Blueberry Wine Recipe – Full-Bodied and Beginner Friendly

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This Blueberry wine recipe is the perfect choice for the beginning winemaker, it also produces a fantastic wine that is full of the flavour of Blueberries, what could be better than that.

When you look at the blueberry it does almost look like a small grape, that is not to say it blueberries have the same qualities as grapes do for making wine they need a little help from you the winemaker. What blueberries do have though is lots of flavour and colour. This wine recipe makes a rich dark wine similar in colour to a Bordeaux or Syrah.

Blueberry Wine Recipe

This deep dark colour comes from the skins of the blueberries just as would come from the skins in a grape wine. If you cut a blueberry in half you will notice the inside of the berry has a green hue. The result of this blueberry wine recipe, however, is a deep, dark violet. The colour is extracted from the skins as they sit in the fermenter macerating. Yeast and a slowly increasing alcohol content both help this process along as well as drawing the flavour and sugar from the fruit.

A Basic But Delicious Blueberry Wine

The reason this wine recipe is such a good wine to make for the beginner is the ease of the process and the resulting wine is delicious. Many fruit wine recipes require lots of small tweaks and refining to produce a decent result whereas the blueberry wine produces a good wine even if you don’t get everything just right.

There are a few additives that you’ll want in this blueberry wine, these are just the usual suspects of any fruit wine. Acid blend and tannin are required for the vast majority of fruit wines and this blueberry wine is no exception. You should have these kinds of additives, along with pectic enzyme and yeast nutrients to hand for any fruit wine you intend to make.

The blueberries you use, whether they are frozen or fresh, is up to you. As long as the fruit is good quality and ripe you should be in for a decent blueberry wine. Frozen fruit tends to be picked when it’s riper than fresh fruit from the supermarket in this case picking the frozen fruit will result in a better wine. Freezing the fruit will also break down the cells of the fruit releasing the juices and flavour better than just mashing the fruit.

I have used frozen blueberries for this recipe. You can get them year round and they are much cheaper than fresh berries.

If you can get hold of wild blueberries you can, of course, use these, picked at their ripest and being able to choose the highest quality blueberries will make a superior wine. There aren’t many places in the UK that blueberries grow in the wild, they like heathland with acidic soil and are often called bilberries or blaeberries. If you do intend to pick berries yourself make sure you have properly identified them as blueberries as they can be easily confused with other varieties of plant. You can grow blueberries in pots in the garden so this might be worth considering if you intend to make a batch of blueberry wine every year, it’s a good recipe so definitely worth considering.

To make this blueberry wine recipe you’ll need the following piece of equipment:

  • Fermenting Bucket
  • Nylon Straining Bag
  • 1 Gallon Demijohn
  • Bung & Airlock
  • Potato Masher
  • Hydrometer
  • Syphon
  • Bottles, Corks and Corker

The Blueberry Wine Recipe Ingredients – Makes 4.5 litres / 1 gallon around 12% ABV

1.4kg Blueberries fresh or frozen (clean and prepared)
1kg Sugar
4.2 litres Water
2 tsp Citric Acid
1/8 tsp Tannin
1 tsp Yeast Nutrient
1/2 tsp Pectic Enzyme
1 Campden Tablet
1 sachet Wine Yeast (My recommendations – Vintners Reserve R56 / Lalvin 71B / Lalvin EC1118)

Blueberry Wine Recipe Method

Blueberry Wine

  1. Dissolve the sugar and half the water together in a pan by bringing to the boil. Ensure all of the sugar is fully dissolved and then turn off the heat.
  2. Whilst heating the sugar and water put the blueberries in a straining bag in the bottom of the fermenting bucket. Use the potato masher to squash the blueberries and break them up. They don’t need to be pureed but make sure all the blueberries are squashed and the juices released.
  3. Pour the boiled sugar and water solution over the blueberries and mix well with the fruit. Add the second half of the water which will help to cool down the must.
  4. Add the citric acid, the wine nutrient and the tannin and mix thoroughly, leave for a few hours to cool further and then add a crushed Campden tablet and for at least 12 hours.
  5. After 12 hours add the pectic enzyme and leave the must for 24 hours. After this, you can test with a hydrometer if you wish for the starting gravity.
  6. After the 24 hours add the yeast to begin fermentation. Allow fermentation to go on for a week and stir once every one or two days, this helps extract as much flavour from the fruit as possible which will have the tendency to float.
  7. After a week lift out the straining bag with the pulp and allow to drain as much as possible, avoid squeezing the bag.
    Take a hydrometer reading, if the wine is below 1.010 specific gravity rack the wine into a sanitised demijohn. If not leave for a further few days and check the gravity again. Once racked attach a bung and airlock and leave.
  8. Wait for at least 2 months or more and the wine can then be racked off the sediment. You can wait for the blueberry wine to completely clear before racking to a new vessel. After this either let it age further for a few months or bottle. If you wish to back-sweeten the wine stabilise and follow this advice here.

