So you purchased a winemaking equipment kit, you've set up a clean, sanitary place to make wine (you did do this didn't you?) and you're ready to make your first wine. There are a variety of wine kits for you to choose from, starting with beginner's kits to more advanced options. You may be thinking, "I just dump this juice in and let it work." Wrong. There are some crucial things to consider when making wine. Here are a few helpful tips from our expert staff at LabelPeelers.com
Read the instructions. Yeah, we know. You've installed that mid-modern desk from Ikea without instructions and you know how to set up a VCR...but wine making kits are not the same when it comes to instructions. They've prepared the recipe for you and expect you to follow it. Sometimes they throw in an extra pack of oak powder, or some extra additive gets thrown in by accident. (Our Label Peeler wine kits are designed, tested, and perfectly suited for all of your winemaking needs. Just saying.) Make sure you follow those instructions to the "t" and you'll have taste-"t" wine. See what we just did?
Find your fermenter's fill line. Fill your carboy up to the neck with cool water. Rack our pour the water into the primary and draw a line with permanent marker at the water level. You have your fill line.
Use an airlock. Be sure to use the fermentation lock (airlock) during the first stage of fermenting. The instructions do not mention this but the grometted lid should have an airlock inserted into the grommet. This will insure your wine is protected from oxygen - that stuff that keeps us alive, also keeps bacteria and mold growing. We don't want that in wine.
Be patient. You do remember your mom telling you to be patient and share? She was right. Just because your wine kit is ready to drink in six weeks might not mean that its ready to drink. Try a bottle in three weeks then another at six and decide if it's ready. Taste, be patient, and make a decision. Then, like your momma said, share.
Its in the water. Always use distilled or reverse osmosis water if you're adding it to wine, especially in kits. City, spring and well water may have minerals or chemicals that can cause off flavors. They can be good, sometimes, but to ensure a clean flavor, use distilled water.
Keep it clean. Wine is food that you'll be sharing with friends and family. Treat it as such. Keep everything sanitized and clean or else you're begging environmental bacteria to start eating your wine. You wouldn't leave a 72-ounce porterhouse steak out on the counter for six weeks before serving it to your friends, would you? Cleaning and sanitizing are two separate things. Cleaning removes dirt and residue from your equipment. Sanitizing is treating that equipment with chemicals to prevent the growth of organisms. Everything that comes in contact with your wine must be cleaned and properly sanitized. Everything.