Winemaking from kits
There are many different types of winemaking kit you can buy, some are relatively cheap and all are easy to make. The quality of the wine made from kits does vary as does the price. This page will give you basic instructions on using these kits and the equipment needed. I have made some really good quality cheap wine for a fraction of the price of supermarket prices. I can guarantee that when you do make your own wine you will be pleasantly surprised with the results.
The equipment required to make wine from a kit is exactly the same as you would need for beer, this is shown in detail on the basic equipment page. Kits come in two sizes, six and thirty bottle kits. The beer fermenter bucket can be used when a thirty bottle kit is being made. If you wish to start with a smaller six bottle kit there is a cheap fermenter you can use. You can buy a five litre water bottle from the supermarket for around 90 pence. The plastic container makes a great fermenter. The only modification you have to do is drill a hole in the cap to accomodate the airlock. You can buy 2 as the wine can be placed in the second container to clear.
The method for making wine is very similar to brewing beer with a couple of steps removed and a couple added. The main difference with wine making is that there is no secondary fermentation, as the wine does not need to be carbonated. The added steps are additives that are used to stop the wine fermenting and the finings used to clear the wine after fermentation.
The first step to making wine is to sterilise everything that is going to come into contact with the wine, this is explained on the sterilise page. Once everything is sterilised we can start the process of making wine. The next steps do depend on what type of kit you are making.Some kits are made from concentrated grape juice and have to be mixed with water, other kits are made using a large bladder full of pure grape juice.
The next step is to put the grape juice into the sterilised fermenter, or mix the grape juice concentrate with hot water in the fermenter. Different kits have different methods of mixing and different ingredients. Some kits require some extra fermentable sugar to be added, such as dextrose at this point. The fermenter is then topped up to the required level and the required temperature, again this varies from one kit to another. The yeast packet is then sprinkled into the fermenter and the must (unfermented wine) is then left to ferment at the required temperature usually between 20°c and 25°c. For more details on fermentation check the fermentation page,
Once fermentation has finished, and bubbles have stopped coming through the air lock a hydrometer reading should be taken. The kit instructions will specify the reading that is required. At this point a stabiliser is added to the wine to stop fermentation. A fining agent is also added to help clear the wine. The wine is then left in a cooler area to clear (between 7 and 14 days). Depending on the kit and the taste a sweetener can be added to taste at this point. The wine can then be bottled. I usually use recycled screw top bottles for my wine. The wine should then be left to condition.
The final step is to drink and enjoy he fruits of your labour. Kits vary greatly on the method of making and this page is just an overview, to illustrate how easy it can be to make wine. Most kits have detailed instructions which are very easy to follow. Check the menu at the top right of this page for reviews of various wine kits.