This blueberry wine recipe will make a wine of around 12% ABV. It is best squirrelled away for a while to condition and mature. It keeps well for a couple of years, try and keep some around to sample and you will begin to understand how the wine changes with time.

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How To Stabilise And Back Sweeten A Wine

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Back Sweetening Wine

One of the issues many new winemakers face is making a wine that is simply too dry, back sweetening a wine is a simple remedy that can transform the finished wine.

Back sweetening ranges from turning a really dry wine into a semi-dry wine that isn’t necessarily sweet, but suits your taste better. Or you can go all the way to creating a dessert wine that tastes sweet as dessert wines are intended to.

It is most often the case with fruit wines that rely on sugar as the primary fermentable. Plain sugar is 100% fermentable so when the yeast ferment the wine all of the sugars gets converted to alcohol leaving no residual sweetness. A wine that is too dry is fairly easy to remedy by back sweetening but you’ll need to make sure of a few things before just adding sugar to the wine.

Back Sweetening a wine involves adding a type of sugar or sweetener back into the already fermented wine. Before you can do this we need to make sure that the sugar we add isn’t going to start a second fermentation. To do this the wine needs to be stabilised which needs to be done once fermentation is completely finished and the wine has cleared.

When To Stabilise A Wine?

To stabilise a wine we need to use additives such as potassium sorbate, it should be noted though that these kinds of additives won’t stop an active fermentation. The idea is to use the minimum amount of additives necessary to stabilise a wine. We don’t want to add lots of potassium sorbate in case it alters the flavour or colour of the wine.

The point where you want to stabilise a wine is once the fermentation is completely finished, we can check this using a hydrometer, in most cases, a fruit wine will finish at a specific gravity around or below 0.998 – 1.000. Secondly, we want the wine to have cleared, with the yeast sedimented to the bottom. If the wine is still hazy the yeast may be in suspension still so trying to stabilise the wine at this point would not work effectively. To stabilise a wine you’ll need an additive called potassium sorbate as well as sodium metabisulphite (Campden Tablets).

What Is Potassium Sorbate and Sodium Metabisulphite?

Potassium sorbate is an additive used extensively in the food industry as a preservative also called E202. It is used to prevent the growth of mould and yeast which is ideal for the winemaker.

The way it works is not to kill the yeast but to stop the yeast from reproducing. This means any live yeast will continue to ferment any sugars available but won’t be able to reproduce new yeast cells. This is why we need to completely finish fermentation before stabilising the wine.

Sodium Metabisulphite is more commonly known as Campden tablets to home winemakers, it works as a disinfectant, preservative and antioxidant in food. This inhibits the yeast but also prevents oxidisation in the wine which stabilises the flavour and colour of the wine

How To Stabilise A Wine?

Once the wine is at a point where you are ready to stabilise, of course, you will have sampled the wine and tested with a hydrometer, you’ll need to rack the cleared wine off any sediment into a new vessel. As we will be adding potassium sorbate and mixing any sediment will be stirred back into the wine which is not what we want.

Now with the wine in a new vessel, we can add the potassium sorbate and Campden tablet. You should pay attention to the recommended dosage instructed on the packages you have just in case they are differing strengths. The common dosage is 3/4 tsp of potassium sorbate and one Campden tablet.

Dissolve the additives in a small amount of boiled and cooled water until clear, the solution can then be added to the wine and mixed gently. Leave the wine for at least 12 hours before doing anything else.

