Starter Wine Making

Wine bottles and glasses

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. The 5 and 7 day wine kits are easy to make and produce fantastic results every time with very little effort.

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.

The Cantina range use raw materials that are carefully selected mainly from Italy due to the high quality of the concentrates from the northern regions such as Veneto and Tuscany, where you will find all the classical grape types.

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)
  • Remove the yeast by racking off wine into a second container using a syphon
  • Add stabiliser and clearing agent to finish and clear the wine (1 day to 3 weeks depending on the type of kit)
  • Bottle the wine (or transfer to a bag-in-box)

This will only take approx 1 - 1 1/2 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, 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 over), a mixing spoon or paddle, a stick on thermometer for the fermenter is handy.

Then a syphon to transfer (rack off) the wine to a second fermenter or suitable container to separate the wine from the yeast and for adding the stabiliser and clearing agent.

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(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 the heat pad 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?

11010The Cantina 5 Day Wine Kits have been developed to utilise fast fermentation without losing any of the original grape qualities. Something that comes down ultimately to years of wine making research and development with special focus on the interaction between yeast strains and the particular nutrition required for each type of grape used.

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.
beaverdalebox 500x500The Beaverdale range produce an exceptional wine using a slower fermentation cycle and longer clearing time. These kits go through the same process as above but by using a different yeast strain they take longer to ferment and clear taking approx 4-6 weeks to get to the drinking stage.
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)

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