Making Wine From Kits
Making wine from kits is the easiest way to jump into winemaking. RJ Spagnols and WineExpert are the two largest winekit manufactuers. Their kits have been refined over a 50 year period. The kits start with exception juice from some of the world's best vineyards. The juices are then carefully blended and adjusted so that when purchased by the consumer they are nearly fool-proof. Follow the directions. Use proper cleaning and sanitization practices and good clean water and you will have an amazing wine.
Each kit contains a bag of varietal juices and all of the additives and fining agents in premeasured packages. The juice has been packed in a sterile container with the air removed. Some of the premium kits also contain grape skins and oak products to impart an aged flavor and well rounded body.
What are the steps involved?
1. Sanitize your equipoment.
2. Mix together the ingredients.
- Sprinkle the package of bentonite enclosed with all of our kits into the amount of warm water specified in the instructions.
- Pour the bag of juice into the bucket.
- Add additional clean water - bottled spring water without clorine is a good choice. The temperature of the must for most kits should be 72 - 77 F.
3. Test the must with your hydrometer.
4. Aerate the must with a spoon or a Mix-Stir if you have one. You will want the must to become good and foamy with air. Aerating the must adds oxygen and helps the yeast get off to a good start.
5. Sprinkle the yeast onto the surface of the must.
6. Place the lid on, insert the airlock (properly filled with sanitizer) and place the fermentation bucket in an area which maintains a temperature between 68 - 77 degrees.
7. For most kits, the primary fermentation will be complete when the specific gravity on the hydrometer is 1.0.0 or lower. Follow the instructions in your kit.
The next portion of the process is entirely dependent on the individual wine kit. Most instructions will require you to siphon the wine from the fermentation bucket to a clean and sanitized carboy. Use your sanitized auto-siphon to complete this task. Be careful not to disturbe the sediment on the bottom.
Once you have transferred all of the wine into the carboy check the head space. You will want your wine up to the neck. If it is not top off within 2 inches of the bottom of the airlock with either boiled water or a similar wine.
Stablizing and Clearing
All kits include stablizing and clearing additives. Some kits (like the Island Mist and Orchard Breezin Kits) include a flavor package.
It is usually easier to add the additives if you first remove a cup of wine. Place the wine in a sanitized cup. You will also want to record a final gravity at this time.
1. Add the package of potassium metabisulfite and sorbate to 1/2 cup of the wine you removed. Stir to dissolve. Add the mixture to the carboy and stir really well.
2. Pour the clarifiers directly into the carboy. Our kits typically come with the Super-Kleer two step kit. Add the contents of package A first. Stir really really well and wait for an hour. Then add the contents of package B and stir.
3. Replace the airlock and bung.
4. Twice daily for the next three days stir your wine vigorously to de-gass.
The instructions in the kit will tell you when it is time to bottle.