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Need some advice

Posted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 1:50 am
by silly_sammy
I want to start making my own wine but with as low cost as I can. What are the essential items, and any innovative money saving ideas? I've been looking online at wine starter kits. Seem like a reasonable price but I'm not sure. Also.... Are the demijons suitable for storing the wine, or should I start keeping bottles?


Re: Need some advice

Posted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 2:09 am
by silly_sammy

Re: Need some advice

Posted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 4:57 am
by MKG
No, that's pretty awful value. As with all "starter" kits for just about anything, it's money for old rope.

Demijohns can be found in second-hand shops (usually sourced from starter kits) or at car boot sales, or friends, relatives, neighbours, etc. for next to nothing. I don't use them any more, preferring food-grade one-gallon containers intended for commercial use or, if I'm making a larger quantity, food-grade buckets with lids. There are a million things you can ferment wine in.

Even so, you asked about storage - demijohns are perfectly suitable for bulk storage and, in fact, this is always preferable for the first year rather than putting your new wines straight into bottles. Don't buy bottles unless they're already full of wine - then save those. I wouldn't bother with corks and corking machines - very old hat - as you can buy push-in reusable stoppers. Better still, save screw-top bottles, as the top will last for years if used sensibly. Oh, and don't neglect the good old PET bottle wrapped around lemonade etc. - they're perfectly OK for wine storage for a couple of years despite any horror stories you may read.

So, what do you NEED?

Yeast - use proper wine yeast. General purpose wine yeast is perfectly OK for 99% of all household germs.

Right, that's the end of the "must-have" list.

You might also find the following handy (but not essential) ...

Campden tablets (or sodium metabisulphite) for sterilising, stabilising and maturation.
Yeast nutrient
Recipes (Andy has a good book out, or look for Jack Keller's site on the net - bearing in mind that he's American). Whatever you do, use modern recipes as "traditional country wine" recipes tend to fail or taste like cough medicine.
A good fairy-story detector (common sense usually does the trick).
This site so that you can ask questions. There are a lot of wine makers on here. Strangely enough, I would avoid the dedicated wine making sites around the net, as there are some VERY bad habits on display there.

Best of luck (although you won't need it, because making wine is actually a doddle).


EDIT: Have a read of this ... ... ear+out+of

Re: Need some advice

Posted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 10:08 am
by trinder
It is always a booze question that wakes the sleeping giants :hugish: (and always the cheapskates that are absorbing the info). Thanks for the reminder of that previous link .

Re: Need some advice

Posted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:44 am
by silly_sammy
:hugish: Thank you!! Both posts have spelled it all out clearly. I figured there was going to be a hype behind it when I saw all these wine kits with ingredients ready to go. And then I had read a book making it sound like chemistry also. I was desperate to start last year but just stuck to cordials and juices instead! its a bit like gardening- most people wont start until they've read all the books and spent a fortune. I'm learning a lot more by trial and error process. Here's to the first batch of wine making after a years hesitation. :drunken:

Re: Need some advice

Posted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 11:08 am
by Pumkinpie
Go for it. I might resurrect my wine making skills after a gap of 25 years. I still regret letting half a dozen Demi johns go when we moved house but I have still got other winemaking stuff lurking in the garage.