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How to become an expert winemaker | bulk

wine and grapes

If you are following this series of blogs on winemaking, you have probably made your first batch of 5 litres and have enjoyed sharing it with your friends.  These wines are ideal for barbecues, although it hasn’t exactly been barbecue weather in England. You know that 5 litres doesn’t go far at a barbecue though and so maybe when you get good at it; you could make 25 litres!

Making 25 litres doesn’t take any longer than making 5 litres and might even be easier because most 25 litre fermenters are plastic. They are heavy when full though and so it’s a good idea to make sure it’s clean, perhaps by filling it with water and adding bleach to soak it. Then wash it out thoroughly, sterilise it with a solution of sodium metabisulphate in water.  A teaspoon of sodium metabisulphate in a litre of water makes a strong steriliser. Just wash it around your fermenter and you can reuse it a few times.

Once your fermenter is clean and sterile, place it somewhere where you won’t have to move it again. I used an old table so it was high enough to syphon the wine off. Then add your sugar, the amount depends upon how strong you want the wine. If you add 4 Kg of sugar and 3 or 4 litres of fruit juice, you will have a wine that’s about 10% alcohol when it’s finished. For a more full bodied wine use 5 kilograms of sugar and 5 litres of concentrated fruit juice. The fruit juice can be all apple juice for a cheap plonk for your barbecues or a mixture of apple and grape juice. It can be all grape juice for a more expensive wine, that is suitable for aging or making a cuvee.

After you have added the sugar, add your grape tannin or if you prefer to use tea (it contains tannin) just pour a pot of tea in! I used about 5 teaspoons of quality tea. Then add your fruit juice and you can shake the fermenter to dissolve the sugar. Next you can dilute your mixture with water. It is better to use filtered water, it makes for a better wine and it ferments better. Chlorine in the water can inhibit fermentation.

Finally add your yeast. For a normal strength wine of 10 or 12% alcohol, I found Vinkwik  from Harris filters, the best and quickest. You should culture that first by adding it to some fruit juice in a soft drinks bottle and let it ferment for at least 24 hours. The instructions for doing a culture are in my first blog.

Good luck with your winemaking and don’t drink it all at once. You can ask questions by using the comment box and if you missed last weeks blog, it’s here. There are more blogs on the Home Page too. Please click share and share with your friends; they might invite you to their barbecue…

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