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Wine making for beginners


MarkW
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Last weekend I was at the house of a friend who has started brewing her own beer with the intention of entering (and hopefully winning) a local produce show. Damn good it was too!


We've known each other for over 35 years and so naturally a bit of rivalry has to enter into the proceedings, but not wanting to go head-to-head I thought I'd have a crack at making red wine instead. Never done it before, and for our first attempt we thought we'd try a kit. There seem to be several with good reviews on Amazon and in places like Wilko, but you never know if the positive reviews are because the wine was good or because the reviewers were a bunch of degenerate piss-artists.


So, if anyone has any recommendations or other advice they can pass on I'd be grateful!


:cheers:

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Don't know but when I've made beer in the past I have always used glucose chips instead of table sugar. You don't get that thin, sour taste and even comparatively cheap kits used to give good results. Might be worth trying it with wine....

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We used to make a load of wine from various fruits - elderberry usually turned out a decent red wine. But you've missed the fruit season now - so maybe a kit is the only way to get started. You need patience as making wine takes time, the longer the better usually. You'll somewhere warm for it to ferment but somewhere where the constant bubbling of the airlocks isn't going to drive you mad. Keeping everything clean is important, if you get anything in that kills the yeast or taints the wine it's ruined. Be careful bottling if there's any chance of secondary fermentation or they'll explode and that both very messy and a waste of wine.


As an alternative, if you can find a sloe bush near you they are ready for picking now there's been a touch of frost (I pick mine early and freeze them which works fine). You can make sloe gin - 500g sloes, 250g sugar, 1 litre gin. Takes about three months to make it, better left longer, the results are usually pretty good. Just prick the sloes with a cocktail stick, stick them with the sugar in the gin. Shake daily for a week, then weekly. After at least three months let it settle then strain through a coffee filter and bottle.

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Top tips there gents. :thumb:


At this time of year it'll have to be a kit, not least because the wife and I spent the better part of the morning chopping crab apples to make chutney, so it'll be a while before I have any enthusiasm for more pick-your-own malarkey!

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My pops happened to work with a man called 'Miracle Mickey' he was the supreme brewer of red wine no less!


It appears the whole (hangover free) process was based around being extremely careful with the the stoppers (chemicals to stop the process) that are added to the wine at the end, that and the cleanliness of the grape juice used at the beginning.

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I've done a few lots of the Wilko chardonnay and comes out really nice.


Very simple to do but as mentioned stock up on sterilisation tablets and powder and make sure everything that touches wine is sterile.


Great thing is you can make the wine as dry or sweet as you like.

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Cheap carton juice can easily be used if you're feeling adventurous. Pineapple juice in particular makes a lovely wine. Add "body" with a pound or so of raisins, reconstituted. Or even a carton of white grape juice.


I've never actually used a proper wine kit... As I find even a bargain basement £4 Rhone palatable. Rather make something that's generally unavailable and "different". It only starts to get more complicated if you want a wine made from a fruit that's naturally high in pectin... As it will never clear without pretreatment with an enzyme. And some people get uppity about a wine that has a natural haze. Apples, plums and so on. If you have a juicer and time on your hands... Go look at the cheapest fruit you can find.


If you use carton juice... It has to be the tetrapak juice.. No preservatives.

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For many years my dad was the chairman of the Norfolk winemakers guild. Made wine from all sorts of things. Rose petal, elderflower, rose hips as well as the more traditional things. All I’ve ever made is ginger beer!!


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Not made wine but I've made quite a few batches of beer this year - got a stout in the fermentor at the mo.


I'd say start with a kit and see how it goes. I have a brewing fridge that also contains a heat tube - both are connected to a regulator to give me a constant temperature. Far more reliable than plonking the brew in an airing cupboard or something. It didn't cost much to put together either.


It good fun. The only downside is that it can take an age to brew and condition.

