Wines From Concentrates

Making great wines has become quite easy. With new techiques in processing varietal wine grape juices, the finished products from kit wines are as good or better than commercial wines. They are also lower in sulfite which make them healthier. But one of the biggest selling points about these wines is the cost. Starting at $75 and one months time, you can create 30 bottles of wine. That makes your wine $2.50 per bottle.

The kits include everything you need for your wine. A typical kit has a large bag of grape concentrate, yeast, clarifiers for primary and secondary fermenters, sodium bisulfite and potassium sorbate as preservatives. Some kits include extra juice to add prior to bottling to make a sweeter wine. Other kits may include oak chips for a casked condition flavor.

1. 8 Gal. Fermenting Bucket 2. 6 Gal. Carboy 3. Airlock 4. Stopper 5. Racking Cane 6. Racking Tube 7. Bottle Filler 8. Hydrometer 9. Stick on Thermometer 10. Wine Thief 11. Wine Corker 12. Corks (#8 bag of 100) 13. Hydrometer Jar 14. 4oz Star San 15. Mix-Stir Degassing Wand

Kit Price $120.00 ($139 w/ Glass Carboy)

Putting together your wine:

Below are general directions for doing concentrate wines. Each kit comes with specific instructions that you will follow.

When you open your kit you'll find everything prepackaged and numbered according to the steps you take. As you need it, sanitize your equipment with 1oz of Star San per 5 gallons of water. Let sit 2 minutes, no need to rinse foam.

1. The first step is preparing a clarifier, Bentonite, in your 8 gal bucket. Slowly mix the package of Bentonite with 1/2 gal of water. Bentonite is clay. If you add it all at once, it balls up, settles on the bottom and does no good. Add small amounts as you stir for the best results. This is a little backwards for most wine makers because clearing your wine is usually one of the last steps. These kits boast that the wine can be bottled in one month. To hurry the process, clarifiers are used at each stage.

2. Add the juice concentrate to the bucket. Rinse the bag with warm water to get out all the juice. Fill the bucket with water to make 6 gallons. You want the water temperature to be about 70ยบ. Use the thermometer to test. Stir the bucket contents and use your hydrometer to measure for sugar content. It should read between 1.070 to 1.080. Sprinkle the yeast in the bucket. Cover the bucket with the lid and attach the airlock and stopper in the lid hole. Remove the airlock cap and fill half way with water. This allows C02 to escape during fermentation and keeps bugs and bacteria out. The yeast will start fermenting the wine in about 24 hours. Keep the wine at room temperature.

3. You can take daily hydrometer readings. After 14 days the hydrometer should read around 1.000 or below. It is now ready to transfer into the 6 gal bottle.

To Syphon:

Attach the racking tube to the cane. The racking cane tip the prevents drawing sediment while syphoning. Fill the tubes with water. Pinch the tube while placing the racking cane in the bucket. Lower the racking tube end below the bucket. Release the tube to start the flow. Discard the water in the tubes, when the wine comes out place the tube into the 6 gal glass bottle. Prevent overexposure to air by not splashing the wine.

Attach the airlock and stopper to the 6 gal bottle.

4. At this point the wine is finished fermenting. Now you will add a second clarifier and preservatives. Remove the airlock and stopper. Add the packets of sodium bisulfite, potassium sorbate, and the clarifier (usually chitosan or isinglass, both are natural ingredients). Replace the airlock and stopper. Agitate or stir gently for 2 minutes to mix using Mix-Stir degassing wand. To speed up the completion of your wine, agitate the bottle 3 times a day for 3 days. This shakes out sediment and removes excess C02. Let your wine sit for 2 weeks.

5. Use the wine thief to take a sample of your wine. Check the clarity. Taste the wine, if you like the flavor now, it will be even better later. Before bottling, you can still change the flavors in your wine by adding sugar if it is too dry, oak chips for added flavors, and tannin to smooth out the taste. Any of these steps may require extra fermenter time. If you like the taste, its time to bottle.

How to bottle your wine:

The preferred method for storing and serving wine is in a corked 750 ml wine bottle They can be clear, amber, green, or brown. It will not effect the wine. Corks need to be pushed into bottles with a corker. Wine corks come in 3 standard sizes but generally the bigger the cork, the better the seal. The Deluxe Kit includes #8 corks and a double handle corker to compress them into the bottles.

The corks are pre-sanitzed and can be put in dry, but if you prefer you may prepare your corks by soaking them for at 10 minutes in a sulfite solution (use 3 Campden Tablets or 1/2 tsp. Sodium Bisulfite and 2 qts of water). This softens and sanitizes the cork. Syphon your wine into clean wine bottles using the bottle filler attached to the racking tube and cane. Six gallons of wine will make thirty 750 ml bottles. If you are using a #8 cork, place a sanitized cork into the corker. Place the corker over the bottle and push the handles down. As the cork goes in, it expands to seal the bottle. Let the bottles sit upright for 1 week to allow the cork to dry, then you can turn them over or on their side for extended storage.

You'll find that your wine will mature quickly. The flavors blend and mellow within weeks. Home made wines are not usually aged beyond 2 or 3 years. They are low in sulfite, unlike commercial wines, so they don't age as well. But just as any wine, you try them periodically to identify when they are best.

Helpful Videos from Winexpert
Introduction Before You Begin
Primary Fermentation Secondary Fermentation
Fining and Stabilising Bottling