Back Sweeten Your Wine

Wine Sugar Solution

There are a few options as to what to sweeten your wine with. Plain sugar is the simplest, dissolve the sugar in water at a ratio of 1:1 and it can be dosed into the wine. Another option is to use a fruit juice. Grape juice, for instance, is going to add both flavour and sweetness that may be more desirable than just adding sugar. Glycerine is another option, it’s a liquid polyol that is colourless, flavourless and odourless that tastes really sweet plus it’s unfermentable as well. It’s also sold in home brew shops as wine sweetener as well as some pharmacies.

To keep things simple let’s say we want to back sweeten with sugar. You will want to dissolve a small amount of sugar, say 100 grams in 100 ml of water by boiling to create a sugar solution.

A small amount of this sugar solution can then be added to the wine. Add very small amounts, mix and test, it is very easy to over sweeten a wine.

To work out roughly how much you’ll need to use it’s you can take a small sample of wine to back sweeten. Take a small sample (100ml) of wine and add a few drops of the sugar solution at a time (a drop is 0.05 ml), keep sampling the wine to see when you reach the correct level of sweetness. Once you hit your sweetness extrapolate out the amount of sugar to the whole batch.

This same method is applicable if you are using fruit juice or other sweeteners.

It’s not an exact science but this method will give you a rough amount to aim for but always be prudent, you can’t really dry out an over sweetened wine. If you wanted to make a dessert wine, for example, with this strawberry wine simply add enough sugar so the balance is on the sweet side. Always sweeten the wine in bulk to get consistent results, it’s not a good idea to try and back sweeten by the bottle.

Strawberry Wine Recipe: The Only Recipe You’ll Ever Need

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Strawberries, one of my favourite fruits, how can you capture that taste in a strawberry wine recipe? With any fruit wine recipe, the main flavour you want to really shine is the fruit you are using and sometimes it is tough to find that balance.This Strawberry wine recipe finds that balance with the delicate flavour of fresh strawberries tuned in with a crisp and slightly dry wine. There isn’t lots of body to this strawberry wine but it is most definitely refreshing, crisp and the strawberries shine through right until the last drop.

Delicious Strawberry Wine

Strawberries have to be one of the most popular choices for a fruit wine. I don’t know of many people who don’t like eating strawberries and I think this turns into a desire to translate this into a wine recipe. In the UK in the summer the shops are full of strawberries, supermarkets buy them by the pallet load and you can generally pick and choose what varieties you may want to use in your strawberry wine recipe.

When it comes to selecting your strawberries for a wine it is a case of the riper the better. It’s most often the case that when you buy strawberries in a supermarket they are around 75 – 85% ripe this is because the shelf life of fully ripe strawberries is a lot shorter. Once you pick a strawberry they do not ripen any further, they will colour more but won’t ripen and get sweeter. Using strawberries for your wine that are only 80% ripe can be fine but there are other options to get sweeter strawberries.

Pick your own farms will give you the option to select fruit that is completely ripened, you have the choice of picking exactly the strawberries you want. This means that you can quality control each and every strawberry that will go in your strawberry wine and you can go from picking to processing the strawberries in a matter of hours. Another option is to use frozen strawberries, the great thing about frozen strawberries is they are most often picked when they are riper as they are frozen quickly after picking they won’t degrade on the shelf at the shop. The other thing with frozen strawberries is they are usually already prepared with the green part removed and often they’re cheaper than the fresh.

Strawberry Wine

This strawberry wine recipe I have used frozen strawberries although it’s completely fine if not better to use fresh, ripe fruit. I’m making this in winter so fresh strawberries are not in season. One thing I will mention about freezing is that when the fruit is frozen it breaks down the cells when you defrost the strawberries the juice pretty much runs out of the fruit which is great for making wine. The first thing we will be doing in this recipe is mash the berries to break them up.

