If you enjoy making homemade wine, or are just thinking of giving it a try, this article will give you a few "inside tips" on how to make sure your first batch or your next batch of wine comes out perfect.
This article won't go in the step by step details but there are many guides available on the internet that will do this for you.
The biggest secret to making sure your wine comes out perfect is Sanitizing. You have to sterlize and sanitize everything you are going to use and everything the wine will come into contact with. You can use many different sanitizing agents, I personally like something called B-brite sanitizer. You could also use a sulfite solution.
Why do you need to sanitize everything, even the spoon? Because the wine has to stay in the fermenter and then the carboy for weeks. Remember, you have a room temperature, sugary solution we are dealing with. This is a perfect environment for any kind of microbe or bacteria to grow in. If there is any type of microbe, it will just love the environment you have put it in and it will grow and multiply and basically have a feast on your sugar and juices.
That is NOT what you want to happen.
The only microbe that we want growing is the yeast. That's it. The warm sugary solution is wonderful for yeast but you must first make sure that you do not insert any kind of competition for the yeast.
So – STERILIZE everything that will come into contact with your wine.
The second big secret is sulfites.
Many people claim to be alergic to sulfites, but, in fact, are not. They are usually alergic to something else in certain food products but then they just associate the symptoms with sulfites.
The fact is that sulfites are the number one food preservative in the world. Just about everything you eat or drink has sulfites in it. If you think you are alergic to them, you should consult with your doctor and find out for sure – don't guess.
Sulfites act as both a preservative AND a microbe killer in winemaking. Many yeast strains are somewhat sulfite resistant so the yeast is not readily killed by the sulfites. This is perfect for winemaking. When you rack your wine from one container to another, it's always a very good idea to add sulfites. The exposure to air during racking could introduce some of that good 'ole acetobacter microbe and you could quickly end up making 5 gallons of vinegar.
The third "insider scret" is a little chemical called Pectin or Pectic Enzyme. This is a chemical that will break down something called pectin. Pectin, simply, is what makes jelly have it's jelly like consistency. Fruits are full of pectin. if you are going to make any kind of fruit wine, you will need to add this enzyme to break down the pectin. You don't want wine with a jelly consistency, right?
The big area that pectin enzyme will help you in is clearing your wine. Pectin in your wine causes it to be a little thicker and will also cause solids to stay suspended in the wine longer. Adding pectin enzyme will break dow the pectin and allow the solids to settle to the bottom of your carboy much faster.
With these three simple tips, you should be on your way to making fine wine with a nice polish! Enjoy.