Making Quality Wine at Home
It has been said that the making of wine is a blend of science and art, and to a large degree this is true. But making fine wine at home requires something more. It demands that the wine maker begin not only with the right skill and equipment, but that he begins with a quality product as well. Poor or average quality juice concentrates will not produce fine wine.
In many of the juice products on the market today, the essential body and essence of the individual grape variety is missing. When wine is made from these products, it lacks the subtle undertones that distinguish a fine wine from an average one. Many of today’s home wine products are partially or completely reconstituted from inexpensive, non-California produced concentrates. Fresh pressed juices and high grade concentrates, while slightly higher in cost, will produce a more full bodied wine which remains true to the subtle, complex flavors and aroma of the individual grape variety.
While many people still follow age-old traditions of choosing their wine grapes and crushing and pressing them at home, today’s technology provides alternatives which take much of the labor and guess work out of the process. Using freshly pressed Regina Juice could not be more simple. All of our Regina products are ready to use; the acid, pH level, color, sugar content, and varietal selection have all been carefully blended and balanced to optimum specifications and desirability by our own in-house enologists, who bring more than 70 years of experience to our products.
Regina Juice products and fresh pressed Pia grapes are available only through your local certified home wine store. For a location near you, please contact us via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Making Wine from Our Regina Juice
While making great wine from our grapes and fresh pressed juices in simple, there is one detail that is crucial to successful winemaking. Ensure that all equipment used is COMPLETELY STERILE! Consult you local home wine shop on available sterilants for winemaking equipment.
- a clean sterile fermenting vessel (glass, plastic, or stainless steel)
- a spoon or large stirring tool
- a narrow mouth funnel (optional)
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The Fermentation Process
Using a sterile object, stir juice until all of the solids are well distributed within the juice (these sediments are extremely important to the fermentation of your wine). Place the funnel in the mouth of your fermentation vessel and fill the vessel 2” from the top. Having removed the funnel, place the airlock and stopper on the mouth of the fermenting vessel. This will allow the natural pressure which builds during the fermentation process to escape and will keep the outside air from contaminating the wine.
If you like a nice hint of oak in your wine and do not have oak barrels for aging, we suggest you try our all natural, 100% oak dust packets. Simply add the contents of one packet per 5.3 or 6 gallon pail of juice at fermentation time. The oak will filter off with the lees, leaving your wine with a nice oak aroma and flavor.
After filling and securing the airlock in place, store your full fermentation vessel in a place which will maintain the optimum temperature of 21-24C (70-76F) for fermentation. In its first stages, the process of fermentation will be visible. Within 48 hours you should notice air bubbles in the airlock, signaling the beginning of fermentation. Allow your wine to ferment from 14 to 20 days. After the 14th day, check the specific gravity until it reads .995 or you may check the balling instead, looking for a reading of 1.0 (these readings will produce a dryer wine).
Continue checking the specific gravity or balling every 3 days until your wine has reached the desired reading. When your wine has achieved the desired specific gravity or balling, fermentation is complete. Because some wines are more desirable sweet and others dry, consult your local home wine shop for recommended sugar content to suite your taste and varietal choice.
After fermentation is complete, you will be ready to rack your wine. This process will separate the clear wine and prepare it for aging.
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Racking New Wine
Racking new wine is a process which separates the clear wine from the lees (the heavy sediments at the bottom of your fermenting vessel). To rack your new wine you will need:
- a sterile siphon tube
- a sterile aging vessel (glass plastic, stainless steel, or oak barrel)
- a sterile glass measuring cup
Begin racking by placing a sterile siphon tube into the wine, making sure the end is several inches above the lees (Please see diagram). WINE MUST BE SIPHONED, NOT POURED! Siphon the wine into a sterile aging vessel as the presence of air greatly increases the chance of oxidation or spoilage. If necessary, you may need to top your new wine with finished wine. Once completely full, place an airlock on the vessel.
*We strongly suggest at the point that you add 1 gram of potassium sorbate for every gallon of wine being made (this serves as a preservative). We also recommend adding 1 gram of potassium metabisulfite per gallon of wine (an anti-oxidant) before aging. Do not add directly to wine. Dissolve these additives in one cup of unfinished wine. Pour the wine/potassium mixture into the filtered new wine and mix well before topping.
To achieve maximum clarity, your wine may be racked again in 1-2 months. It is important to maintain the optimum temperature during the racking process. You should also be sure that the siphon tube is several inches above the lees before beginning the racking process. In the unlikely even that clarity in not achieved, a third racking may be prudent. If you are unable to achieve clarity, consult your local home wine shop for assistance.
After you have achieved the desired age and clarity, your wine is ready to be bottled.
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Bottling Your Finished Wine
After your wine has aged and has reached desirable clarity, it is time to bottle. You will need:
- sterile wine bottles
- sterile corks or screw caps
- a narrow mouth funnel or other filling device
Using a narrow mouth funnel, fill you sterile bottles completely and cork. Use ONLY sterile corks or caps. Again, we caution you to fill bottles completely as excess air will allow oxidation and spoilage.
You may prefer to use screw caps instead of corks. This is solely a matter of personal preference.
After corking, store the bottles in a cool, dry place (18C/68F). Corked bottles should be stored on their sides. This will keep the cork moist and expanded, preventing air from entering the bottle. If using screw top caps store the bottles upright.
Remember that each wine has an optimum aging time. Drinking your wine before it has time to age may result in a "green" or bitter tasting wine. Waiting too long to drink your wine may result in a slightly vinegary taste.
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*For technical assistance please consult your nearest local home wine shop. For assistance in locating a store near you, please contact us direct by calling (559) 432-3170 or by E-mail at: email@example.com