What Is Cold Stabilization?

Wine Going Through Cold StabilizationWe look forward to and enjoy your email newsletter and have learned a lot from your subscribers’ questions. Now one of our own…

On a stop on a recent Missouri winery tour was an area for cold aging, where wine coming off secondary fermentation was chilled in the fermenter to around 28 degrees to help dissolved chemicals and remaining suspended yeast cells to fall out of solution before the wine was siphoned off into oak barrels. We don’t see this step in home wine recipes. Is cold aging beneficial to small-batch wines? If so, should it be done in the secondary fermenter after yeast action has stopped, or can it be done after bottling?

Thanks as always.
Ed
_____
Hello Ed,

What you are referring to is something called cold stabilization in wine making. The wine is chilled down directly after fermentation to speed up the settling of wine yeast cells and other suspended proteins. The yeast cells will become inactive or dormant at lower temperatures allowing them to go to sleep, so to speak, and settle out.Shop Bentonite

Chilling a wine after fermentation also causes any excess acids in the wine to form into crystals and fall out. This is known as acid precipitation. If the grape harvest that year was too high in acid, or to tart, bringing the wines temperature down will cause this excess acids to crystallize and then drop out as sediment.

Cold stabilization is only done in wine making after the fermentation has completed and the wine has been given a day or two for the heavier particles to fall out on their own through gravity. It’s a way of making the wine temperature stable so that bad things don’t happen after the wine has been bottled.

If the wine was too high in acid the cold stabilization process were skipped, acid crystals could start to precipitate out later on in the bottle, even while sitting in someone’s wine rack. Acid precipitation would be an absolute disaster for a winery, but not so much for the home winemaker.Shop Wine Filters

Cold stabilization is beneficial if you are making wine from fresh fruits, and most beneficial when making wine from fresh grapes. If you are a home winemaker who is making wine from grapes every year, then yes, you might consider putting your wine through cold stabilization and chilling it down to for a few days before bottling or bulk-aging.

For most home winemakers though, this is not a process that can be practically accomplished. And that’s okay. Realize that there are many commercial wineries that never ever chill there wines. There are other ways of controlling excess acidity. And there are other ways to drop proteins out of a wine – time being one of them.

If you are making wine from wine concentrates or wine ingredient kits, then cold stabilization is pointless. This is because the acids have already been adjusted by the producer to make sure acid precipitation does not occur. There are no protein solids from any fruit to deal with either. When dealing with these packaged wineShop Temp Controller juices the only thing to be concerned about are the yeast cells, and these will easily drop out fine on their own or with a little help from a fining agent such a bentonite.

Chilling a wine down, aka cold stabilization, does have a place in winemaking, however as I think you can see, it’s a far cry from being an absolute must-have. Great wines can – and are – being made without such treatment.  But with that being said, if you have a spare refrigerator and a bucket of wine, go for it!

Happy Wine Making,
Ed Kraus
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

How To Use Bottle Sealing Wax

Man Using Sealing WaxDear Mr. Kraus,

Did not receive any instructions on how to use the bottle sealing wax beads I ordered . What is the best method to melt the wax beads. Have never used this wax before. Do you sell some type of melter. If you would please let me know how to use.

Thanks,
Sammy L.
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Hello Sammy,

How you use the bottle sealing wax can vary somewhat. There is not a specific way it has to be used.

We recommend melting the sealing wax in a tin of the appropriate size. This can be something as small as a soup can if you are only doing 5 bottles. If you are doing 50 bottles you may want to use something as large as an old 2 pound coffee can tin. Sit the tin in a pan of water to make a double boiler on the stove. This will help the wax to heat more evenly over a period of time.

Once the sealing wax is melted you will want it to stay in that tin, permanently. The wax if very hard to remove once in a container, so don’t actually put the bottle sealing wax in any good pots or pans, themselves.

