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pat c kit tutorial


  • Making Wine from Kits

    Fantastic tutorial by Pat cuthbert
    member of and all round good guy
    reproduced here with his kind permission

    I KNOW you will find this useful

    Hi all;

    I started a couple of kits. I have some pics for you showing the steps so far and will show the rest as they occur.

    First is checking my equipment. A lot of empty carboys as you can see.

    Be sure that your equipment is clean. Use a chlorinated cleanser (pink powder) or Straight A ( see Logic Chemicals in the supplier section).

    Rinse everything well

    Here is the stock I just got in.
    2 each:
    Winexpert Limited edition Chilean Carmeniere/Malbec (the one I am showing you), Symphony and BC Cabernet Merlot.
    4 Selection Port
    1 Selection Leibfraumilch
    1 Selection Gewertzraminer
    1 Vintners Reserve Gewertzraminer

    Here is the device I use to reconstitute my wine. It is a variable speed drill with a paint mixer attached. It is very important that the must be fully mixed to prevent layering. An inaccurate SG can be read if the must is not uniform.

    Checking the contents of the box. Read the directions and make sure that everything indicated is there. AS instructions are general for a type of kit, it is possible that there is a reference to some things (such as oak or in this case "F" pack) which are not applicable. If there is something missing, contact your supplier immediately and stop until you have it.

    The next step in getting this wine (Limited Edition Carmeniere Malbec) going is to mix the bentonite. Use 2 quarts (litres) of room temperature water. Tilt the primary and while running the drill slowly add the bentonite. It takes me about 30 seconds to empty the package. Continue mixing for about a minute. When you are done, it will look like this with no lumps.

    The next step is to add the concentrated must. Instructions generally say to rinse the bag with 1 quart (litre) of warm water. I will rinse it twice. This first gets most of the concentrate out of the bag. The second rinse removes it almost completely. Then top up the fermentor to your 23 litre mark. This is found by filling a 23 litre carboy with water and pouring it into the primary. The level is marked with a piece of tape or permanent marker. Again Mix it well to prevent layering. There is no problem with getting some foaming while doing this as it incorporates oxygen in the must. Oxygen at this stage is beneficial to the yeast as it helps them to multiply.

    The next step is to add the oak. I prepare the oak by boiling a couple of cups of water, and pouring this onto the oak powder/chips in a pyrex measuring cup. Pour this in slowly and stir while doing so. This will prevent the oak from floating on top of the water. Allow the oak to steep for a couple of minutes.

    While the oak is steeping, I will take the SG of the must. IN this case, it is 25 brix or 1.100

    Next check the temperature of the must. It should be in the range that are indicated in the instructions.

    Add the oak tea, and stir it in. While the must is still swirling gently, sprinkle the yeast on top. The kit instructions want you to do it this way. The yeast instructions ask you to rehydrate the yeast first.

    Rehydrating the yeast is quite critical. The temperature must be correct or the yeast will be killed, and the volume of water must be correct or the yeast again may be killed. I have never had a failure by sprinkling the yeast, so that is the way I do it.

    Next put the lid on the fermentor and put it in a warm dark place for the fermentation to take place.

    When the time comes, I will be showing the transfer from primary to secondary.

    Your comments are appreciated.


    Racking should take place today. Just got home and have not checked the gravity yet, And of course, the Mrs, wants to go to town.

    Just got back and dropped the Hydrometer in the fermentor. SG = 1.030. Looks like tomorrow before I get around to transferring into carboy.


    We are now ready to transfer from primary to secondary. Please note the term transfer. This means to move ALL of the wine from the primary to the secondary. This includes as much of the lees as you can. It will be left behind after the first clearing (racking) process.

    This shows the transfer process. To do this quickly, I use a 1/2 inch "Autosyphon". The autosyphon has a plunger in it which will draw the liquid into the outer tube. There is a check valve at the bottom of the tube. When the plunger is pushed down, the syphon starts and there is no contamination of the wine with the lips. Of course, you can always use the old stand by hose and "sample" the wine to see how it is coming along.

    This pic shows an acceptable level in the carboy. Remember that the wine is still fermenting so a carbon dioxide blanket is formed to protect the wine.
    I will rinse the carboy with K-meta solution just before I transfer and allow to drain without further rinsing.

    Now we wait again for the next week or so for the fermentation to finish before clearing and stabilizing.


    Here we go again. As you can see, the hydrometer is almost sunk. While it is hard to read, it shows a finishing gravity of 0.992.

    Looking at the carboy, one can also see that there is a definite stratification of the wine. There is a layer of yeast on the bottom, and the wine is clearing from the top down.

    Degassing comes next. There are several ways to do this. One is with a drill powered attachment called a Fizz-ex. Be gentle with this device to start. It will cause substantial foaming. (Sorry, no pic) Another way is to use the vaccu-vin wine saver. By capping the carboy and using the rubber cork, a vaccuum can be drawn in the carboy. The reduction of pressure is a gentler way to degas the wine.

    If you warm the wine to room temperature or higher, the wine will give off CO2 more easily.

    Another way to degas is by shaking the carboy. To do this, I will use a solid #7 bung. Shake the carboy for a moment, and then remove the bung slightly to allow the pressure to be released. You might consider using a towel under the carboy if the surface is very smooth to prevent the carboy walking to the edge.

    Note the airspace in this carboy. This is a Gewurztraminer kit which includes an "F-Pack". The F-Pack is added between the stabilizer and the clarifier.

