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Tips for Wine Juice Kits
How to Make Wine with your Fruit
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Always use clean and sanitized equipment. Always sanitize the equipment before use. Use a Food Grade Sanitizer for your equipment. Try to always stay away from bleach.
Always use Clean chlorine free water. (Plain 50cent a gal. drinking water at your grocery store is fine. No need for the fancy stuff.)
Stay away from containers for fermenting, that do not have good air tight lids. Only use good or new food grade plastic buckets. If using Glass Carboys to ferment in, never use one that has been used as a copper penny jar. Many times the pennies will scratch the inside of the glass and harbor bacteria in the scratches.
Use good sterile YEAST to insure good flavor. Wild yeast just floating in the air, many contain bacteria. Many times wild yeast will start to ferment but will turn your hard work to vinegar. There are many different yeast you can pick from that will bring out the best flavor for your wine. Always start with a good amount of yeast. This will ensure good fermentation. For 5 gallons start with 2 cups of water and two tablespoons of sugar. Bring this mix to a boil for 3-4 minutes. Cool the sugar water to approx. 75 degrees (baby bottle temp.) Sprinkle on top the yeast, cover the mix with plastic wrap. Let the yeast mix stand for 3-4 hours before adding. Or for better results, pour the sugar water into a clean and sanitized wine bottle. Sprinkle in the yeast and seal the bottle with a #2 stopper and a air lock. Let the yeast mix work over night, then add to your juice 24 hours later.
If pressing your own fruit. Always de-stone those fruit with pits and seeds. (Plums, Peaches). After cleaning the out side of the fruit. Cut large fruit into small pieces for easier pressing. If pressing red fruit. (Blueberries, Raspberries, Red Grapes etc.) Many times, much of the color and flavor comes from the skins. Use a good course fruit bag for pressing. Leave the pressed pulp and skins in the bag for the first week of fermenting.
Campden Tablets is one of the easiest sterilizer on the market today. Use 1 per gallon crushed well, after pressing fruit. This will kill bacteria and wild yeast. Cover the pressed fruit and let it stand COVERED for 24 hours before adding the yeast.
Many fruit contain Pectin. Pectin will cause cloudy wine and hold in some flavors. Pectin Enzyme will break down pectin. Many recipes will have Pectin Enzyme added. Pectin Enzyme is also added the same time as the Campden Tablets, 24 hrs. before the yeast is added.
When more than 50% of the liquid is water, a Yeast Nutrient is added to help the yeast.
It is always best test the acid level of the pressed juice before starting. Low acid levels will result in, poor fermentation, a medicinal taste, and poor character and seem dull. A Acid blend of Citric, Tartaric and Malic Acids, will many times be called for in your recipes.
ALWAYS test the content of natural sugar in your pressed juice. The easiest way to adjust the sugar level, is to use a Hydrometer. Most table wine will have a starting reading on the hydrometer of 1.090. This is called a gravity reading. The gravity reading of water is 1.000. The recipe you use may have the juice of your fruit, water and sugar. Before adding the sugar remember that the sugar content of fruit changes from year to year. To much sugar can result in a high alcohol wine, loosing flavor. Example: If your sample or pressed juice and water gives you a reading on the hydrometer of 1.040 then you will need to add sugar to bring the reading UP to 1.090. This could be anywhere from 1-1/2 Lbs. to 2 Lbs. of sugar per gallon.
After your pressed juice has fermented covered for 5-7 days. The gravity of the wine will drop to 1.030-1.020. This is a good time to transfer the juice (Must) to the next fermenter. (secondary). Because the yeast will slow down and produce less Co2. It is Very, Very important that the SECONDARY glass fermenter always be the same size as the batch being made. This will not allow large amounts of air to sit on the wine, for long periods of time and contaminate your wine. After the juice has been transferred to the secondary fermenter. Open the Primary fermenter and press out the remaining juice from the bag with the pulp. This is many times what you will top-up the secondary fermenter with.
Campden tablets can also be used to kill the yeast after the fermentation has ended. Add 1 crushed Campden per gallon. Stir the wine for two days 3-5 times per day. This will aid in bringing the Co2 out of suspention. Let the wine settle for one week before going on.
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