How to use the bottle sealing wax is something that can be approached from a couple of different angles:Shop Sealing Wax

 

  • Dip the whole neck of the wine bottle into the sealing wax.
    Not only will the wax be sealing the wine bottle air-tight, but it will also become part of the wine bottle’s decorative decor. The colors look incredible against the glass and can work together with the wine label to a bottle of wine worth sharing.The downside is that this method can use up quite a bit of bottle sealing wax. One pound of wax will do about 40 to 80 bottles depending on how far you dip the neck into the wax. You may also need more sealing wax than this to create a reservoir deep enough to coat the amount of the bottle neck you want. This is dependent on the profile of the tin you select.
  • Pour the sealing wax directly onto the cork itself.
    The second way to use the sealing wax is more efficient but not as decorative. Inset the cork by an eighth to a quarter of an inch into the neck of the wine bottle. Then pour a disk of wax into the inset. You will want to pinch a spout onto the tin you are using. Heat protective gloves will be needed for this method, as well. Just like dipping the bottle into the wax, the cork is sealed air-tight, but will use much less sealing wax per wine bottle. You will usually get about 150 bottles per pound done with this method.Shop Heat Shrink Capsules

 

As you can see, how to use bottle sealing wax beads is open to some interpretation. If you are looking for full decorative value, dip the bottle neck into the sealing wax. If you are only wanting to make a better seal then use the second method and add a layer of sealing wax on top of the cork, itself.

Happy Wine Making,
Ed Kraus
—–
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

Batch-Saving Tips For Re-Bottling Wine

Re-Bottled Wine In CellarWe bottled Lambrusco wine in February. We tasted 2 months later and decided it was just not going to be sweet enough. Is it ok to remove the corks-put back into clean container and sweeten more with the wine conditioner and then re-bottle the wine?

Name: Barbara
State: Kentucky
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Hello Barbara,

Unfortunately, we get asked this question quite often. I’ll start off by giving you the short answer, “yes, re-bottling wine is possible”.

What you are asking to do may sound simple in principal, but there are some considerations that need to be thought through first:

 

  • It is important to know that you will not be able to reuse the wine corks that you’re are pulling out of the wine bottles. There is no way to sanitize the wine corks completely after wine has saturated into them. Also, the corks have been put through a corking once so they would be more difficult to press into the wine bottle without destroying them. For these reasons when re-bottling wine you will need to consider the original wine corks a loss and use new ones.
  • The wine bottles will need to be cleaned and and sanitized again, so this will be extra work beyond just decanting and re-bottling the wine. I recommend using Basic A for this purpose. The amount of time it will take you to empty all the wine bottles, sweeten the wine and then bottle the wine back up is too long to leave them sitting, exposed to air with the residue of wine in them.
  • Shop Wine CorksAfter stirring in the Wine Conditioner to sweeten the wine, you will also need to add a sulfite back into it, just as you did the first time you bottled the wine. You can use either Campden tablets, sodium metabisulfite or potassium metabisulfite. Both the glugging of the wine as it pours out of the bottle into a bucket and the stirring of the wine as the Wine Conditioner is being blended will saturate air into the wine. This is something that can cause your wine to oxidize. Oxidation can potentially cause the wine to turn brown or orange in color and give it a smell and taste that resembles raisins or caramel. By adding the sulfites you will easily drive the oxygen back out of the wine.
  • One last thing: when re-bottling wine I would also recommend adding a dose of ascorbic acid to this wine in such a situation. Ascorbic acid is good for raising the acidity level of a wine without raising the acid taste or tartness. The ascorbic acid will help by consuming free oxygen they may still be left in the wine. This will also help to hinder any oxidation of the wine.

 

Shop Wine Bottle CorkersHaving considered all the above, you can also sweeten the wine as you drink it. I realize that the esthetics of sweetening a wine in a carafe or a glass as-you-go is not all that sophisticated nor satisfying, but it will save you a lot of work and still get you your sweet wine. A bottle of honey works well for such an occasion.

Regardless of what path you decide to take, just realize the re-bottling wine is something that can be done. Just be sure to follow the precautions listed above.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

Making Fortified Wine By Adding Brandy!

