Thursday, October 05, 2006
I'm not a great fan of making wine with kits. I think it is because I'm basically too cheap or maybe it is because I want to do it "The Old World" way. Like telling time by the position of the sun. How many of use do that?
Wine kits do have their advantages. For a person just starting out they provide a very easy way to get into the hobby. For the more experienced winemakers, they can save time. Overall, they are easy to use and usually pretty fool-proof.
Here are a few tips to use when making wine from a kit.
Read the instructions - Different kits have different instructions as to when to add things or the manufacturer has found a better way.
Cleanliness - Hey you drink this stuff, so if your equipment is full of crud, your wine will be full of crud.
Write it down - keeping track of your wine allows you to see how you made great wine or lousy wine. I generally write down the ingredients, the date started, original gravity, when racked etc.
Keep fermenters full - Pretty much a no-brainer. Don't put 3 gallons of wine in a 5 gallon carboy and allow tons of space. That will generally cause oxidation and make a very bad wine. You can either fill your fermenter with water or I use a watered down peach wine to fill most of my fermenters.
Stir well - Juice concentrate and water need to be blend very well. So stir like crazy and make sure it is thoroughly mixed.
Control temperature - Make sure that the temperature where your wine is fermenting is between 68 - 72 degrees F. Also, try and keep it from doing to extremes. ie from 60 to 80 in a matter of a few hours.
Time - Take your time. Most kits will be ready to bottle in 1 to 2 months but the wine should age for at least 6 months.
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