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Watch out for elderflowers, I didn't know at the time but there male & female flowers, use the wrong type & it comes out almost like cat piss :cheers:

 

Pretty sure the flowers are hermaphrodite with both male and female parts in each flower.

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Watch out for elderflowers, I didn't know at the time but there male & female flowers, use the wrong type & it comes out almost like cat piss :cheers:

 

Pretty sure the flowers are hermaphrodite with both male and female parts in each flower.

 

Your right, must have been my crap wine making skills as a teenager


http://www.softschools.com/facts/plants/elderberry_facts/1099/

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All things in moderation is my motto, except for tea, cake and sex, and despite a few unsuccessful experiments I haven't completely given up on finding a way to combine all three.


I got pissed once 30 years ago, and very much like the time in the 1970s when I picked up a hot barbecue coal that had fallen on the patio I decided it wasn't a very pleasant experience and haven't done it again since. I think I'm actually incapable of drinking too much - I know when I've had enough, at which point my desire for it just switches off completely.


Anyway, back to today's experiment: I picked up three kits from Wilko - a Cabernet Sauvignon, a black cherry and a Chardonnay, all of which are sitting on their little heat pad in the corner of the room, happily bubbling away. I may also have a go at making a blackcurrant wine from scratch with frozen fruit from the supermarket.


All very exciting...


:cheers:

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Not tea total and sorting kitchen cupboards the other day revealed I have far too much alcohol but at same time can't remember last time I was drunk and can count number of times I've had alcohol this year on one hand.


For me I just prefer being clear headed, don't see the fun side of being drunk, don't make people any more fun and normally just more stupid. Also really don't get the need to drink to have fun attitude when going out.


But do like a nice bottle of wine with a dinner.

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I went through a phase of making my own lager from various kits. I do like it to have a fizz and doing that without a CO2 canister means you have to do a secondary fermentation in the bottle, that leads to a sediment forming in the bottle which re-mixes in as soon as you tip it to drink or pour. It doesn't look very appealing to drink after that so I kinda got a bit bored of it and in the end sold my equipment. I know you can have a lot of success with wine and ale kits, the woodford wherry was always highly praised by the people I talked about it with, but I am not an ale or wine drinker.

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Not tea total and sorting kitchen cupboards the other day revealed I have far too much alcohol but at same time can't remember last time I was drunk and can count number of times I've had alcohol this year on one hand.


For me I just prefer being clear headed, don't see the fun side of being drunk, don't make people any more fun and normally just more stupid. Also really don't get the need to drink to have fun attitude when going out.


But do like a nice bottle of wine with a dinner.

 

Exactly. I think it was Hemingway who said he drank not to make himself more interesting but to make other people less boring, but I find that just not socialising with boring people in the first place works just as well. :D

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... but I find that just not socialising with boring people in the first place works just as well. :D

 

That is obviously the ideal solution but in a work environment not always achievable.

 

Neither is going into work pissed in most places :lol:

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... but I find that just not socialising with boring people in the first place works just as well. :D

 

That is obviously the ideal solution but in a work environment not always achievable.

 

Neither is going into work pissed in most places :lol:

 

Yes unfortunately the heady days of the 80's excesses are no longer acceptable

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... but I find that just not socialising with boring people in the first place works just as well. :D

 

That is obviously the ideal solution but in a work environment not always achievable.

 

It's easy for me - I'm the boss, so I can pretend that my misanthropy is professional detachment. :D

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I like alcohol and dont feel theres any shame in saying so, I sometimes go for long periods without bothering with it just because I dont fancy it but I also think theres no moral high ground to be had by being tee total- although some tee totallers try and make you feel like there is.


Im not fussed what other people do drinking wise but for me theres no substitute for a good glass of wine with food...... or beer with television or cider with a ploughmans or sherry at christmas or a bloody mary at breakfast or champagne having a bath or a cocktail in a good hotel or gin at... anytime!


Ill PM my address and will critique your wine for you completely free of charge- you’re welcome.

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