Making Fortified WineHave you ever thought about fortifying homemade wine. It’s an interesting style that’s made through a relatively simple process. You might want to see if it’s something you’re interested in…

If you don’t know what a fortified wine is, it’s a wine to which brandy or some other spirit has been added. Since brandy and other distilled products are high in alcohol – typically around 40% or 80 proof – this will raise the finished alcohol level of the wine. The home winemaker can do the very same thing by adding brandy to homemade wine.

From a traditional standpoint, fortification was done to make a wine more stable during long trips by ship or by cart. The wine’s alcohol level was raised to around 17% to 22% with the addition of brandy. The higher alcohol level acted as a preservative, diminishing the chance of spoilage during the long journey.

The big three fortified wines that most people have heard of are: Sherry, Madeira and Port. All three are Old World wines: Sherry originating from Spain, Madeira and Port from Portugal.

Shop Wine BottlesThe first thing the home winemaker needs to understand before making fortified wine with their homemade wine is that this process can be somewhat costly. For a five gallon batch of wine it takes five fifths (750ml) of brandy to raise the batch by 6-2/3 percent alcohol. With a typical fortified wine being about 20% alcohol and the cheapest bottle of brandy being about $10 to $13 a bottle, making fortified wine can be somewhat cost prohibitive.

With this in mind, the best strategy for the home winemaker is to get as much alcohol as they can from the fermentation, itself. To learn how to get the most alcohol out of a fermentation you might want to go over the article, Making High Alcohol Wines listed on our website.

Here is a calculator listing that shows how much the alcohol is raised in a 5 gallon batch with each additional 750ml bottle of brandy or other distilled spirit. This is assuming that they are 40% alcohol by volume (80 proof).

1 Bottle adds 1.5%
2 Bottles add 3.0%
3 Bottles add 4.3%
4 Bottles add 5.5%
5 Bottles add 6.7%
6 Bottles add 7.7%
7 Bottles add 8.8%

shop_liqueur_flavoringsYou will want to shoot for a total alcohol level of 17 to 22 percent. So if you have a batch of wine that has fermented to 14 percent alcohol, you might add 4 bottles to raise the total alcohol level to 19.5% (14.0 + 5.5).

When fortifying wine, you can use a regular brandy made from grape wine such as E&J and add it to a red wine you have made. This would be the most straightforward way of adding brand to a homemade wine. But there are also some other, more imaginative, things you can do.

For example, you could take a blackberry brandy and add it to a blackberry wine, or use a peach brandy to fortify a peach wine. You could also take a Merlot wine and add to it a raspberry brandy to accent its flavors. With all the different types of brandys that are available, the combinations are endless.

It is important that you make sure the fermentation is done before fortifying the wine with brandy. Once the wine has been fortified you will have great difficulty getting the wine to ferment, ever again. Not only does fortifying wine help to stop spoilage, it helps to stop fermentation.

Shop Wine Ingredient KitsAfter fortifying the wine, continue on as you would with making any other wine. If you are using a wine ingredient kit continue following the directions. If you are making wine from fresh fruit, give the wine plenty of time to clear and bottle as you normally would.

As you can see fortifying wine is not all that complicated. It is mostly a matter of adding brandy to a homemade wine. And, it makes a wonderful after-dinner wine. The brandy’s intensity combined with the original wine’s character, creates a powerfully, pleasant drink.
—–
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

Clearing A Cloudy Wine…

Winemaker Clear A Cloudy WineWhat can I use to remove the cloudiness in my wine. Can you help? I’ve strained the wine 2 times and it is still cloudy.

Thanks John
_____

Hello John,

What needs to be determined is, “why is the wine cloudy“? Is it from pectin cells in the fruit? Is it from suspended yeast cells? Is it from starches in the fruit? Or, is it because the wine simply needs more time to clear up?

In any case, the cause of the cloudiness needs to be determined before you can take any action. Anything less is just taking a stab at the issue. Determine why the wine is cloudy then take appropriate actions.

