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Making Your Own Wine - Part 3

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The is the third part of a 4 post series on making your own wine.
 
In the first post, we dealt with getting your must ready to be tested for sugar and acidity.  The second post dealt with testing for sugar and acidity.  This part will describe all the other things that go into your wine so that it can ferment properly.
 
One thing that almost all wine needs to get it going is yeast nutrient.  This acts as a jump starter to get the yeast cells motivated to turn the sugar into alcohol.  You don't need to use a lot of this so follow the directions on the label for dosage .
 
 
For wines other than grape wines, you usually have to add a little grape tannin to your must.  I generally only use 1/8 of a teaspoon per gallon.  If you are in a pinch you can use raisins instead of grape tannin.  A handful of raisins per gallon should be enough.
 
                                                 
 
Certain types of fruit will require you to add pectin enzyme to your must.  This breaks down any pectin that is in your wine.  Pectin in your wine makes it very difficult to fine and clarify.  So, for things like peach wine, strawberry wine, apple, wine, etc, use the pectin enzyme.
 
   Campden Tablets
 
Campden tablets or sulphur dioxide is the last thing that you add to your must before adding the yeast.  This will help to sterilize the must and kill any wild yeast cells that are hanging around.  Generally, most people will tell you to add 2 tablets per gallon of must.  Personally, I use about 1.5 tablets to a gallon before the fermentation, 1 tablet per gallon on the second racking and for the last racking prior to bottling.
 
After these items have been added to your must, leave the must alone for at least 24 hours.  Do not add yeast until the after 24 hours because the capmden tablets will kill it if added now.
 
Last item to add is the yeast.  There are quite a few different yeasts out there, but they fall into 2 categories, dry or liquid.  With the liquid variety, you are able to make more style specific wines.  Personally, I use the dry wine yeast because it is a lot cheaper and because most of my wines are fruit wines.  The 2 major dry yeast companies are Red Star and Lavlin.  I prefer the Lavlin yeast since it seems to make a smoother wine than the Red Star.
 
                                  
 
At this point your ready to make wine.  The last post will talk about fermenting, racking and bottling your wine.
 

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