Time to stock up on your basic wine making ingredients.
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.
What is the shelf life of these ingredients?
Curt & Cloesser, as time goes by they will start to lose strength, for the ingredients listed in this article we would recommend using them within about 2 years.
it would be nice to include the shelf life of the 7 ingredients
I am in the process of making some Pineapple wine by your directions. Once I removed the real fruit and transferred it only continued fermentation for about 2 weeks. I tasted it this morning and it tastes ok but doesn’t have the kick as usual.
Need advice, Please.
I want to make some lemon wine do you have a good recipe.thanks
Jack Keller has some good recipes for Lemon wine to try: http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/reques48.asp
Doug, have you taken a hydrometer reading to determine if the fermentation is finished or if it became stuck before it completed? If the specific gravity reading is not at .998 or less, it is not finished. Our Pineapple Wine recipe should produce a wine with approximately 10-12 percent alcohol. For a higher alcohol wine, you would add more sugar to the fermentation. The general rule of thumb is that one pound of sugar in a 5-gallon batch will increase the alcohol by about one percent. Below We have posted an article on the most common causes of fermentation failure.
Top Ten Reasons For Fermentation Failure
Sweetening my elderberry wine…
Looks like I have to buy sodium sorbate. In the past I’ve felt I was allergic or sensitive to sulfates. Not the same I know.
Anyway I have bunch of my own homemade maple syrup. Any thoughts on using it as a sweetener?
Larry, First let me clarify that the product to add when back sweetening your wine is potassium sorbate. You can use the maple syrup but we suggest that you try in on a small sample of the wine first to make sure you will like the flavor before you add it to the entire batch.
I have most of these 7 ingredients I got from you from back in 1986 when I last made rhubarb wine and dandelion wine. I just got back into winemaking again and used some of them but of course bought new yeast and nutrient.It feels good to be back making wine.
I have a question regarding making wines with raw honey. I read through some of your articles on using honey in homemade wines. My confusion is, I thought using raw honey for wines is a big no-no. You mentioned that if we wanted to use raw honey, we would have to heat it up to a certain temperature with some water. Some articles mention that heating honey would hurt the flavor. I recently found a blog post you wrote about how to make mead like a viking and you said using raw honey is encouraged.
Since it’s strawberry season, I wanted to make your strawberry wine recipe and swap out 3 lbs of sugar with raspberry blossom honey. However, I was only able to find creamed raw unpasteurized honey. Would that be ok? Should I still heat the honey to remove the wild microbes? Just to reiterate, I want to ferment with raw honey, not back sweeten with honey. Your input would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks!
Theresa, If you are using raw honey we do recommend boiling the honey first. Because it is not already pasteurized, when you boil it you will find things floating to the top such a stingers and debris. What you are basically doing is cleaning the honey. The article that recommends using raw honey was written by a quest blog poster is is not what we recommend. I hope this helps.
Pineapple wine? I make it by adding 2 pounds of blue plum (12 Lb of pineapple flash for 5gallons bucket). Plum should be crushed, bones ok. It is fermenting active crazy. The Must starting with SG 1.090 and after 4-5 days SG = 1.020, I add 1lb of sugar. On day 7th SG = 1.010, ready for racking. All fruits and sediment must be out and secondary fermentation goes under airlock. Usually it takes another 2 weeks and I have super dry wine with SG = 0.090-0.092. Plum gives great color and acidity, no need any other nutrition, except Pectic Enzyme. Alcohol volume – 14%!!. Incredible taste!
P.S. I live in Troplc zone, the air temperature near 100F at day time and around 80F at night. This my recepy breaks all the rules.
If somebody has asked this question before, i’m sorry. What I would like to know is if there are any alternatives to certain brewing chemicals, that I could find in the natural world. For example, i’ve been told that Yeast Nutrient can be found in Papaya peelings, Acid Blend from citrus fruits, etc. Would these be ok to use as substitutes? Finding it hard to find stuff out here in the Philippines :/