Check out the Instruction Guide below to wine making and follow the other links for more useful information.
Scott Labs has a wealth of information for the winemaker. They have documents that allow the vintner to better understand Yeast Strains, Malolactic Bacteria & Cultures, and other Enological Bacteria, along with the prevention thereof.
Wine Making Resources and Communities
Visit the outcome of our great grape juice and all the wine that comes from it – Tennerra Winery
Wine Making Instructions- General instructions to use as a guide
Fermentation is greatly affected by temperature. A brewing belt can be attached to the bucket to help control the temperature. **76 degrees (F) is recommended for highest quality fermentation. These instructions are a GENERAL guide for making wine from our juice. The period in which the juice ferments solely depends on the conditions and the yeast strain’s ability to convert sugar to ethanol. This guide is not based on time, it is based on measurement of specific gravity and temperature. Specific gravity indicates the density of sugar in the juice. The amount of sugar accurately shows how much sugar is left to convert to ethanol. The most accurate way to determine when to move to the next stage is to take a Specific Gravity (S.G.) reading with a hydrometer. Waiting until proper readings have been reached will ensure a successful fermentation.
Equipment: Primary fermenter (food grade plastic bucket and lid with ventilation system), stirring spoon, hydrometer, siphon tubing kit, 6 gallon carboy, airlock and bung. A thermometer and brewing belt may be used to monitor and control temperature.
Helpful hint: make sure all equipment (i.e. stirring spoon, etc.) is sterilized. Contaminated equipment can ruin the quality of the juice and the ending product.
Stage 1: Primary Fermentation
Mixing: Carefully remove the bucket lid by removing the safety seal and pry off the lid. Stir the contents gently (yeast is on the bottom). Stirring the contents within the bucket will help kick start the fermentation; the yeast needs to be incorporated in the juice from the bottom. Next, measure and record the Specific Gravity and temperature to establish a fermentation starting point. Please refer to the notes section of this packet. Recording your S.G. and temperature in this log will be helpful. ***Place primary fermenter with lid lightly on and in an area that is 76 Degrees Fahrenheit.
Consistent stirring: Stir gently twice daily for 5 minutes. Stir once in the morning and once in the evening. Continue to monitor the yeast activity (bubbling, foaming, etc.) that is most active in this stage. Check and record the S.G. and temperature readings. Readings of S.G. decrease as sugar converts to alcohol.
Stage 2: Secondary Fermentation
Racking: Check S.G.: it is most ideal to rack once S.G. reaches 1.020. Rack to the secondary fermentation vessel, a six gallon carboy, and fit the airlock with bung in the opening. Although yeast activity will decrease as the fermentation process proceeds, the process will continue on in this phase. But, before racking stir to make sure any yeast that settled at the bottom of the fermentation vessel is transferred to the next fermentation vessel. If active yeast is left behind, the fermentation will stop.
S.G. Monitoring: Check S.G.: if 0.990-0.996 the wine will be dry, if 1.000 it will be medium-sweet, if greater than 1.000 it will be a sweet wine. Allow fermentation to continue longer if needed for desired dryness. You should taste the wine at this stage to find the dryness or sweetness level that is desired. When the wine is ready, proceed to stabilization. Remember temperature controls the rate of fermentation, cool temperature may extend days required for fermenting your juice or stop the process prematurely leading to problem wine.
Stage 3: Stabilization
Next, stabilize the racked wine to the STERILIZED plastic bucket. Add a stabilization packet. Dilute the contents of the packet with some wine from your carboy. Pour contents on the bottom of the bucket. Next, rack the rest of the wine into the bucket. (Note: further fermentation will not occur after this step). Stir three times for 10 minutes each, allow to rest several minutes between stirrings to de-gas the wine before final stabilizing and clearing. STERILIZE carboy and refill with stabilized wine to the top. It is essential to fill the carboy to the top with no room for air, fit airlock and place in a cool area. Make sure the carboy is topped off. Wine exposure to oxygen can oxidize the wine and cause spoilage. Go by the “thumb rule”-there should not be any empty space beyond the length of your thumb from the opening of the carboy. Fix the air lock and bung in the opening of the carboy.
When siphoning wine, make sure the wine that needs to be racked is higher than the new, sterilized, vessel. The gravity helps move the wine into the new container.
Stage 4: Aging / Bottling Store the wine in a dry, cool place for 35 to 45 days to allow further stabilization. You should notice the wine clearing and sediment collecting on the bottom of the carboy. Repeat the racking process several times every 35-45 days to achieve maximum clarity, if desired. At this stage, you may also consider clarifying agents (SuperKleer, Gelatin, etc.) if the wine is still cloudy or aging materials like oak essence or chips are used to add tannin, or astringent, oak flavor. When wine is clear, it is ready for bottling. Make sure bottles and closures are clean and sterilized. Filtering your wine is optional, but is recommended.