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wine making for newbie


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  • wine making for newbie

    So having spent a few weeks on the vine id rather like to give wine making a go. However, there are so many different 'starter kits' available. The two i'm looking at are:

    WineBuddy Cabernet Sauvignon Complete Starter Kit - Amazon
    Bloke Stuff 6 Bottle Wine Starter Kit Chardonnay - Wilko
    (not sure if i'm allowed to post links)

    Do they contain roughly everything I need? Or would I be better off buying everything separate? I've just ordered the CJJ Berry book (mentioned in several of the wine making threads) off amazon but thought i'd try to get the kit before it arrives

    Any help most appreciated!!

  • #2
    Hi Gordon - you are thinking along exactly the same lines as I did when I started wine making.

    I bought a kit from Wilko so I could get the feel for the processes before embarking on my own. THe kit (from memory) contains a couple of buckets (v useful), all the packets of yeast/finings and stuff, and a can of wine making concentrate (I think mine was the chardonnay.

    You don't get a demijohn, or bottles - or particularly brilliant wine, for that matter, but it does to start you off.

    What will be useful is a demijohn (charity shops - but phone or ask as they don't often put them out in the shop), airlocks (Wilko) and a tube for syphoning/hydrometer & sample tube (Wilko again).

    Remember to steralise everthing you use. Sterlising powder or something like Milton's.

    CJJ can be hard going to read, but I found it very helpful to try and understand the detail rather than 'bung it all in and see what comes out the other end', but either way seems to work nine out of ten!

    Once you've done the kit wine, an easy one to start on your own with is Fruit T Bag wine (on here if you search) which is brilliant, and quick to make; and the easiest of the fruit/veg wines I found to be rhubarb.

    One other thing about CJJ, he's quite heavy on the sugar - in his day with the wine yeasts available to him, he would have made quite sweet wines to most modern palates. The yeast will have fermented most of the sugar to about 10-12% before the yeast died off.

    These days, though, if you use his standard of 3lb sugar/3lb fruit to a gallon with today's yeasts you will get wines to ferment to about 15% (and more) as the norm before the yeast dies off, so they do pack a punch!


    • #3
      You will need 2 demijohns, you will basically move the stuff from one to the other at some time, so 2 is the necessary amount.

      Don't get bogged down in all the stuff. A basic homemade wine is much as Hazel says 3lb fruit, 3lb sugar, gallon of water and a reasonable wine yeast.

      Last one I made was pineapple, Tesco were selling them cheap so I bought 2. Peeled, chopped, in bucket, water, sugar, yeast. Fermented in bucket for 5-7 days, through a sieve into the DJ and put airlock on.

      One thing is buy a hydrometer and take the reading at the start with everything in.
      Helps to know what is going on and where things are, not fully necessary but useful.
      Don't be tempted by the high alcohol yeasts - they are trouble.
      A 1kg bag of sugar is about the right size to throw into a gallon of wine for a dry one.

      Simple first fruit (not kit) wine: Apple, Pineapple, Cherry, Orange.
      If cherry at this time get the frozen stuff from a supermarket.
      The others if you fancy a go buy what they have on offer.
      The budget bags of apples work well.

      I have started making mine a little different.


      • #4
        I got a wilko Cabernet Sauvignon kit which came with a single demijohn an air lock the concentrate yeast stabiliser finings and a bag with tap. I thought it made terrible wine but 3 months later i opened the final bottle and it was OK (like a good 3.50 supermarket bottle). Nearly forgot it also came with a syphon tube with no sediment trap. In all the reusable part is just a demijohn and an airlock.
        I am actually drinking a glass of my second batch of fruit T bag wine and its good to learn what you are doing but I personally don't think its worth making again and again (its drinkable but not a great wine though insanely cheap), I will likely give it 1 more shot.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Gordon D View Post
          I've just ordered the CJJ Berry book
          ... which, imo, is awful. Lots of the recipes are wrong or confusing. It's OK as a backup, because it's got lots of the background reading about brewing, but for practicality I went on to buy Judith Irwin's.

          It's much clearer, more relevant to the modern brewer.
          All gardeners know better than other gardeners." -- Chinese Proverb.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Hazel at the Hill View Post
            What will be useful is a demijohn
            I use 5 litre water bottles, and now I actually prefer them to the glass DJs: they're lighter, easier to clean, blah blah.

            Just drill a hole in the cap for the airlock
            All gardeners know better than other gardeners." -- Chinese Proverb.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Two_Sheds View Post
              ... for practicality I went on to buy Judith Irwin's.

              It's much clearer, more relevant to the modern brewer.
              Thanks for that TS, I've just ordered a copy for 1p
              My blog -


              • #8
                Originally posted by Ananke View Post
                Thanks for that TS, I've just ordered a copy for 1p
                That's extravagant even for people on here.
                They are well know to thrown caution to the wind and spend BIG.
                Last edited by Kirk; 28-05-2014, 11:11 AM.


                • #9
                  Thanks for all the advice 😃

                  Twosheds-now ordered the Judith Irwins book too!!

                  I'll probably go for the wilko starter kit and have a trip visiting charity shops for demijohns at the weekend. I'll also keep an eye out for a hydrometer.

                  Once I've tried the stuff that comes with the starter pack I'll give the fruit t bag wine a go (especially if it's a simple one to start with&#128515

                  I'm a member of Costco so if my garden doesn't provide enough I should be able to get fruit in bulk at a reasonable price.

                  Sent from my iPhone using Grow Your Own Forum


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