Mashed Strawberries

To make this strawberry wine you’ll need the following piece of equipment:

  • Fermenting Bucket
  • Nylon Straining Bag
  • 1 Gallon Demijohn 
  • Bung & Airlock
  • Potato Masher
  • Hydrometer
  • Syphon
  • Bottles, Corks and Corker

Strawberry Wine Recipe Ingredients – Makes 4.5 litres / 1 gallon

  • 1.8 kg Strawberries
  • 1 kg Sugar
  • 4 litres Water
  • 1 Campden Tablet
  • 1 tsp Acid Blend or Citric Acid
  • 1 tsp Yeast Nutrient
  • 1/2 tsp Pectic Enzyme
  • 1/8 tsp Tannin
  • 1 sachet Champagne Yeast / Lalvin EC-111

 

Strawberry Wine Recipe Method

  1. Begin by boiling the water and sugar together, ensure the sugar is fully dissolved. Once at a boil turn off the heat.
  2. If you are using fresh strawberries prepare them by removing the stems and washing, pick through and remove any bad fruit.
  3. Place the nylon straining bag into the fermenting bin, add the prepared strawberries and begin mashing with a clean, sanitised potato masher. The idea is to break up the strawberries as much as possible, releasing the juice and colour.
  4. Pour the boiled sugar and water solution over the strawberries and mix everything together. Allow to cool and then add the acid blend, yeast nutrient, tannin and Campden tablet. Put the lid on the fermenter with an airlock and leave for 12 hours.
  5. After 12 hours add the pectic enzyme, mix and leave for 24 hours.
  6. After the 24 hours add the yeast to begin fermentation. Allow fermentation to go on for a week and stir once every one or two days, this helps extract as much flavour from the fruit as possible which will have the tendency to float.
  7. After a week lift out the straining bag with the pulp and allow to drain as much as possible, avoid squeezing the bag.
  8. Take a hydrometer reading, if the wine is below 1.010 specific gravity rack the wine into a sanitised demijohn. If not leave for a further few days and check the gravity again. Once racked attach a bung and airlock and leave.
  9. Wait for at least 2 months or more and the wine can then be racked off the sediment. You can wait for the strawberry wine to completely clear before racking to a new vessel. After this either let it age further for a few months or bottle. If you wish to back-sweeten the wine stabilise and follow this advice here.
  10. This strawberry wine is best kept for a few months and up to a year.

Fiery Medium Ginger Wine Recipe

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This Ginger wine recipe was one of the very first country wine recipes I ever made. The great thing about ginger of course is it’s available year round in the supermarket and a little goes a long way in comparison to using fruit in wines. This is the perfect wine recipe to make over winter where other fruits aren’t in season or available, If you do make this wine in the winter it will be ready to start enjoying when the weather warms up but can be made at any time of the year as root ginger is available year-round in most shops.

Ginger Wine Recipe

When making any country wine recipe you are reliant on all the flavour coming from whatever fruit or vegetable you are using. This ginger wine recipe relies on root ginger to bring the flavour which probably has the most punch of any ingredient you are going to add to a wine. When making any country wine you rely on sugar to contribute the fermentables which are turned by the yeast into alcohol, the problem with sugar is that it’s pretty much flavourless once fermented. Adding other ingredients, like in this recipe with ginger is where you are getting almost all of the flavour from so it’s important that any ingredient you do use in a country wine is full of flavour and you use enough.

This ginger wine recipe makes a slightly sweeter wine that has a fiery and warming kick. It tends to work better as a sweeter wine because the fiery, heat that is brought by the ginger can seem a bit too harsh in a completely dry wine. The colour is golden and is great served at any time of the year, in the summer this ginger wine can be served ice cold on a warm day just like you would with a ginger beer for example. In the winter serve chilled and the heat from the ginger will give you a warm glow. It probably should be mentioned that this wine recipe isn’t really a bottle you should open to enjoy with dinner, however, it is great as an after dinner drink.

To make this ginger wine you’ll need the following piece of equipment:

  • Fermenting Bucket
  • Nylon Straining Bag
  • 1 Gallon Demijohn
  • Bung & Airlock
  • Funnel
  • Hydrometer
  • Syphon
  • Bottles, Corks and Corker

Ginger Wine Recipe Ingredients – Makes 4.5 Litres / 1 Gallon

75g Fresh Ginger Root
500g Bananas
300g Chopped Sultanas
1.3kg Sugar
1tsp Mixed Acid
1tsp Yeast Nutrient
1tsp Pectic Enzyme
1 Package White Wine Yeast

Ginger Wine Recipe Process

Clean the ginger of any dirt but do not worry about peeling, break into pieces and break up a little with a rolling pin, put into the bottom of a fermenting bin along with the chopped sultanas.

