Pitch the Yeast and Make Some Wine!

Let’s make wine! Now that we’ve covered wine kits and what equipment required to make wine it’s time to hydrate the grape juice and pitch the yeast. In this video I’ll show you everything it takes to get your wine kit happily fermenting.   This part of the process is probably the most labor intensive step until it comes to bottling. The most time consuming part was cleaning all the equipment and reading the directions over and over again. One word of caution, watch your water temperature. My must was a little too warm. When I hydrated the grape juice concentrate I should have measured the temperature of the water I was adding. Because I didn’t I wound up with a must around 90 degrees (F)! That’s really not all that bad except that for the yeast to get going the must needed to be between 72 and 75 degrees (F). It took nearly six hours for the must to cool off after re-hydration. Lesson: montor the temperature of the water you’re adding to the must as well as the ambient room temperature. My Shiraz began fermenting within 24 hours of pitching the yeast and it smelled like heaven! For about two days… After a couple days it began to smell like old beer and grape juice; kind of rowdy. Up next, racking off the lees and into the...

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Which Wine Kit Should I Start With?

Which Wine Kit Should I Start With?

When you first get started with making your own wine it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the number of decisions you have to make. I recommend you start simply with a wine kit. Starting with a kit reduces the amount of equipment you need to purchase or rent at the outset. The process is also limited to that of making wine and does not include tasks such as finding grapes, pressing them, or any else besides the actual chemistry of making wines. Choosing which wine kit to make is also an important decision which is influenced by several factors. Here are just a few things to think about. What Do You Like to Drink? Choose a varietal that you enjoy! This is first and foremost because you’re about to make 30 bottles of wine. No one wants 30 bottles of wine they don’t like. Wine kits have been designed such that they all follow just about the same process. There is some variability but by in large kits are all relatively the same once you get going. Fortified wines do have a bit of extra work that must go into them, however, the kit manufacturers have made the process as simple as possible. Quality Just like anything else you spend your money on, you usually get what you pay for. An inexpensive kit will be of good quality while a more expensive kit will be of the highest quality. Many of the grapes that go into these kits come from the same vineyards that produce grapes for commercial wineries. This is why you might see on your Zinfandel kit that this particular vintage won this medal or that one at some point. Pros are using the same raw materials to make their wines. Depending on your budget you may have to start with the inexpensive kits given that you’ll be purchasing equipment as well. No worries, start where you can. These days a wine kit can produce good results provided you follow the directions. How Much Patience do You Have? Time is both the best ingredient for a great wine and the hardest to give. After you’ve spent the time and effort researching kits and equipment, then fermenting the wine, you’ll then have to let it age. Some wine kits take longer than others to mature. Many are designed for early consumption (four to six weeks from starting fermentation) while the more sophisticated ones take longer to reach their peak flavor. White wines can be made and consumed fairly quickly while reds need more time. Don’t pick up a kit that needs a year or more of aging for your first winemaking experience. The return on investment is just too long unless you have unparalleled patience. Start with something you can make and consume fairly quickly. That way you’ll get a sense of how much you enjoy making wine. Another idea is to pick up a kit that is ready to drink quickly and right afterward start another kit that takes a bit of time to age. This way you’ll get the experience and 30 bottles of wine to consume...

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