The first thing that should be done is a specific gravity reading should be taken with a wine hydrometer. This will tell you if the wine has completed its fermentation. If the specific gravity is .996 or less, this would indicate that the wine fermentation has finished. If the specific gravity is above .996 but not fermenting then you have a stuck fermentation and you need to determine why it is stuck.

Shop BentoniteIf the wine is still fermenting, even slightly, this would most likely be the cause of the cloudiness. In this case, just let the wine finish fermenting. Be a little patient and the wine will most likely clear in due time.

If the wine hydrometer has indicated that the wine has completed its fermentation, you will want to see if the top half of the batch is more clear than the bottom half. If so, this would indicate that the wine just needs a few more days to clear up. After a wine has completed fermenting it usually needs a week or two to clear up. Most homemade wine instructions will indicate this time period.

If you’re sure it’s been more than two weeks since the wine has completed fermenting, and it’s still cloudy, then it may be time to start using wine making products such as fining or clearing agents.

Treating the wine with bentonite would be the first step I would suggest. It’s an effective fining agent that most likely will solve your problem completely. But, if you see only marginal improvement, you should switch to Sparkolloid for a second treatment. In general, Sparkolloid will take out what bentonite doesn’t and vice versa.Shop Sparkolloid

If the bentonite clears the wine almost completely, but there’s still a slight murkiness, then you should switch to a polishing clarifier such as our Kitosol 40. You might want to check out the article, Using Finings To Improve Your Wine. It will give you more detail about fining agents and other wine making products you can use to clear your wine.

Happy Wine Making
Ed Kraus
—–
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

3 Wine Making Starter Kits: Which One’s Right For You?

One Of The Wine Making Starter kitsMy husband asked me to write you and ask about which of your wine making starter kits he should get to make wine with. He does not really know the difference between them and would like you to advise on how to get started.

Brenda
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Dear Brenda,

We have three different complete home wine making starter kits for beginners. Each has a collection of the necessities you will need to start making wine. The equipment in these wine making starter kits are of the same quality items you can purchase from us individually, only this way they are packaged together at a reduced price. This makes these kits a great value for someone starting out.

Each of these starter kits were carefully put together with simplicity in mind. We wanted to make it as easy as possible for you to make your first batch of wine without a lot of confusion and frustration. Truth is, what want you coming back to make more.

We also spent a lot of time selecting the equipment that goes into these wine making starter kits. We wanted to make sure that everything is of high quality – not cheap stuff – but equipment that will last you for many batches of wine.

We also want your first batch of wine to turn out exceptional. That’s why we did not go for the cheapest wine making juices you can find. These a remarkable wine making juices that will make wine you can be proud of. Again, we want your wine to turn out so good that you cannot resist coming back for more.

 

  1. Your Fruit! Wine Making Starter KitYour Fruit Wine Making Kit As the name implies, this is a fruit wine making starter kit. It has all the equipment and ingredients you will need to make wine using fruit you already have. It makes 5 gallons at a time. It includes two books that contain well over a 100 different wine recipes. The wine making instructions you will use with this kit are very easy to follow. With this kit you can make wines from raspberries, peaches, dandelions, blackberries, strawberries, rhubarb, watermelon… The list is very extensive. You can also use the wine recipes on our website’s Recipes Page with this starter kit. If you are wanting to make wine from your own fruit then of the three wine making kits, this is the one your want.
  1. The SunCal Wine Making Starter KitSunCal Wine Making Kit This kit contains all the equipment and ingredients you will need to make wine using your choice of any one of our SunCal concentrated grape juices. Very simple directions are provided. Start off with your choice of wine. Each can makes 5 gallons. You will also have additional yeast and other wine making ingredients for making additional batches. All you need is more SunCal concentrate.
  1. Connoisseur Wine Making Starter Kit This kit will allow you to make wine, starting with your choice of Connoisseur wine ingredient kit. These ingredient kits contain the grape juice concentrate and all the additional ingredients you will need, Connoisseur Wine Making Kitpre-measured and ready to go. After you make your first batch, you will have all the wine making equipment you need to make wine using any of our 200+ boxed ingredient kits. If you are wanting to make a large variety of different grape wines, then of the of the three wine making kits, this is the one you want to get.