 

In a pan heat up 3 litres of water and and stir in the sugar to completely dissolve bring to the boil. Once boiling pour this over the ginger and sultanas in the fermenting bin.

 

Peel and chop the bananas into inch sized pieces and boil these in half a litre of water for 20 minutes, strain the liquid into the fermenter.

 

Allow the must in the fermenting bin to cool to 20°C. Once cooled add the acid, nutrient and pectic enzyme.

 

Pitch the yeast after rehydrating if you choose to do so. Allow to ferment for 4 days stirring with a sanitised spoon a couple of times a day.

 

After 4 days strain the wine into a demijohn using a straining bag in a funnel. Fit a bung and airlock on the demijohn and allow to ferment completely, this can take up to 4 weeks.

 

After 4 weeks ensuring fermentation has completely finished rack to a new demijohn to allow clearing, after racking add a crushed campden tablet.

 

Allow the wine to clear in the demijohn and after around 2 – 3 months rack to bottles and cork.

This recipe is intended to produce a slightly sweet wine and depending on the yeast you use and the fermentation it may finish drier than you really want. In this case, we will want to back sweeten the wine. It is a simple process that happens just before you bottle the wine.

Once the wine has been racked and cleared and fermentation has completely finished adding Potassium Sorbate at a rate of 1/2 a teaspoon per gallon will stop the yeast from fermenting any extra sugar added. It is then a case of adding a simple sugar solution by boiling sugar and water in equal amounts, this solution can be added in very small amounts to sweeten the wine. Remember you can add sugar but you cannot take it out so try adding a few drops to a sample and then multiplying this out to the whole batch.

Simple & Delicious Pear Wine Recipe

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Country wines tend to be really simple to make and this Pear wine recipe is no different. With all country wines, of course, the most important part of creating a delicious wine is pushing the flavour of the fruit to the forefront. The good thing about pears is they’re full of juice, sugars and a distinct yet delicate flavour that really works well in wines.

Pear Wine Recipe

Pears are harvested and available in the autumn. Making this wine during the season the shops will be full of them, you should have no problem finding enough pears for the recipe. It’s a good wine to make and put aside to mature, the ideal time to open the first bottle will be in the summer. This pear wine recipe makes a perfect summer wine, both refreshing and crisp.

This wine recipe calls for fresh, ripe pears. Most shops sell unripened pears if you’re buying unripe pears put them in a paper bag and leave for a few days to a week until they’re ripe enough. This is important both in terms of consistency because we are going to mash the pears and to ensure we have as much sugar available in the pears as possible, which will create a better wine. It is the sugar in the fruit along with the sugar we add that creates the alcohol in the wine, the more sugar in the pears the better the resulting wine.

This Pear wine calls for some additives to get the best results, they are all fairly simple and should be part of any country wine makers arsenal. You’ll need Campden tablets, acid blend, yeast nutrient, tannin and pectic enzyme. All these items will be available from any home brew shop.

I have gone into a bit more depth as to what these additives do in this guide on country wine making so please check that out. In basic terms the Campden tablets sanitise the pears and prevent browning, the pectic enzyme stops the wine from hazing, the tannin provides body to the wine which would feel thin and dry otherwise and the acid blend balances the wine. Pears do not have enough acids on their own and the acid blend will help create a better balanced finished wine.

As I mentioned previously you want ripe pears to make the most of this wine recipe, what they look like though doesn’t really matter, as long as they taste good.

What You’ll Need To Make Pear Wine – Makes 1 gallon / 4.5 litres

The equipment you’ll need to make this pear wine is fairly straightforward if you’ve made wine before you may have everything you need:

  • Fermenting Bucket
  • Demijohns
  • Large Pan
  • Potato Masher
  • Syphon
  • Fine Straining Bag
  • Airlock & Bung

As for the ingredients in this recipe, you’ll need the following:

  • 2kg of Ripe Pears
  • 1kg of Sugar
  • 4 litres of Water
  • 2 Campden tablet
  • 2 tsp Acid Blend
  • 1 tsp Yeast Nutrient
  • 1/4 tsp Wine Tannin
  • 1/2 tsp Pectic Enzyme
  • 1 Sachet of Champagne Yeast

 

Pear Wine Recipe Method

Sanitise your fermenting bucket and potato masher before starting.

