Brew Your Own, Part 1 (Making wine with a wine kit)

wine kitsWe’ve been making our own homebrew wine here at BuzzQuack for years now. Our first batch was terrible! Terrible!! We affectingly refer to it as prison wine—meaning, it wouldn’t have tasted worse if we made it with our own…bodily fluids.

Though terrible, it was wine.  And that was good enough to light a fire under our wine desire!  So, we upped our game and bought some proper equipment and invested in some decent wine must.

We mostly make wine from kits. It’s easy.

Where can you buy wine kits? Your local homebrew shop or online (but online kits may incur high shipping costs).

How much does it cost to brew your own? About $2.50 per bottle excluding basic equipment.

How does it taste? Great.

How to make wine from a kit? Easy! Let’s go!

Each kit will come with very specific instructions. You should read them several times before getting started. Make sure you give yourself enough time to work on your wine and keep a schedule handy. You need to do certain things at certain time intervals. Keep track of where you are and schedule time on important dates.

Follow your instructions carefully as they will differ a little depending on your wine. Keep in mind that everything must be sterilized. It is easy if you use a one-step sterilizing solution that is easily found online or in a homebrew show.

But the basic routine (but keep in mine, this is woefully reductive) is this:

You will add your wine must, filtered water, bentonite, and yeast into a 6-gallon, food safe bucket–stirring at specific intervals.  The is the primary fermentation bucket.

After 5 to 7 days, you will siphon the wine into a 6-gallon carboy (a large jar with a narrow neck). This step begins the secondary fermentation process. The wine will sit for another 10 days.

After 10 days, the specific gravity should be about 0.996 or less. Personally, we no longer bother checking specific gravity, but many people do. Metabisulfites and sorbate are stirred into the wine as the CO2 is driven off. Then, Chitosan or isinglass clarifier are stirred into he wine to continue to degas and begins the clarification process. The wine sill sit for another 8 days to clear.

When the 8 days have passed, the wine can be siphoned into another carboy for  28 dasy to finish clarifying. This is not necessary, but it does make for a beautifully cleared wine. If you bottle cloudy wine, it will not ruin the wine, but it will always be cloudy in the bottle.

Finally, it is time to bottle. After sanitizing 30 wine bottles, the wine can be siphoned into the bottled, corked (using  a corker), and stored standing upright for 3 days. After 3 days, the bottles can be stored on their sides.

What’s your favorite kit wine? We’re always ready to try something new!

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