with the grape juice concentrate. In every Wine Recipe Kit box you’ll find: a bag of varietal or blended grape juice concentrate, Wine Yeast, Bentonite, a clarifier or Fining Agents, Potassium Metabisulfite, Potassium Sorbate, and easy to follow instructions to guide you through the whole process. In red wine kits there will often be one or more packets of Oak Chips, and in specialty wine kits there may be other ingredients specific to that kit. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions with special ingredients. What follows is the general process for making a 6 gallon batch of wine with a wine recipe kit.
Primary FermentationGather all of your wine equipment into one place so you can find it when you need it. Clean and sanitize everything that will come into contact with the juice at any point. Start by adding 2 liters (one-half gallon) of hot water to the bottom of your sanitized primary fermenter. Then while stirring the water, slowly add the bentonite and mix until it’s fully dissolved. Pour the large bag of grape juice into the fermenter and bring the total volume up to 6 gallons (23 liters). Take a sample of the juice and measure the Specific Gravity, record this number for future reference. This number can range from 1.070 to 1.085 depending on your kit type. If your kit has any special ingredients you will mix them in at this point. Make sure the temperature of the juice is between 65º-75ºF, add the wine yeast, and secure the fermenter lid and airlock. Place the fermenter in an area that will have a consistent temperature of 65º-75ºF, and you should see fermentation activity in 24-48 hours.
Secondary FermentationAfter 5-7 days in the primary fermenter, draw a sample with a sanitized sampling tool, such as a Wine Thief, baster, or the outer tube of an Auto Siphon. Use your hydrometer to test the specific gravity of the sample, if it is below 1.010 rack (transfer with siphon) the wine into your sanitized 6 gallon carboy. If the wine is still above 1.010 wait a few days and recheck. Affix the rubber stopper and airlock, and store the wine in your fermentation area for 10 more days.
Wine Stabilizing and ClarifyingAfter 10 days repeat the sampling procedure, if the wine is at a specific gravity of 0.996 or less you are ready to start the last phase of the process. Mix the two packets of wine stabilizer with a ½ cup of cool water and add this mixture to your carboy full of wine. Stir the wine vigorously for 2 minutes taking care to mix all the sediment in the bottom of the carboy back into the wine. If your kit came with a smaller bag of liquid (called an F pack) add it before you add the clarifying agent packet. After all the other additions have been made, add the packet of clearing agent and stir the wine vigorously again for 2 minutes to drive off the CO2 created by fermentation. Once the foam settles down, top off the carboy with a similar style wine until the it is 2” below the stopper. Seal the carboy with bung and airlock, and let the wine clear for 14 days.
Wine BottlingAfter 14 days, or once the wine is clear, it’s time to bottle your wine. Clean and sanitize 30 wine bottles and your siphoning equipment and allow them to air dry. Fill each bottle to within 2” of the top of each wine bottle and use your wine corker to insert a wine cork. That’s it; you’re now a home wine maker!
Cheers, and enjoy your new hobby!