 

Each of these home wine making starter kits are designed with simplicity in mind. They give you exactly what you need, whether it be making wine from fresh fruits or from packaged wine juices. So now I ask: which of these wine making starter kits is right for you?

Happy Wine Making,
Ed Kraus
—–
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

What Does Potassium Sorbate Do To Wine?

Wine With Potassium SorbateI have an issue with your description of potassium sorbate that uses the word “inhibit”. I have looked this word up in the Merrian-Webster dictionary. The first listing says that ‘inhibit’ means to stop. The second says that ‘inhibit’ means to hold in check. Holding in check in my mind is not a guarantee of much. Does anyone really know the story? What does potassium sorbate do to wine?

Tom
_____
Hi Tom,

Potassium sorbate is not used to stop a fermentation. In fact, it is not very effective at stopping a fermentation, if effective at all. Your second definition of inhibit is the most accurate, to hold in check, but let’s forget about the definitions for now and let me try to explain what potassium sorbate is actually doing to a wine.

When it becomes time to bottle your wine, no matter how may times the wine has been racked or how crystal clear the wine may look, there are still some yeast cells in the wine. It’s not the billions of cells that are associated with a full-fledged fermentation – almost all of the yeast cells are now gone through racking – but none the less, there are a few cells, just too few to see with the naked-eye.

Shop Potassium SorbateUsually, these wine yeast cells just lay dormant, but if there are sugars available in the wine, it is very possible that the yeast can start to become active and begin to reproduce themselves. Over time, they can rebuild the yeast colony to a size that can become problematic for a bottled wine. The wine will become sparkled and worse yet, the bottles could start popping corks or popping bottles from the pressure built up from a fermentation! But, this is all based on the premise that the yeast are able to grow in numbers and have sugar available to ferment.

This is where potassium sorbate comes into play. It stops the yeast cells from reproducing themselves so that a fermentation does not occur within the wine bottles. It does this by putting a coating the individual yeast cells. This coating interrupts the budding or reproduction process, keeping the yeast cell count at bay.

The only problem is that the yeast that are currently living in your wine will continue to do so until they decide to die of natural causes – old age. The colony will slowly die. How long it takes varies. It is dependent on the size of the remaining colony, the type of wine yeast, and the conditions they are in – temperature, etc. In most cases it takes days, but it can take weeks and sometimes months.Shop Potassium Bisulfite

It is not until the current generation dies that the chance of re-fermentation can be completely gone. This is why it is good to get your wine as clear as conveniently possible. Using fining agents such as bentonite is not a bad idea to help drop out the wine yeast. And most importantly use sulfites. This is one of the reasons sulfites are recommended at bottling time – to speed up the death of the wine yeast.

So what does potassium sorbate do to wine? It keeps the yeast from growing out of control. It keeps what little, insignificant yeast cell count at bay, and stops them from reproducing and growing into problematic numbers.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus

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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

The Art Of Fining And Filtering Wine

Fining And Filtering WineYour article on fining agents was superb. It informed as to what other benefits (other than clarity in a wine) that fining agents can produce. My question regards the connection (or benefits) of fining and filtering wine. 1) If you filter a wine, should you also use a fining agent? 2) Conversely, if you’re fining a wine, is filtering no longer suggested? 3) Do you recommend both fining and filtering wine? 4) What would be the benefits of using both ?

Thank you
Steve
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Dear Steve,

How you handle the combination of fining and filtering wine is partially an art. I say this because there are really no hard-fast rules to be followed. Both processes are tools that the winemaker has at their disposal to help shape a wine with the characteristics they desire. Experience will help the winemaker to use these tools more effectively.

The difference between fining and filtering wine is subtle.

