The process is not hard, but it takes a little more time than brewing beer.
Like most wines only use ripe fruit and discard any that have bruising or rot. I usually scoop the fruit (don’t use the skins as that will make your wine very bitter) and place in a freezer bag, remove air, tie and freeze. This makes the pulp very mushy when thawed.
I use approx 1.5 kg of pulp per 5L, so if you were making 20L you would aim for about 6kg of pulp.
Place the 6kg of pulp in your fermenter and add approx 4L of boiling water. This will help thaw the fruit. Mash the fruit with a potato masher. Put 200gms of raisins in a food processor with a little water and make into a pulp. Add this to your fermenter. Add cold water to take level to approx 20 Litres.
Crush 4 Campden tablets between two teaspoons and add. Take an SG reading with your hydrometer and calculate the volume of sugar to take SG to approx 1.090. When you allow for ‘Topping Up’ this will leave you with an approx 12% wine. Depending on the sweetness of the fruit, I would expect you to be adding somewhere between 3.5 and 4.5 kg of sugar (but this is only a guide).
Add your sugar and stir well to dissolve. Place lid on fermenter and add airlock. Wait 12 hours, then add 4 tsp of Pectic Enzyme (pectolase) and 3 level tsp of Tartaric Acid. Stir well with a sterlised stirrer and place lid on and wait a further 12 hours.
Sprinkle wine yeast (do not stir it in) and 3 tsp of yeast nutrient, place lid on and leave to ferment (Vintners Harvest SN9 or AV4 are good options). Stir the must (wine solution) every day for the next 5 days. After 7 days strain off the fruit from the wine solution. Discard the fruit and continue fermenting the liquid.
After a further 3 weeks, rack to a second fermenter, leaving the solids in the bottom. By now all fermentation should have finished. Add clearing agent to assist to clear the wine. Also add two crushed Campden Tablets. 24 hours later add 2 level tsp of Potassium Sorbate. Replace lid with airlock and stir vigorously for 5 minutes, 6 times over the next 24 hours. Once this has been completed, add Sugar Syrup to achieve desired sweetness. Your wine should not ferment any more when you replace the airlock.
Leave for a further 3 weeks then rack again as above (but without adding any further Campden Tablets of Potassium Sorbate.) Wait another 3 weeks.
If wine is clear, bottle. If not, rack and wait another 3 weeks.
That’s the basic process. There are many other tricks and tips, but probably too much for a quick email. My final words of advice...Don’t skimp on the fruit. If in doubt, be more generous and add more fruit than what the recipe says.
Posted: Thursday 11 January 2018