This is by far the simplest way to make your own wine and from just over a £1.00 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 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 to 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 25-35ºC (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 one hour 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 for syphoning the wine at the end to remove the yeast, you will need a syphon. A second large bucket is very helpful as well. (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?
A heat pad is also very handy for the winter months or if you don't have anywhere to keep the temperature reasonably constant.
What about the ingredient kits?
The 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 for each type of grape used.
The Beaverdale range produce an exceptional wine using a slower fermentation cycle and longer clearing time. These kits go through the same process as the Cantina Range but by using a different yeast strain they take longer to ferment and clear taking approx 5 weeks to get to the drinking stage.
The 7 day wine making kits from Solomon Grundy contain a range of commercial and fruit table wines in 6 bottle and 30 bottle packs. Start the fermentation on day 1, it’s finished by Day 5, and cleared and ready to drink by Day 7. The range contains all the classics such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay and several others.
These wine kits 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 years of experience with yeasts and clearing agents, plus blending of grape varieties. It's then concentrated and packaged for you to do the very last bit... the fermenting and bottling, which is the easy bit.
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