Below is a guide to get your juice to ferment into great wine! Do not hesitate to ask us questions as they arrive. As you make more wine you may try different techniques or add to the process. One of the many things that I have learned in making wine or beer is that you ask 10 winemakers a question, you will get 12 answers!
Day of Juice Pick-Up
1. Clean and sanitize all your winemaking tools, supplies and equipment.
2. Transfer the must (your unfermented wine) to your fermenter.
3. During the transfer, add Potassium Metabisulfate solution (at an approximate rate of 1/4 tsp per 5 gallon). Mix well.
4. Take a sample to test for specific gravity (Brix), acidity and pH. Record the results. (Ask one of the PBS Crew if you have not tested wine before or are unsure of what numbers to record)
5. Keep in a cool place overnight.
The Day After Pick-Up
6. Adjust the acidity as necessary using tartaric acid. Reference the chart that comes in the Acid Test Kit for recommended levels.
7. Prepare yeast
Heat about 50 mL distilled or non chlorinated water to 108 °F (42 °C).
Mix the Go-Ferm into the water to make a suspension.
Take the temperature. Pitch the yeast when the suspension is 104 °F (40 °C).
Sprinkle the yeast on the surface and gently mix so that no clumps exist.
Let sit for 15 minutes undisturbed.
8.Acclimate Your Yeast (Match Temperature of Yeast to Must)
Measure the temperature of the yeast suspension.
Measure the temperature of the must.
Do not add the yeast to your cool juice if the temperature of the yeast and the must temperature difference exceeds 15 °F (8 °C).To avoid temperature shock, acclimate your yeast by taking about 10 mL of the must juice and adding it to the yeast suspension.
Wait 15 minutes and measure the temperature again. Do this until you are within the specified temperature range.
Do not let the yeast sit in the original water suspension for longer than 20 minutes.
9.When the yeast is ready, add it to the fermenter and mix.
During the Next One to Two Days
10. Signs of fermentation should start to appear. This will appear as some foaming on the must surface and activity in the airlock.
Next Steps - When Your Gravity Goes Down
11.When the specific gravity or Brix is about 1/3 of the way down from your original gravity (after about a 1/3 sugar depletion) add Fermaid K or other yeast nutrient.
Disolve in warm non chlorinated water, add, and mix.
Mix slowly, at this point you may have a significant amount of Co2 that has been absorbed into the wine.
Speaking from experience, if you add and stir too quickly it may erupt and you will have a mess and less wine!
Transferring to Your Carboy (Approximately 2 Weeks)
12. When your gravity is down to approximately 1.000 or lower, transfer into the appropriate carboy. Make sure you do not have any headspace in the carboy.
Test in Another 7 to 10 Days (For Final Gravity)
13. If you have reached your final gravity, which is based on personal preference, mix approximately 1/2 tsp per gallon of wine of Potassium Sorbate with enough non chlorinated water to dissolve, and add to the wine
.994 - .996 dry
.996 - 1.00 is off dry to sweet
1.000 and higher is sweet
Use your senses and taste the wine to see if you like the way it tastes.
*If you have not reached your final gravity at this time - wait longer and test every 2 days. It will not move fast at this point.
Over the Next YEAR (Clarify, De-Gas, Add Wood or Barrel and Bottle)
14. Let the wine sit in a cool dark area for 1 to 12 months. Make sure to maintain sanitation solution in the airlock during the aging process.
15. Rack the wine at least twice over 3-4 months into sanitized vessels to clarify and de-gas.
16. Once the wine is cleared, about 8 months after fermentation, get ready to bottle.
17. Bottle Your Wine! (or Box it)
If all has gone well to this point, given the quantity made, filter (optional) the wine, and then bottle.
Maintain sanitary conditions while bottling.
Once bottled, periodically check your work by opening a bottle to enjoy with friends.