I am very passionate about wine and recently started making my own. I was surprised at how cheap it is to get started. I use kits from Wilkinson which are around £8.50 and the side of the kit tells you what you need. I borrowed a 5 liter demi john from a friend but you can pick them up quite cheap at car boot sales and charity shops. You will also need brewing sugar, a bung and air lock (very cheap at wilko) and a syphon, the rest is all in the kit.
I can’t say enough about how easy it. Just follow the instructions and in 20 days you have wine. It does benefit from being left in the bottle a little longer after the 20 days as it’s quite tart when it comes out of the demi john.
I have so far tried 3 kits and have a fourth currently brewing. The first was the elderflower wine (pictured above).
The wine was delicate and very tasty. The kit made just under 6 bottles. I don’t think I’ll make this one again as I couldn’t really taste the elderflower and the flowers float in the demi john making it hard to bottle without getting flowers up the syphon.
Next up was the strawberry wine. Again just under 6 bottles and can’t say it was particularly strawberry flavoured but it was a sweet and fruity rose. I drank a bottle one evening and could definitely feel the effects, apparently it should be around 12% but I am yet to obtain a hydrometer to confirm this. This was so tasty that it didn’t actually last very long. Yum yum.
Last is the black cherry wine. This was a fun brew. I think I got to much air in the mixture when I shook the ingredients together (stir next time) and with the heating coming on in the house the brew exploded leaving red wine stains on the back of the cupboard door. I discovered this is called vigorous fermentation. Thankfully in the end I had a light a fruity red wine, so light it almost tastes like a rose. I think because the kit didn’t have any tannin to add it didn’t have that signature red wine feel. This kit made a full 6 bottles, 3 of which I still have left.
The point of me home brewing was to try and build a stock pile of Christmas. However me being the aforementioned passionate wine drinker I manage to clear the stash before the next batch is finished. In the new year I will be ramping up the wine making with a 25 liter kit which will make 30 bottles. I have no idea where I’m going to put it all. I’ll be gifting a fair bit of it I think.
I’ll do another post soon with the results of the chardonnay kit and my lessons learnt through trial and error.