Here is a generic guide to show you how easy it is to make wine at home from our 30 bottle wine kits (instructions are similar for 6 bottle kits). Each kit comes with its own specific instructions designed to ensure you get the best out of each different product. It is best to follow the makers instructions until you have completed a few kits and are confident to experiment by varying the process or ingredients yourself. After selecting one of our kits, you will also require...
GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR WINE KITS
1. Firstly you need to clean and sterilise your fermenting bin (fermenter), your stirrer (spoon) and your Hydrometer. Mix your sterilising solution according to the instructions on the pack. It is usual place all your equipment in the fermenter with the solution and sterilise it all at the same time. After 10 to 15 minutes in the solution, empty the solution and thoroughly rinse the equipment to remove all traces of sterilising solution.
2. Unfasten the bag of wine concentrate and empty into your sterilised fermenting bin, rinsing out the residue into the fermenter, with a little warm water.
3. Where sugar is called for, add this at this stage, the quantity varying according to the particular kit. Add 3 litres of hot water and stir the mix using the sterilised spoon to ensure the concentrate is completely dissolved.
4. Top up the fermenter with cold water to make 23 litres (5 gallons) and stir to ensure an even mix. If you have a thermometer, check the temperature to ensure it is between 18°C and 25°C and using the sterilised hydrometer, take a reading and note the Specific Gravity (SG). See How to Read a Hydrometer.
5. Open the yeast sachet and sprinkle the yeast directly across the top of the wine, without stirring it in. You may also have some other additives to put into the wine at this stage, depending upon the requirements of the particular kit.
6. Put the lid on the fermenter with the bung and airlock, filling the airlock half way with clean water and place it in a room with a reasonably constant temperature, ideally between 20°C and 25°C. Fermentation will get under way within 24 hours, but you should leave the wine to ferment for between 10 and 15 days. A better quality wine can result from keeping the temperature consistently nearer the 20°C level.
7. At the end of initial fermentation, any flavouring can be added followed by stirring and leaving for an hour. Add any stabilising sachet to the wine and shake/stir well for 30 seconds. In order to reduce the amount of sediment, you can now rack the wine by transferring to a second sterilised fermenter, using the syphon tube and avoiding as much sediment as possible. If you agitate the wine several times you will release carbon dioxide gas to help improve the clarity of the wine.
8. Once your wine has cleared, siphon into clean and sterilised wine bottles leaving a gap of about 4 cm (1 1/2") at the top. Cork the bottle and apply your shrink caps and labels before placing in a cool dry store for at least 2 to 3 few weeks – the longer the wine is kept, the better it will taste.