It looks like it’s going to be a great year for fruits in most regions of our nation. It won’t be long before a cornucopia of fruit will be in season and ready for your wine making pleasure: blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, watermelon…
By stocking up on just a few, key wine making ingredients you’ll be ready for any type of fruit that may end up coming your way. You won’t need each ingredient in every recipe, but you’ll need most of them in all recipes.
Except for the wine yeast, just get one container of each. With the yeast you’ll want to have a variety of three or four different types to have on hand. Stock these wine making ingredients, and you’ll be ready for anything:
- Yeast Nutrient – Just like it sounds, this wine making ingredient is nutrient for the yeast. It helps to invigorate the wine yeast and get it fermenting more quickly.
- Yeast Energizer – A combination of Yeast Nutrient, vitamins and proteins. It is used for wines that lack the types of nutrients the wine yeast expect: Dandelion, honey, rose hips, etc.
- Pectic Enzyme – Aids in pulling flavor from the fruit. It breaks down the fruits fiber so that more flavor will release. It also aid in the clearing of the wine.
- Acid Blend – Brings the fruit acids up to a flavorful level. Any wine recipe that calls for water will need this wine making ingredient to bring the wine’s acidity up to a proper level.
- Grape Tannin – Adds zests to the wine. It is the peel flavor of the fruit. Grape tannin also helps the wine clear and age properly.
- Wine Yeast – This wine making ingredient is what actually turns the sugar into alcohol. There are several different types for various wines. I would recommend, at minimum, having some of the Red Star Montrachet and Pasture Blanc on hand.
- Campden Tablets – This is used to sanitize the juice and equipment. The tablets are crushed up and added to water to product a sanitizing solution that is safe and can be added directly to the wine to destroy any wild mold or bacteria.
You may also want to get Potassium Sorbate a.k.a. Wine Stabilizer. This is added to a wine if you decide you want to back sweeten it up before bottling. It keeps the residual wine yeast from fermenting the new sugars while in the bottle.
Recipes and Directions…
We have several wine recipes on our website for the more common fruits that utilize these wine making ingredients. We also have easy to follow wine making directions that are listed there as well. They will help you to stay on the right path.
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.