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Equipment Needed:

You need to be sure to get equipment that is within your budget, but that will
serve you well. A cheap corker that drives you insane every time you use it
will not help you in your quest to bottle lots of wine! The extra $10 you
spend may save you hours of pain and agony.
Click on each photo to get a full description of the item, what it is used for,
and what you should look for when buying the item.

Carboy Hydrometer

Corker Thermometer

Kit, Concentrate or Corks


Empty Bottles Oak


Brush Biosan

Clamp Connectors

Tubing Siphon
Straight Tube

The Preparation
Make sure you THOROUGHLY sanitize and then rinse all parts of the kit.
Cleanliness is one of the most important aspects of making a wine. Any
leftover gunk can turn into mold, destroying all of your subsequent hard
work. Gather up your raw materials, be they grapes, concentrate, plums, etc.
You can use commercial winemaking cleansers sold at most winemaking
shops, or bleach, iodophor, or B-brite. The aim is to clean out your carboys
and other equipment as thoroughly as possible.
Prepare the winemaking area. Try to keep your kit in a room around 70F.
This is a natural process that is going on! It needs a good temperature to
work with. If the temperature is too hot or cold, your wine is not going to
come out properly.
If you're starting with the raw fruit, press it, strain out the skins for peaches
and other fruits, although you should leave red grape skins on if you're
making a red wine. If you remove the skins on red grapes, you'll end up with
White Zinfandel!

Primary Fermentation
If your kit came with glucose solids, mix these in first with a kettle of hot
water, just like Jello. Once they're dissolved, mix in a kettle of cold water.
Watch it wiggle?
Pour your ingredients or concentrate into your primary fermenter. It's clean,
right? If you're adding concentrate, add in whatever water they require to
rehydrate it - probably 2 bags of warm water. This concoction is called must.
Stir in the starter - usually called "Package 1". It mixes in better
if you take a cupful of the must and pre-mix the starter in that.
Note that some kits add this in before the concentrate, like in
this photo. That's OK too.

Does your kit have any sort of flavoring required now? Elderberries? Oak?
Add those in.
Now you need to add more water. Add in cold water so you end up with what
your kit requires. Many hold 5 gallons. Stir up your mixture. Make sure you
stir it with something clean!
Check the temperature, because you want a good temperature for the yeast
to grow in. Around 75F is usually good. Write that down. Also, check the
specific gravity so you have that on record as well.
If everything is set, add in the yeast. Sprinkle it on top - don't mix it in. You
now have all ingredients set for part 1.
Seal up the container! Put on an airlock of some sort. The mixture will begin
to ferment in around 2 days, shown by a bubbling or foaming. Watch for that
- if it is too cold, your yeast may not start. You can drop the temperature a
bit, to 60-70, when the yeast has begun foaming.
Let this stage continue for about a week. If you've got Elderberries in there,
stir it once a day to mix them around. If not, leave the mixture to its own

Secondary Fermentation
If you've got Elderberries or wood chips in there, remove them now. Is your
carboy clean? Siphon the wine into it, without taking any sediment.
If you're making white or blush wine, mix Bentonite with maybe 12oz of
warm water. Pour this mixture into the carboy.
Using oak chips? Toss them into the carboy.
Fill the rest of the carboy with water that you've first boiled and then cooled.
Put the airlock on, and leave it for around 12 days

The Clearing
Siphon the wine off, leaving behind the sediment. You can either do this into
a clean carboy or just into another container, wash your carboy and send it
back in. If you have them, add in sulfites and sorbates and stir well.
Over the next day, stir well at least six times. This removes the carbon
At the end of this segment, add in any final ingredients and top off the
carboy with cool water.
Let the wine settle for around 10 days.

Basic Instructions for Home

Siphon the wine off, leaving the sediment behind.
Filter your wine, if desired. You can use filter paper, or leave the wine in its
natural state.
Bottling the wine can be done with a variety of equipment items to help
make this easier. A "bottling wand" is very useful here - it's a piece of rigid
tube with a spring-loaded valve at the bottom. Push on the end and wine
flows. Stop pushing and it stops flowing.
There are many styles of corkers. Corkers come in four types: The "bang-it-
in" kind, the tunnel kind, the lever kind (where the tunnel is actually part of a
plier-like arrangement, compressing the cork), and floor corkers.
For corks, you can also get real cork covered with teflon, agglomerate corks
(with or without teflon), or pressed cork dust covered with teflon. Note when
choosing bottles that bottles with the drip ring top don't cork very well.
Label your creation, and set it aside for a time, trying it at various stages
along its aging cycle!

10/24 Day 1 - In the Beginning ...

OK, we have all the equipment. We have the wine kit, the empty bottles, the
corks, you name it. They all sat in a pile in the kitchen for a while until we
returned from Las Vegas and settled down. Then, Sunday night while the
Yankees battled the Braves, I decided it was time to get started.

First, everything used in the process must be sterilized. Not just

washed, but super-cleaned to be sure nothing is left to grow and
destroy your wine. Remember, this is a delicious meal for all
sorts of germs and molds! Take the cleaning step seriously.
After letting the equipment dry for 5 minutes or so, you start by
adding in water. Regular hot tap water - this is for dissolving
Packet 1 into.

In goes Packet 1. Mix it up well, swirling it around

to dissolve it.

Now you're ready for the concentrate, or whatever you're using

to make the wine out of. We used a Chianti kit for this
experiment, and had to use a knife to pry off the plastic lid.

Now use hot water to swish around in the bag and get the rest
of the concentrate out.

