Stay CLEAN. Sanitize everything that comes into contact with your wine. This cannot be overstated.
Airspace - it is GOOD to have d uring initial fermentation, and BADto have post fermentation.
Always use a hydrometer to determine if you r wine is fu ll fermented. Youreyeswill not always be right.
Stabilizing your wine is a requirement, it is a safeguard against bacterial infection, oxidization, and secondary fermentation Not using stabilizer is an effective way of wasting your money!
Temperature - If you ferment below 20.5c the fermentation will be very slow and might even stop pre-maturely. Ferment your wine at 22c.
Equipment Needed (for a 22L Batch)
30 Liter Fermenter, a 5 gallon carboy or you can re-use the canisters our juice came in, and a 23L pail.
Hydrometer, siphon tubing, J-Tube. Optional; plastic spoon, filling tube, bung and airlock if using a carboy.
Potassium metabisulphite (sanitizer), stabilizer, yeast. Optionol. yeast nutrient, gelatin & kieselsol for clarifying white wine
Take the 11L plastic container, and pour the juice into the sterilized carboy or plastic fermenter. Leave 7-8 inches of space at the top of the carboy or fermenter. You can safely fit two of our canisters into the 30L fermenter. lf you are using a carboy to ferment you will need a gallon jug for overflow. The gallon jug must also have 3-4 inches of space below the neck. Remember, airspace is good for fermentation. The fermenting juice will bubble up considerably ond the air space prevents it from spilling.
Take a specific gravity (s.g.) reading using the hydrometer. It should usually be anywhere from 1085-1100. Write down the s.g., it will be needed to determine the alcohol % loter. Make a yeast starter by pouring approx. 100 ml of juice and 100 ml of lukewarm water into a large glass. Sprinkle the yeast into this solution and allow the yeast to proliferate for about 30 minutes at room temperature. Then pour into the fermenter or carboy using most of the starter and leave a bit for the gallon jug. Then lightly place the lid on the fermenter. Remember to ferment in a room between 20.5c and 26c. Skip this step if you are usinq a 30L fermenter. To provide the yeast with the oxygen it needs to multiply, place a paper towel in the neck of the bottles for the first 2-3 days. Then replace with bung and airlock.
The fermentation should take 7-10 days. The optimal s.g. is 996 or lower. You won't see much happening in the first two days. Days 3-6 will have lots of bubbling and action, and then it will slow down. Take a hydrometer measurement after 7 days. The wine will likely need more time still, lf the wine has not reached 996 after L4 days you can gently "swish" the carboy/fermenter to move the viable yeast inside. Adding yeast nutrient can also resolve a stuck fermentation.
Once the specific gravity is at 996 you will have successfully made wine! Now it is time to rack, because while it is wine, it's also very rough. First, siphon the wine off of its sediment into a 231 pail, then apply the stabilizer ( 1 tsp/22L wine mixed with 100ml of hot water) to help prevent oxidation and bacterial infection. Now you need to move the wine into an airtight vessel. The best, and cheapest way is to just clean out the canisters the juice came in. Tilt them back and fill to the beginning of the spout, squeeze any air out and screw on the cap. Otherwise, siphon into a 5 gallon carboy and add the bung and airlock. Remember, airspace at this stage is BAD. There should be less than an inch of space between the bung and the wine.
The wine should be placed in a very cold spot, like the garage (in the winter) a fruit cellar, or any fridge. You want to aim for somewhere between +5/-5c. The wine should sit in this cold place for at least 3 weeks. If it stays for longer, it should be racked again every 3-4 weeks. When the wine has been racked 4 times, stabilizer should be used again. Red wine will clarify in about 3 months, white can be more difficult to clarify on its own. If you desire your white wine to clarify faster, use gelatin and keiselsol finings.
When your wine is clear, it is ready to bottle. Taste the wine, and sweeten it to your taste if so desired, by adding wine conditioner. Remember to stabilize the wine just prior to bottling. Age the wine according to desired varietal characteristics.