Wine making at home

Below are the basic steps needed to make wine at home. Read the instructions that come with your wine kit very carefully. The instructions for your specific wine kit may vary from below.

1. Purchase a wine kit. For the beginner, find  an all-inclusive kit, containing all the pre-measured additives you'll need. We have kits that are composed solely of pure juice, grape skins, and kits that are pure concentrated juice. The pure-juice kit requires no additional water.

2. Ensure you have all the necessary equipment needed to make wine.

  • Sanitizing solution
  • Primary fermenter (food-grade plastic pail with a hard lid, the instructions in your kit will usually specify the size you'll need)
  • Large measuring cup (2 quarts or bigger)
  • Small measuring cup (1- or 2-cup capacity)
  • Measuring spoons
  • Long-handled plastic spoon (food-grade) 
  • Hydrometer
  • Siphon hose for transferring wine (5 feet) 
  • One  glass or plastic carboy (19 liter or 5-gallon)
  • Airlock and rubber bung
  • Large food-grade plastic funnel
  • Wine thief

3. Carefully read the instructions that come with your kit. Each kit has specific instructions for the type of juice you purchased.

4.  Sanitize all of the equipment that you will use to make your wine -that means everything in the list above. Sanitizing is different that washing your equipment as you will need to kill all bacteria. Use  "Sani Brew" which will inhibit or kill all bacteria. Rinse throughly.  Improperly sanitized equipment is the number one cause for winemaking failures.

5. Pour the contents into the primary fermenter and add the first group of ingredients, as instructed in your wine kit. Mix well. Draw a sample and take a hydrometer reading as per instructions in your wine kit.

6. Add the yeast. The yeast should come pre-measured, but in case you're measuring your own, remember that you can't really add too much yeast, but you can add too little (which can lead to bacterial spoilage).

7. Close the primary fermenter and place in an area with a temperature of 18–24ºC (65–75°F).

8. Check the specific gravity. Each kit will include instructions on the number of days to wait prior to checking the specific gravity. When it is as low as the instructions require it's time to transfer the wine to your carboy. The lower your fermenting temperature, the longer it will take to reach this stage.

9. Transfer the wine into your carboy. Clean and sanitize siphon rod and hose, hydrometer and test jar, wine thief, carboy, bung and airlock prior to this step. Rinse well. Prior to transfer, stir the contents in the pail vigorously to ensure there is no yeast sediment in the bottom of the pail .Place the pail on a table top and place the carboy on the floor. Siphon the wine from the primary fermenter into the carboy and attach the airlock and bung to the carboy.

10. Put the carboy back in the fermentation area for the number of days specified on the instructions included with your kit.

11. Measure the specific gravity. It may be lower than before and should match the number specified in your wine kit instructions. Make sure you get the same measurement for two days in a row (ensuring stability) before racking, or else the wine might not clear properly.

12. Follow any additional instruction on your wine kit. You may be required to add stabilizers or metabisulphane, sorbite or sulphite powder depending on the kit you purchased. You may need to transfer your wine to another carboy during this stage.

13. Filter the wine (optional). Filtering will help make the wine ready to drink sooner and will make the wine stabler. 

14. Bottle your wine. Clean and sanitise your wine bottles, siphon rod, hose and siphon filler. Rinse well. Siphon your wine into the bottles and seal with a good quality cork. After corking, store bottles in a dark, cool, temperature-stable place, standing upright for three to ten days. Then lay down all bottles. After a day or two, check the bottles and re-cork any you find leaking.

15. Wait as long as the instructions recommend. Be patient! Depending on the wine kit you purchased, you may need to wait 2-3 months before the product reaches its full flavour.

16. Enjoy!