Certain wine fining agents will settle out certain particles more readily the others. For example, gelatin is not very good at settling out large volumes of yeast and other proteins, while bentonite on the other hand is. However, gelatin is good Shop Wine Filtersat settling out that last, little bit of particles, while bentonite isn’t. Some wine fining agents are better at removing bitterness, or harsh aromas than other. And, so-on and so-forth… How you decide to treat the wine with fining agents will shapes the wine to some degree, as well as clear it.

When you filter a wine, you are mostly concerned with clarity. While the finest filter pads can reduce color and body to a minor degree, adding a beautiful polish can be done with the coarsest of wine filter pads – 6 microns, for example.

A recommendation I do make is that if you do decide to filter a wine, always treat it with bentonite, first. This will help to drop out any excess proteins that is in the wine, including the yeast. As a fining agent bentonite is great at clearing out large volumes of particles. This will allow your filter pads to last longer and not clog up with every gallon or two of wine being filtered. But beyond this, whether you decide to filter, or not, or what type of other wine fining agents you decide to use, if any, is completely up to you.

Shop Mini Jet Wine FilterAgain, it is important for you to know that just like some fining agents, filtering a wine can effect its body and color as well as its clarity. Depending on the fineness of the filter pad you choose, some body and color can be taken out of the wine. The finer the filter pad the more likely body and color will be reduced.

For the heaviest of wines this is usually an improvement in the sense that reduction in color will rarely be noticeable, and the amount of aging (maturation) needed will be brought down to a more reasonable time-frame through the removal of excessive body elements. For example, two years instead of five.

For lighter white wines, a fine filter pad (.5 microns or less) may be selected to reduce color and body as much as possible, making the wine look a faint-yellow instead of a straw colored and adding to the wine’s light, crisp character that it often looked for with such wines.Shop Super Jet Wine Filter

There is also the issue of the wine’s stability. Both fining and filtering a wine will help to make it more stable. By reducing the amount of tannins and other proteins there is less chance of the wine forming deposits while aging in the wine bottle.

As a novice winemaker, I would suggest that you take a middle-of-the-road approach when it comes to filtering and fining wines. Treat the wine with bentonite a few days after the fermentation has completed and then filter the wine right before bottling with a medium (1 micron) or coarse (6 micron) filter pad. This is a good starting place if you are not sure how you would like to proceed.

Happy Wine Making,
Ed Kraus
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

The Ultimate Home Wine Making Starter Kit For Beginners!

Home Wine Making Starter Kit For BeginnersOkay, you’ve just gotten a wine making starter kit, but before diving head first into the fun of making some wine, it might be a good idea to get an understanding of what’s actually in the kit and what it’s used for – an introduction.

Of course, all of the wine making starter kits that you can buy are going to be slightly different, depending upon the brand and upon what type of wine you wish to make.  Here is a breakdown on some of the items found in one of these typical wine making starter kits, and how each item functions to produce your best homemade wine.

 

  • Tuff-Tank and Carboy:  The main purpose of these items is to ferment, hold, and store your wine throughout the wine making process.  Specifically, the Tuff-Tank is used for primary fermentation, and the carboy is used for secondary fermentation. These two items are the centerpiece of a home wine making starter kit.
  • Air Locks:  Just as the name suggest, these items keep air from penetrating your homemade wine and protects the wine against oxidation and other undesirable contaminants from spoiling your hard work and effort.
  • Racking Tubes and Hoses These function to help aid in the racking process: to transfer wine from one vessel to another while leaving the undesired lees behind in the first vessel.  Racking occurs on average between 2-4 times throughout the wine making process.
  • Hydrometer and Hydrometer Jar These items are a very important part of any of wine making starter kit.  The wine hydrometer helps you keep an eye on the fermentation process; telling you what the alcohol content of the wine is along the way.  The hydrometer jar allows you to measure the alcohol content of just a small sample of wine rather than measuring the entire contents of your carboy.  Fill the hydrometer jar to the desired level, and submerge the hydrometer into the hydrometer jar to determine how far along your fermentation has gotten.
  • Stirring Spoon: This is a somewhat more obvious piece of wine making equipment found in a wine making starter kit. It lets you stir your wine in order to maximize the surface area and contact time between the wine and the lees, increasing the overall quality of your finished homemade wine.
  • Wine Bottle Brush and CleanPro SDH Cleaner: You need to be working in an environment that is as sanitary as practically possible. The bottle brush and SDH cleaner will allow you to do just that. The cleaner functions as a sanitizer for all the equipment in your home wine making starter wine kit, giving you a clean environment for each and every batch. Buy Wine Kits
  • Capsules and Corks:  To close up the bottles of wine in a more traditional fashion, many home wine making kits will supply corks.  Finally, the capsules add style and sophistication to the presentation of your finished wine.
  • Wine Making Juice: Most starter kits for beginners do not come with the wine concentrate. They consist of the wine making equipment, only. Our wine making starter kit includes the wine ingredient kit for your first batch, as well. You get your choice of dozens of wine types to start off with: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, etc.

