Leigh Erwin: Starting A Wine Making Ingredient Kit

Cellar Craft Sterling wine making ingredient kitHi everyone!

I’m so excited I’m finally giving that Cellar Craft Sterling California Chardonnay another go! If you recall, the last time I started this wine making ingredient kit I totally screwed up with the fermentation temperature. It was too cool. I didn’t really catch the error until it was too late. I tried to resurrect it, but alas, it was not to be.

This time I came prepared with my fermenter heating pad and barring any long-term power outages here in Colorado (knock on wood), I shouldn’t run into that problem again!

I find it so funny that I need to use a heating element when it’s been about 90 degrees outside for the past two weeks, but at least I know that my basement is a great place to hang out if I get too warm! I keep the air conditioning running but even though I have the vents closed to the wine room, it’s still a lot cooler down there than the rest of the house, necessitating the use of the heating pad basically all year round. That’s OK with me though – whatever keeps the temperature steady makes me happy!

Anyway, I decided today’s the day I’ll be starting a wine making ingredient kit. So I pulled out the directions that came with the wine kit and got to work. I mixed together some hot water and the bentonite packets. Gotta love that clay smell! Then, I added in the wine base (love the smell of the juice!) and enough water to bring the total volume up to 23L/6gallons.

At this point, I checked the specific gravity with my wine hydrometer, and it was 1.100 at about 74°F. Running that through an online temperature corrector for the calibration temperature of my hydrometer, the specific gravity was about 1.101. At this little of a difference, I wonder if it really matters if I even do the correction. I suppose if it were borderline and I had to decide whether or not to move forward based on that value, I’d certainly want to do it. But for calculating the alcohol content at the end, I don’t think it’ll matter too much, especially since I’m not selling this to anyone!Shop Wine Making Kits

After the specific gravity reading, I added the oak shavings, gave it a stir, then sprinkled the wine yeast on the top.

I plugged in the heating pad, covered the primary fermenter, and said a silent prayer that this batch wouldn’t turn out the way the first one did! I have a better feeling about this one, so fingers crossed it all comes out the way it is supposed to!

That’s really all there is to starting a wine making ingredient kit. Now I just sit and wait for 6-8 days before checking the specific gravity again to determine if the wine is ready to move on to secondary fermentation. I have learned my lesson from last time, however, and I will be at least poking my head in daily to make sure the yeasts are doing their thing and fermenting!
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leigh_erwin_bioMy name is Leigh Erwin, and I am a brand-spankin’ new home winemaker! E. C. Kraus has asked me to share with you my journey from a first-time dabbler to an accomplished home winemaker. From time to time I’ll be checking in with this blog and reporting my experience with you: the good, bad – and the ugly.

2 thoughts on “Leigh Erwin: Starting A Wine Making Ingredient Kit

  1. I started making wine about 8 or 9 years ago. A great hobby and even though I still make mistakes, it is enjoyable. Keep up the experimentation.

  2. Hi, I had a slimmer problem, ,i lost wine & i live in az & the temp was too hot, what i came up with is a Tupperware container ( big enough for the carboy or plastic container,), a aquarium heater( one that u can regulate the temp ,about $20.000 ,never had a problem since . best of luck

    lou

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