Winemaking can be an extremely satisfying activity and hobby with a wonderful end result that also makes for wonderful gifts. If you have already experimented with brewing ales and beers you may already be familiar with many of the steps associated with the process of making wine. Winemaking is generally the next step for many home brewers. If you have already done some brewing at home, you probably already own much of the equipment that is required and are familiar with the patience and cleanliness that are required in the process.
If this is a completely new process to you; however, and you have not previously done any home brewing then it is important to make sure you understand the role of both patience and cleanliness in the process of successful winemaking.
Cleanliness is one of the most important steps of making wine. If your work area and equipment are not clean you will find that you encounter innumerable problems in the process and the end result will not be successful. One of the keys to producing good wine is to make sure that your equipment as well as your work area is kept very clean and sterile.
Before you begin any new batch of wine you will want to make sure that your equipment has been cleaned and sanitized thoroughly. The most common cause of homemade wine becoming contaminated is equipment that has been poorly cleaned. In fact, it has been estimated that as much as 90% of failures in winemaking can be attributed to poor sanitation.
To avoid this problem, make sure that you sanitize all of your equipment that will touch either the juice or the wine. This can be easily done by rinsing all equipment using a solution of MetaBisulfate. Potassium MetaBisulfate is an active ingredient that is used in Campden tablets; a compound that is frequently used for sanitizing brewing equipment.
Place 3 tablespoons of the compound into a 1-liter container of hot water. If the container is kept tightly sealed and stored at room temperature, the cleaning solution should last up to six months. Using the solution, make sure all equipment is rinsed thoroughly. Next, rinse all equipment with cold water.
Make sure you take the time to clean all equipment before you store it as well as before you take it out of storage before each use. This will help you to avoid any contamination problems and assure that your equipment lasts as long as possible.
In addition, patience is quite important as well. One of the most common mistakes of many new winemakers is a lack of patience. They want to rush through the steps and as a result discover that their wine is not all that it could be. Remember that just because wine is ready to bottle that does not necessarily mean that it is ready to drink. While it is common to be anxious to drink your homemade wine, waiting is well worth the effort. At a minimum, it is usually about a month from the time your wine is bottled before it will be ready to sample. Generally; however, you should wait at least six months before your wines will have developed sufficient character and be ready for drinking. For heavy reds, be prepared to wait at least a year for the wine to improve. While waiting may be difficult, you can be assured that it will be rewarded with a bouquet that is absolutely delicious.