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Basic 28-Day Wine Kit Instructions

Basic 28-Day Wine Kit Instructions

These instructions can be be applied to all the kits we sell; including Classic Cellars, Grand Cru, Selection Premium, Vino del Vida, and Vintner's Reserve kits with slight variances.

These instructions supplement those supplied by the manufacturer and should be considered on the merits that they eliminate the topping up of your secondaries with sacrificial wine (i.e. wine that you have bought or made) or with water (which will impart a watered down character and body to the wine).

DAY # 1

Make sure the primary fermenter is cleaned with sterilizing solution before use. Rinse with water.

GLUCOSE SOLIDS: If these are included in the kit, add to the sanitized primary. Add 1 quart of BOILING water to the primary. Stir to dissolve. Once dissolved, add 1 quart of COLD water. Proceed to next step.

Step 1

Grasp bag of concentrate by the neck. Remove the cap, insert the automatic siphon and start transferring the wine into the sanitized primary.  When the weight of bag of concentrate becomes manageable, lift and pour the remaining concentrate into the primary.

Fill bag with a quart of warm water twice, adding contents to primary fermenter.

The snap lid on this container is easily removed with the aid of a standard beer bottle opener.  

Step 2

Add any packets supplied by the manufacturer per their instructions to the wine at this time. Stir.

Step 3

Fill primary fermenter to the 6 gallon level with cool water. 

If using a hydrometer, Specific Gravity should be approximately 1.080.

Step 4

Add the yeast now. Be sure temperature of the "must" does not exceed 77°F prior to adding the yeast.

Must is a winemaking term for unfermented wine.

Step 5

Cover the primary or seal with a lid and airlock.  Store in a warm place 70°F-75°F.

Step 6

There are 2 general criteria that could determine the first transfer.  
1) Some manufacturers will specify a day that the wine should be transferred
2) while others may want the transfer made once the must has achieved a Specific Gravity of 1.020 or lower which usually occurs in about 6 to 8 days. 

A lower fermenting temperature will result in a longer fermenting period. If using Elderberries, stir once a day.

DAY # 5 to DAY # 6

The timing of this transfer is most critical. We want to transfer the wine into the secondary while there is some fermentation left to be completed. If the gravity is 1.000 or less, you should add a couple TBS (tablespoons) of sugar to the wine after transfer to give the yeast some fermentables to work off - thus producing enough CO2 (carbon dioxide) to move all the oxygen out of the secondary. 

Step 1

Make sure the carboy (secondary fermenter) is cleaned with sanitizing solution before use. Rinse with water.

Add any packets supplied by the manufacturer per their instructions to the wine.
Siphon wine into the 6-gallon carboy, filling as full as possible.  
In racking the wine, our objective is to leave the sediment behind in the primary.

The headspace in the 6-gallon will be filled with carbon dioxide due to the fermentation that will be completed in this stage.  Since carbon dioxide is heavier than oxygen, the jugs will be purged of oxygen in short matter of time.

If using oak chips, some initial foaming may occur. You may stop the siphoning for a few minutes when the carboy is half full to allow the foaming to subside.

Step 2

Attach stopper and fermentation locks to the 6-gallon carboy. 

Step 3

Leave the carboy in a warm place for timeframe called for by the manufacturer (about 12 days) or until all fermentation is complete. A temperature range of 70°F-77°F is best to ensure quick, complete fermentation. A lower temperature will result in a slower rate of fermentation.

DAY # 18 to DAY # 21

The timing of this transfer is not critical but we don't want to delay the transfer off the sediment by more than a week.  During these steps, we will degasify the wine and add stabilizer and clarifiers.

Step 1

All fermentation should now be complete. Specific Gravity should be less than 1.000. If Specific Gravity has not fallen to the correct level, wait a few more days.

Siphon the wine off its sediment into the cleaned and sanitized primary fermenter.
Stir vigorously for 2-5 minutes to degasify the wine. This will remove unwanted carbon dioxide gas before bottling.

Wait about 5 minutes and repeat 3 or 4 more times or until no foam is created by the vigorous stirring
Add all the packets supplied by the manufacturer per their instructions to the wine while it is in the primary fermenter.
Stir vigorously, again, for 1-2 minutes.

During this vigorous stirring, we do NOT want to create a whirlpool - that draws oxygen into the wine and could cause it to oxidize.

We should limit our stay in the primary to a maximum of one HOUR to reduce the exposure to oxygen.

Step 2

Wash and sanitize the 5-gallon carboy.  Stir the wine one last time in the primary and Immediately siphon the wine into the carboy, filling into the neck (roughly an inch from the bottom of the stopper). 
Attach stopper and fermentation lock.  

I like to transfer into a 5-gallon carboy so that I won’t have to top it up with sacrifical wine or be tempted to top it up with water which will cause the wine to taste watered done. The 5-gallon carboy holds close to 5.5 gallons, so with the rackings that have occurred, you will not be wasting much wine at all.

Any remaining wine in the primary fermenter can be trashed or transferred into bottles so it can settle before being consumed.

Step 3

Leave the wine to clear for 7 to 10 days. If the wine has not cleared perfectly in that time, leave it for an additional week.

After 3-4 days of clearing, give the carboy a sharp twist which will dislodge any particles that may cling to the sides of the carboy.

DAY # 26

The timing is not critical.

Step 1

The carboy should now be placed on a table or counter about 2 days prior to bottling so that the sediment will not be disturbed prior to transferring for bottling.  The extra 2 days allows any sediment pushed into solution while elevating the carboy to settle back down.

DAY # 28

The schedule for bottling is the least critical of the procedures that you will do.  Bottling can be delayed for months if the carboy is kept full and water is maintained in the fermentation lock.

Step 1

Siphon wine off sediment into a sanitized primary fermenter. 

Wine is now ready for filtering and/or bottling. If you prefer a sweeter wine, adjust accordingly.  Siphon wine into bottles. Cork or cap.

Your wine is drinkable when bottled but will keep and improve with aging. 

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