Making wine from a kit is easy and with a large range of kits available to try there is something for every wine lover out there. Each kit comes with instructions so this guide is just a basic outline of how to make a wine kit, for more specific information see your kit instructions.
You can buy either a 6 or 30 bottle kit and there are a variety of brands to choose from that vary in price and quality. See our wine kit page for further information:
The process is the same for both the 6 and 30 bottle kits in each range however some take 7 days to make and others around a month. Both taste a lot better if left for 1 to 2 months to mature in the bottle. We recommend that you do this however it is entirely up to you, you're the boss.
Making your wine:
Firstly it is crucial to sterilise all your equipment to make sure nothing spoils your brew. Then get your ingredients ready for fermentation, it will state on your instructions whether you need sugar or not however the brands that require sugar to make are:
Brands that do not require any sugar to make:
You then mix all the required ingredients together with water in your fermenting vessel. Most instructions will state to add hot water to your vessel first and then add grape juice and sugar if the sugar is required, the fermenter can then be topped up to the required amount with water, 23 litres for 30 bottle kits, 4.5 litres for 6 bottle kits. It is important to hit the required temperature range which is generally between 20 and 25 degrees as you top the water up, add a little warm water as you go if the temperature is too cool and vice versa. This is so that the temperature is right for the yeast. If you add the yeast when the temperature is below 18 degrees it will remain dormant until the temperature increases to around 20 degrees, if you add it when the brew is too hot, over 28 degrees then it could kill the yeast. Once fermentation has commenced try and keep the brew as close to 20 degrees as possible as a consistent temperature will encourage a good fermentation and a better quality wine. However don't worry if this isn't possible a temperature range of between 20 and 25 degrees is okay.
Fermentation times can vary but 7 day kits generally take 6 days to ferment the more expensive wine kits can take up to 20 days to ferment depending on temperature and whether they are white or red. Reds tend to take longer, although all these times depend upon the temperature you are brewing at.
Yeast needs oxygen for a healthy fermentation, giving your brew a good stir before adding the yeast will ensure there is enough oxygen to keep the hungry critters happy.
Once you are sure that fermentation is complete it's time to add the stabiliser. The stabiliser prevents any future fermentation but it will not stop any current fermentation so it is important to make sure that all activity has stopped before proceeding to clearing and bottling. If your wine is still fermenting when you try to clear it you will end up with a cloudy wine. Once you're sure that fermentation is complete and you have added the stabiliser you can then either vigorously stir or shake your brew to remove any Co2 , your wine kit instructions will state how long you need to do this for and again this will ensure that your wine is clear. At this point your kit instructions may ask you to add a sachet of additional ingredients to your brew, although this is not the case with all wine kits. After this it's time to add the finings which are the final stage in the clearing process. The wine may then take a few days to clear.
To make sure fermentation is complete take two hydrometer readings over a 48 hour period if they remain the same your brew has finished fermenting if they have changed continue until they remain the same.
Bottling your wine:
Once your wine is clear you can move onto bottling. It is best to leave the wine to mature for 1 to 2 months and if you're using corks store it on it's side so that the corks do not dry out, just store the bottle upright shortly before drinking so that the sediment drops to the bottom.