Winemaking Beginner's Guide
- Choose if you want to make wine from juice that you would buy, or if you are going to use your own grapes or fruit.
- It will be easier to make wine form juice that you would purchase from a winery or other reputable juice producers.
- DO NOT make wine from the Welch's Grape concentrate that you buy in stores.
- Making wine form grapes or other fruit will be much harder and take longer, you will also need more equipment to do so.
- Once you decide which you will do, and the recipe you wish to follow, you are ready to buy the materials that you will need.
Making Wine from Juice
- Put the juice into a clean carboy, add .5 grams per gallon of Potassium Metabisulfite.
- Check your sugar level with the hydrometer. You should be somewhere around 21 Brix or Balling. If not, add sugar to the wine until your hydrometer reads 21 Brix.
- If you are going to change the acid of a wine, now is the time to do this. Adding either Potassium Bicarbonate or Calcium Carbonate is used
to drop acid in wine. Where as Acid Blend or Citric Acid is added to raise acid in your wine. (If you buy juice, most of this should already be adjusted for you so this stem may be
- Add Pectic Enzyme to juice according to package for amounts.
- Add Yeast Nutrient to juice in recommended amount.
- Take the Yeast and get water (about 1/2 a cup per 5 gallon carboy) at about 100 degrees
Fahrenheit, mix the Yeast into the water along with 1/2 the package of Yeast Starter. Let stand for about 30 minutes to an hour then add to your juice. Put the airlock on carboy and fill the airlock 1/2 way with water.
- If the airlock does not bubble in 2 days or so, mix the juice up, this will help the fermentation process start.
- Once the airlock starts to bubble, this means that fermentation has started, monitor it very
carefully with your hydrometer to show progress.
- If any odd smells occur, like rotten eggs, agitate the wine in order to give some
oxygen to the Yeast, and add a little more DAP (Yeast Nutrient).
- When wine reaches between 8 and 13 Brix (Balling) add recommended dose of Fermaid or Yeast Energizer. It will foam so be careful!
- If your wine becomes very slow at fermentation and your Brix levels are above 0, then agitate it to help the fermentation along.
- Once your wine reaches -1 to 0 Brix, fermentation is about over. So go ahead and add some Potassium Metabisulfite, about 1/4 teaspoon per 5 gallons.
- Your wine should start to settle out at this time. When a good sediment layer has formed, rack the wine off.
- Now is the time to clarify your wine. In red wines you can use gelatin, sparkalloid, or small amounts of Bentonite. In whites, use both Bentonite and PVPP. In blushes, use the same amounts as reds. After adding recommended doses, add to wine and let stand for a few days, it should clear up even more. Rack the wine as necessary.
- Cold Stabilization - let your wine get to about 30 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 days, crystals will drop out. Filter after this is done.
- Finish your wine...if you are making a dry wine, then all you have to do is make sure that your wine is not fermenting, your sulfite levels are up, and it is as clear as you want it.
- If you are making a sweeter wine...
- You must add Potassium Sorbate, this is a preservative that will keep your wine from refermenting in the bottle. Add at 1 gram per gallon.
- Make sure that your sulfite levels are up.
- Add sugar to your taste.
- You are now ready to bottle.
Making Wine from Grapes
- Harvest your grapes.
- If you are making white wine...Press them off. Crush them up and let the juice drain off. Use cheese cloth or other semi-fine strainer to separate the juice form the grape skins and seeds. After this go back and follow the Making Wine From Juice starting with step 1.
- If you are making red wine...Crush up your grapes. Get a good sample of the juice without much pulp and skins and check your sugar, add sugar to reach about 21 Brix (Balling). Add .5 grams per gallon Potassium Metabisulfite. Add Yeast, Nutrients, Pectic Enzyme and other processes that you might be doing at this time. Let the wine ferment for up to two weeks on skins in a bucket or other open top container, mixing every day at least once. Strain off the skins and seeds to get just the fermenting juice. Remember this should take no longer than two weeks. Continue to step 3 in the Making Wine from Juice section. You can exclude steps 4,5,6,7 and 8.
- If you are making wine from grapes, odds are that you might have to play with the acid, this is an advanced step...The following is a brief overview.
- Acid Blend will raise the total acid by .1% by adding 3.5 grams per gallon.
- Potassium Bicarbonate will lower total acid by .1% by adding 3.4 grams per gallon.
- Calcium Carbonate will lower total acid by .1% by adding 2.5 grams per gallon.
You CAN NOT change the acid by more than .3%!!!
- Clean bottles with Potassium Metabisulfite mixed in water, 2 tablespoons per gallon of water.
- Clean corks with Meta water (same as above)
- Clean anything else that is going to be touching the wine with the Meta water, funnels, etc...
- Put wine into bottles, and put a cork in.