Fill the rest of the container up with water, leaving space at the
top for fermentation to occur.
Stir this all together very well, being sure to use something
clean and sanitized to stir with!

Measure the starting Specific Gravity. This will help you

determine when to perform subsequent steps and to make sure
things are going well.

Measure the temperature. For starting fermentation,

temperature has to be warm - 70 to 80 F. Make sure you
monitor this for the next few days.

Final step on Day 1 - add the yeast! Sprinkle it on the top, do not
stir. Cap with an airlock, and let your wine sit somewhere warm.

10/25 Day 2 - Killer Sludge ...

We get home after work - it's only been 24 hours since the yeast has been
sprinkled on the wine to get things started. I go upstairs to where the wine is
staying warm.

There is now a 3/4" to 1" layer of ... sludge ... on the top of the
surface of the wine. The airlock is letting out a bubble every 5
seconds or so.
I'm trying here to show the layer of sludge - it's pretty thick, a
dark color, with large bubbles emerging occasionally.

Yet another picture of said sludge. Sort of looks like an invasion

of purple slime ...

10/26 Day 3 - The Foam Begins ...

First, the morning pictures. It's foaming! A white foam is under the sludge
layer, and in places is breaking up through that sludge. The bubble rate is
now one every two seconds on the airlock.

The foam layer is getting thick beneath the sludge, breaking

through in spots. The airlock is bubbling away.

You can see the foam here, taking over

the sludge.

OK, we went to work. Go figure :) ... when we returned home later in the
evening, the foam was completely gone.

There was a stream of tiny bubbles heading up to the top, but

they all vanished instantly when they got there.
We shook it up to get the extra yeast off the sides, and for a few
minutes there was a thin layer of foam, but it promptly

10/27 Day 4 - The Foam Vanishes!

Wednesday morning. The foam is still gone. The wine looks relatively
peaceful, except for the tiny white bubbles streaming up to the surface and

The wine is in the bedroom to stay warm for this portion of its
development, and I woke up at night thinking it was a clock
ticking, the airlock burping was so regular!

The wine is deep and dark, very

Chianti looking.

I didn't take any pictures in the evening, because the wine looked exactly the
same. Regular burping of the airlock, regular stream of tiny bubbles flowing
up through the liquid and vanishing.
10/28 Day 5 - Streams of Bubbles
Thursday morning. More of the same - streams of tiny bubbles, the quiet
processing of grapes into wine.

The wine is still streaming tiny bubbles at

a good clip.
Can you see the very thin layer of foam in some areas, and the
very tiny bubbles?

The airlock sometimes gets a bubble here too - the gas being
expelled is becoming more likely to form bubbles.

10/29 Day 6 - Streams Continue

Friday wasn't much different than Thursday. It seems the Chianti has settled
into a stage for its Primary Fermentation. Streams of little white bubbles,
airlock bumping along every minute or so, and us watching and waiting to
see what it will do next.
10/31 Day 8 - Halloween
Today was the day we went from Stage 1 to Stage 2.

At the beginning of this process, the wine is still streaming tiny

bubbles at a good clip.

We check and record the Specific Gravity for

our notes.
We set up the tubes going from the racking cane in the larger
demi-john down tubes into the smaller demi-john on the floor.

Here's a larger picture of the

tubing setup.

And a yet larger picture of everything

(including me!)

The wine is now in its new


Time to add the oak

Erp, the wine didn't like the
oak much!

Day 9 - Secondary Fermentation Starts

The wine is now sitting in the smaller demi-john, bubbling gently in our
11/10 Day 18 - The Bubbling Slows ...

Here it sits

A close-up, hardly any

bubbling ...

11/12 Day 20 - Some Oak goes In ...

A top-down view of the


A full view the

Adding in a bit of

Adding in a bit of

Day 22 - Adding in the Stabilizers

OK. For the past two weeks, the wine has been quietly bubbling away in a
corner. First there was lots of streams of tiny bubbles, but then by the end
there were hardly any bubbles at all coming up.

OK, the point of this phase is to put the wine into a larger vat,
mix in some stabilizers and clarifiers, mix it steadily for a day,
and put it back in the smaller vat.

Here we are, moving our wine from the secondary (smaller)

demijohn into the primary (larger) demijohn. Note that we did
sanitize the larger container and all tubes first!
Here is the primary demijohn begin filled through
those tubes.

We measured the specific gravity - it came out to .992. It was

supposed to be .995. Close enough! The temperature when we
did this all was 66F.

Here's the sludge that was left behind in the secondary

container!! Make sure you leave that gunk behind :)

In goes the first packet, actually called "Package 2" in this kit. It
is Potassium Metabisulfite. It's mixed into some wine we took
out beforehand.

In goes the second packet, actually called "Package 2A" in this

kit. It is Potassium Sorbate. It's also mixed into some wine we
took out beforehand.
OK, now we do some serious stirring. Note that the wine is
stirred quite a few times over the next 24 hours, to drive out the
carbon dioxide ...

Here it sits, waiting for the next


Day 23 - Stabilizing!
Today the wine is sitting with two packets of stabilizer in it. We're stirring it
every few hours when we can, to get the gas out.

Stir stir

Stir stir

Stir stir

11/16 Day 24 - Preparing for Aging

Today was the day to put the wine back into the smaller, secondary glass
carboy in preparation for 10 or more days of aging.

First we added in the last of the oak powder to

add flavor.

In goes the Isinglass, Packet 3, for


The wine is moved back into the smaller

carboy for aging.

Here's the container being


That's it! Now it just sits and ages until we decide it's
ready to bottle!
And Decide When will u Drink it