 

These are the basics of a home wine making starter kit. You can find more information about our wine making starter kit on our website.
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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

Campden Tablets: What They Can And Can’t Do.

Campden Tablets In JarOne of the most commonly used ingredients in home wine making are Campden tablets. You will find them in almost any of the wine making recipes you will use; talked about in almost any of the wine making books you will read; and called into action by just about any of the homemade wine instructions you will follow.

 

What Do Campden Tablets Do?
The original reason Campden tablets were used in wine making was to keep the wine from spoiling after it had been bottled. By adding these tablets at bottling time, you could virtually eliminate any chance of your wine falling victim to mold,

bacteria and other foreign enemies.

 

Since their introduction into wine making, Campden tablets have also become routinely used for sterilizing the juice prior to fermentation. By adding Campden tablets a day before adding your wine yeast, you can start your fermentation with a clean slate, so to speak. All the unwanted micro organisms will be gone.

Some home winemakers also use Campden tablets with water to create a sanitizing solution. This solution will safely sanitize fermenters, air-lock, stirring spoons, hoses and all the other pieces of equipment that may come into contact with the wine must.Shop Wine Yeast

 

What Campden Tablets Don’t Do?
Many beginning winemakers believe that Campden tablets are a magic pill of sorts. One that can instantaneously stop a wine fermentation dead in its tracks. While it is true that Campden tablets can bring a fermentation to its knees for a period of time, it is also true that these fermentations will usually gather themselves back up and eventually overcome the effects of the tablets. The result is a continued fermentation – sometimes after the wine has been bottled.

Truth is, Campden tablets are not designed to stop a fermentation and never have been. Using them for that purpose can get you into all kinds of trouble. There is really no ingredient that can be safely used by itself to assuredly stop a fermentation.

 

What Are Campden Tablets?
Simply put, Campden tablets are metabisulfite. When you add a tablet to the wine you are adding sulfites to the wine. Most CampdenShop Winemaking For Dummies tablets consist of potassium metabisulfite, but some are made with sodium metabisulfite.

 

How Are Campden Tablets Used?
Their use is fairly straight-forward. You add one tablet to each gallon of wine must 24 hour prior to adding the wine yeast – before the fermentation. Then you add one table per gallon just before bottling.

The Campden tablets must first be crushed and dissolved in a small amount of the wine or water. This mix is then stirred thoroughly into the rest of the batch.

You can use the Campden tablets to create a sanitizing solution by crushing up 4 tablets into a quart of water. This can be used as a sanitizing rinse, or you can pour it into a fermentation container and allow the fumes to sanitize the entire insides.Shop Potassium Bisulfite

 

As An Alternative To The Campden Tablet…
You can use potassium metabisulfite or sodium metabisulfite in the form of a granulated powder. The advantages are: you don’t have to crush it up; and it is cheaper. The disadvantage is you have to measure out the dosage, which is 1/16 teaspoon per tablet.

 

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Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.