MAKE YOUR OWN WINE …
This is by far the simplest way to make your own wine and from around £1.00 – £1.50 a bottle it will save a fortune on your supermarket spending.
Wine making kits have come a long way over the last 10 years. You can now make your own commercial quality grape wine at home thanks to new developments in fermentation technology such as new yeast strains and yeast nutrients and also thanks to the much improved quality of concentrated varietal grape juices. I have found the 7 day wine kits are so easy to make and produce such fantastic results every time that these are the only ones I currently stock.
There are specialised recipes for varietal kits, using grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio in order to achieve home made wines very close if not better than the commercial equivalents.
A wine kit recipe – how does it work?
To put it simply, these kits have taken the grape stomping out of the process. They use concentrated ‘grape must’ (the grape juice has had the water removed to make shipping easier) and also include a very reliable dried yeast strain to make sure your fermentation works the same way every time, always producing a top notch result.
The short version of how to make wine from a kit is:
- Dilute the concentrated grape juice with water in a sterilised fermenter
- Add the yeast
- Wait while it ferments at approx 25-39ºC (4 days to 2 weeks depending on the type of kit and temperature)
- Briskly stir up the fermented wine to remove the remaining CO2 gas
- Add stabiliser and clearing agent to finish and clear the wine (normally 24 hours)
- Bottle the wine (or transfer to a bag-in-box)
This will only take approx 1 – 1.5 hours of your time for the complete process!
The wine is very much drinkable at the point of bottling though it will improve with age (I’d give it a week or two if you can control yourself)
What equipment is required?
Well, you need a fermentation vessel of course, with an airlock, something capable of holding the full size of the kit, typically 23 litres. Remember you also need some headspace, so the best choice is a large (25-33 litre) bucket or fermenter.
It is very practical to have a hydrometer (shows you when fermentation is complete), a mixing spoon or paddle and a stick-on thermometer for the fermenter is handy.
You’ll need a syphon hose, tap and sediment trap to bottle your finished wine once it’s clear.(Check out our wine starter kit)
Finally you will need either bottles, corks and a good corker, or collect up to 30 used but clean screw top wine bottles. Alternatively you can store and pour your wine from a bag-in-box with tap or other suitable airtight container.
What other equipment can I get?
The 5 & 7 day kits require a higher fermentation temperature so by using a heat belt or similar heating system you will ensure full fermentation in the stated time. It uses only 30W of power so can be left running throughout. Especially handy for the winter months.
What about the ingredient kits?
Solomon Grundy 7 Day Wine Kits Started on Monday – Drunk by Sunday. These kits contain concentrated grape juice, Wine Yeast, Stabiliser and Finings. Only water to add. Solomon Grundy was the FIRST 7 day wine kit in the UK. The original range was released in 1995 and quickly established it’s self as one of the most popular wine kits ever seen on the market to date.
Start the fermentation on day 1, it’s finished by Day 5, and cleared and ready to drink by Day 7.
These wine kits all use the same ingredients you’ll find in commercial wines, though all the hard work has been done for you. ie the growing and harvesting of the grapes, the crushing and extracting of the juice, the specialised blending of various grape varieties.
Not to mention the years of experience with yeasts and clearing agents. It’s all then concentrated and packaged for you to do the very last bit… which is the easy bit … fermenting, bottling and drinking!
That stage is when the government excise tax is normally applied ie: Once it has become alcohol! (about £1.90 a bottle in the UK)