    This is the F-Pack.

    Once the CO2 has been driven off by several stirrings add the Stabilizing solution. Add the F-Pack if there is one. Then add the clarifying agent. This pic shows what the wine looks immediately after the clarifying agent has been added.

    And this one is about 5 minutes later.
    About a week from now, the first racking will take place.
    I must point out that this wine has not been racked. It has been transferred from the primary to the secondary only. Stabilizing and clarifying take place on the lees.

    Hi all;

    I'll bet you thought that I had forgotten about this segment. Such is not the case.

    I did miss the step of transferring the wine off the lees after so here it is.

    This first pic is of the carboy 1 week after the addition of the fining agents. As you can see, the wine is quite clear, and the lees are compact on the bottom.

    This pic shows the carboy with an "Autosyphon" and sediment tip. Notice that the tip is kept off the lees until the level of the wine drops to near bottom. This helps to prevent transfer of excess lees.

    This pic shows the sediment left behind after racking the wine.

    Two weeks have gone by and we are now ready to filter the wine. I did move the carboy shortly before this picture. If you look closely, you can see that there is a little bit of haze in the lower part of the carboy. This is a result of the movement of the carboy.

    There are two options at this point. You may filter it directly from the carboy, moving the suction tip down slowly as the level drops, or you can rack off the lees. This is your choice depending upon the time you have.

    This pic is a close up of the amount of sediment I have after the second settling period.

    The filter pads should be soaked to remove any air that is in them. I them soak for about 15 minutes in warm water. Be sure that the pads do not lay on top of one another.

    The next step is to run water through the pads and filter. I will circulate for about 1 minute like this setup.

    Now the suction tip is inserted into the carboy. The filter is started and allowed to clean out the water. This is visible when there is no air coming out of the outlet line to the receiving carboy. At this point, stop the filter. Move the discharge line to the receiving carboy. Empty the drain catch bottle and put the drain line into it. I end up with less than 1 litre in the drain catch bottle. I will return this to the first carboy to be refiltered when there is about 3 cm of wine left. The drain line is then put into the receiving carboy.

    Note that the suction line is not at the bottom of the carboy.

    When the filtering is completed, there will be visible sediment in the first carboy.

    After the wine is filtered, it should be very clear.

    Note that you can see the plants through the wine clearly.

    If the wine is to be stored for any length of time exceeding 6 months, potassium metabisulphite should be added at this time. The minimum dose is 1/4 tsp disolved in water or wine. This would help preserve the wine for up to 2 years. If you intend to keep the wine for longer than this, use 1/2 tsp of k-meta.

    A minimum period of 2 days should pass between filtering and bottling. This allows the wine to get over some of the shock from filtering before bottling.

    I will be bottling next weekend.

    Hi again folks;

    Today I chaptalized my port.

    The starting gravity on this port was 1.133 (about 18% fermented full dry)

    Today it is at 1.012. Time to add some more food for the yeasty beasties.

    I mixed up some dextrose syrop. This pitcher holds 5 cups (about 2.5 pounds, 1.1 Kg) of dextrose with enough boiled water to allow the dextrose to fully disolve. Note that the syrop is clear. This is the indicator that the dextrose is fully disolved.

    After adding this dextrose to a volume of 23 litres of port, the sg is now at 1.023.

    This should give me an alcohol content of approximately 21 % if fermented to dry.

    Next, a picture of the bottling equipment. Note the use of the Autosyphon (in the carboy) and bottling wand (in the bottle)

    I like to set my bottles on the floor on a plastic lid. The lid will catch any accidental overflows. (you will have them). This makes it easier to clean up.

    The bottling wand has a one way valve in it that will stop the flow when you lift it from the bottom of the bottle. One advantage to this system is that the bottling wand will displace almost exactly the right amount of wine to give you proper clearance below the cork.

    Once the bottle is full nearly to the top, remove the wand and take the bottle to the corker. I am using a portuguese style floor corker. Because of the height of it, I secure it to my work mate with 3 screws This brings it to a height that I find comfortable to work at.

    Place the bottle bottom on the platform, push down, and then move the bottle in to the aligning guide. Place a cork in the top of the corker, and pull the lever down.

    Once the cork is full inserted, return the handle to the upright position. Note the depth of the cork, and the space between the wine and the cork. There should be about 1 inch (2.5 cm) between the wine and the bottom of the cork.

    In this pic, you can see the labeling jig I made. Very simple. 2 pieces of 3/4 inch square stock and a bit of plywood. The rest for the bottle is a piece of 1.5 inch by 3/4 inch stock, and the elevation is made with the same measurements on the reverse. Note also the corker attached to the workmate.

    Here we see a bottle in the stand with the label applied. By making sure that the two pieces on the sides that prevent the bottle from rolling are the same height, we have a gauge to align the labels. Use this for the top of the label, and they will all be the same height on the bottle. An almost professional look.

    Now, some bottles are shorter than standard. The 375 ml bottles are about 1 inch shorter than the corker will hold snuggly.

    To deal with this, I use a piece of 2X2 inch lumber and place it on the stand. This gives the bottle enough length to fit securely in the corker. Other ideas include a hockey puck or a custom made piece from 3/4 inch plywood.

    And now because the work is done, it is time to relax and enjoy the fruits of the labour.

    Please forgive the appearance of the place. We are in the process of packing house for our move at the end of July 2005.

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      First is checking my equipment. A lot of empty carboys as you can see.

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