 

Begin by combining half the water and all of the sugar together and bring to the boil

 

To get the pears ready for the wine wash them thoroughly, remove the stalks and remove the cores, there is no need to peel them.

Cut the pears into chunks and drop into the straining bag in the bottom of the fermenting bucket, add one crushed Campden tablet and begin mashing the pears with the sanitised potato masher.

 

Once the pears are mashed pour the hot sugar water solution over the pears in the fermenting bucket. Add the remaining cold water which will bring the temperature down. Tie the top of the straining bag to keep the pears inside.

 

Add the wine tannin and the yeast nutrient and leave to cool for an hour or two. After this add the second Campden tablet and leave for at least 24 hours.

 

After at least 24 hours add the pectic enzyme and stir in with a sanitised spoon after this add the yeast as directed on the sachet. Cover the fermenter and attach an airlock to the lid.

 

Agitate the straining bag and stir with a sanitised spoon every day to extract as much flavour from the pears as possible.

 

After 5 days lift out the straining bag full of pulp and squeeze gently. Syphon the wine off the sediment into a demijohn. Attach a bung and airlock and leave for 2 – 3 weeks.

 

After 2 – 3 weeks the fermentation should have finished. Check the gravity with a hydrometer it should be around 1.000sg.

 

Once fermentation is finished rack the wine to a clean sanitised demijohn to clear. Leave the pear wine for 2 months to clear, rack again if necessary, check the racking and clearing guide for further information on this subject.

 

Once cleared syphon into clean sanitised bottles and cork. This pear wine is best aged in bottles for a few months. After this, the pear wine can be served chilled.

Clearing and Racking

As with most fruit wines, this pear wine recipe is best stored away for a few months before enjoying. I like to put one or two bottles aside for as long as possible to see how the flavours develop. Pears make a nice mild flavoured wine to enjoy on a warm spring or summer day, try and wait until then to start drinking. Although I will always tend to sneak a bottle early.

Kenridge Classic Wine Kit Review – Merlot

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Kenridge Classic Wine Kit Review

I recently made one of the Kenridge Classic wine kits, in this instance the Merlot. I’m a big fan of wine making kits. In terms of the quality they produce, wine kits have really opened my eyes to different winemaking possibilities and compared to many beer kits they often produce a far superior finished product. I have sampled a few over the years and as with many things the more you pay the better the product you get. The reason I want to review this wine kit however is because I was really surprised at just how good it is.

The Details

Wine Kit: Kenridge Classic Merlot

Price: £59.99

Why It’s Good: Higher quantity of grape juice than other kits, simple and clear instructions and very good finished wine for a very reasonable price.

What You Get: A full rundown of what in the wine kit is laid out just below, here

What You Need: Only a few items of equipment are need and they don’t cost a lot if you don’t have them already. Here is what you need to get started.

If you have had no previous experience with wine kits then I suggest you take a look at this article on completing a wine kit. This article takes you through all the steps of actually producing a wine from a kit and tells you exactly what equipment you’ll need.

Wine kits seem to be superior to beer kits in my view because the base i.e. grape juice retains more of its flavour and aroma after being concentrated. Beer kits on the other hand tend to lose some of the subtle and delicate flavours when it’s concentrated into a syrup. That however is just my opinion based on my previous experiences.

Anyway, onto the review of this Kenridge Classic Merlot the reason why you probably arrived here.

Kenridge Classic Merlot – What You Get In the Box

Grape Concentrate: The biggest selling point and the reason the Kenridge Classic is at the slightly more premium end (£60 for 30 bottles) of the range of wine kits is the amount of grape juice you get.

In a 30 bottle wine kit you get 10 litres of grape concentrate whereas in other kits such as the Beaverdale range you get around 7 litres of grape concentrate. Generally the more grape concentrate you use the more flavour you are going to get. When preparing the wine you dilute the concentrate with water, with 10 litres of concentrate you need less water to make up the batch so you end up with more robust flavours in the finished wine.

