Dabbling in wine making

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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.

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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.

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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.