Wine Kit Yeast

Lalvin Yeast: The yeast supplied with the Kenridge Classic wine kit is not a generic, no label sachet that you will sometimes find with other wine kits. The yeast with this wine kit is the Lalvin EC-118 which is a real workhorse, fast fermenting and has clean, neutral flavours. The temperature range for this Lalvin yeast is also fairly wide so is forgiving enough to do a good job even where temperature during fermentation may be variable.

Oak Chips: This Merlot varietal kit comes with oak chips to add a further dimension to the finished wine. It is of course completely optional whether to add the oak to the wine, if you don’t particularly like oaked wines you can leave it out. Having the option to add more complexity to the wine though is a definite plus point.

Finings & Stabilisers: The Kenridge kits come with all the standard additives to both stabilise the wine and clarify it within the space of a few weeks. This means you can go from grape to glass within a relatively short space of time. The wine is ready to bottle in around 4 weeks and drinkable almost immediately, although it is highly recommended to age some of the bottles as the will improve markedly over time.

What Sort of Equipment Is Needed?

The Kenridge Classic wine kits are typical of most wine kits on the market in terms of preparation. They do take slightly longer to produce in terms of fermentation, conditioning and clearing, which as I said above is around 4 weeks.

In terms of equipment though you’ll only need the following items:

2 x Fermenting vessels & airlocks: The suggestion is to ferment in a fermenting bucket for primary then rack to a carboy clearing and conditioning. I however just used two fermenting buckets and there was no issue here.

Syphon tubing and racking cane: Moving the wine between vessels you’ll need to syphon it. It is pretty important to have a racking cane to leave as much as the sediment behind as possible. This will help to clear the wine a lot quicker and more effectively.

Hydrometer: Checking the gravity to begin with and to ensure the wine has finished fermenting is important. Check out this guide if you aren’t familiar with using a hydrometer.

Wine bottles & corks w/ corker: The kit makes 30 bottles so you’ll need 30 x 75cl wine bottles and of course some corks and a corker to seal the bottles.

Sanitiser: Keeping everything clean and sanitised is so very important.

I won’t go into the process of making the kit right here, although it is very simple and the instructions are very clear. I have documented the process in the article here and there are plenty of pictures to help you along with the process.

Wine Must

How Does The Kenridge Classic Merlot Taste?

This is what I expect most people will be looking for. How does the wine kit taste?

This Merlot is a medium bodied and smooth wine. The taste is of red fruits and if you use the oak chips like I have then you get notes of vanilla and leather on the palate.

I have to say compared to the slightly cheaper wine kits the Kenridge Classic is definitely worth the extra money. The flavour and body even at this early stage of just a few weeks after being bottled is on another level compared to kits like the Beaverdale varieties. As with pretty much all wine kits they get better with age, you can keep bottles for a couple of years and they will get better. That is the beauty of wine kits like this, of course with 30 bottles you can afford to keep a few aside for a while to see how the flavour and quality progress.

If you were to go out to the supermarket to buy a similar quality wine to the Kenridge Classic Merlot you would have to spend £6 or more in my opinion, that is the kind of wine it seems to sit alongside. This particular wine kit however turns out at £2 a bottle so you can’t really go wrong with a price like that.

Complete Guide To Wine Making Kits

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Wine Making Kits

I absolutely love wine making kits. I was dubious of using them at first thinking that the wine would be inferior to what I could buy at the shops. I have to say though I’m converted. I have got though a couple of Reds, a White and now a Rosé.

The Rosé is what I’m making right now and as I write this it’s conditioning and maturing in my wine rack. I wanted to write about the process of making a wine kit because I really think they turn out well.

You might have the same reaction as me believing that the wine isn’t going to be that good, so you aren’t going to bother getting a wine kit. If I show you the process though it might change your mind.

The majority of my home brewing is beer. I occasionally venture into other drinks and liqueurs but I’d say 90% is beer. Yet my lovely wife prefers wine and I’m partial to a glass as well.

We would end up buying say, 2 bottles a week and at a minimum that would set us back £10 for some ok wines or up to £14 – £18 for more premium bottles. We have friends over and a bottle would be drunk in that one night. Over the course of the year the cost of wine adds up.

This is where the wine making kits come in. I thought about how much money I save brewing my own beer, it should be possible to do the same with wine.