How to Make Wine


How to make wine
Wash the fruit to remove dirt, insects and bits of greenery - especially if making country wines.
Blend the fruit in a food processor or even a hand mincer.
The fruit can be heated or frozen to break down the cell walls, or both which ever you prefer.
When the fruit is processed, pour into a pre-sterilised 5 gallon fermenting bin.
Dissolve half the sugar in a large pan, e.g. a preserving pan and pour into the fruit, add the nutrients, tannin etc. Only add the yeast and enzymes when below 35 Celsius, otherwise the heat will inactivate it.
Seal with an air tight lid and keep in a warm place for 5-7 days. Stir the mixture daily, ensuring that the fruit is thoroughly mixed.
At the end of the initial fermentation, take a second pre-sterilised 5 gallon fermenting bin and pour the wine mixture into it via a large sieve or colander. This will remove the bulk pieces of fruit. Repeat the process with a large mesh nylon bag and then with a fine mesh nylon bag. Using hot water from the kettle, wash the fruit to make up the required volume to dissolve the other half of the sugar.
Allow the dissolved sugar to cool before pouring into the fermenting bin with the wine. Mix thoroughly and decant into pre-sterilised 1 gallon demijohns. Ensure that at least 2-3 inches gap is left to allow space for any vigorous fermentation.
Place the demijohns onto a grow bag tray from homebase or similar. At some time, some of the wines WILL froth over and the grow bag tray helps to keep the carpet or floor clean.
After the vigorous fermentation has subsided, additional water can be added to the demijohn.
When the wine appears clear, carefully decant the wine into a pre-sterilised demijohn with plastic tubing, repeat this process over a few months until both the wine is clear and there is no sediment.
When the wine has stopped fermenting, it can be bottled. Is is possible to add Campden tablets to kill the yeast, but I prefer not to add sulphur dioxide to any wines.
The best temperature for the initial 5-7 days fermentation is between 20-25C as this will allow a rapid fermentation of the wine yeast and reduce or stop growth of any natural yeasts which have not been removed. An ideal place would be an airing cupboard or near to a central heating boiler.
When the wine has been strained through the muslin and put into the demijohns, it can left somewhere warm like an airing cupboard or in a warm part of the house for several weeks. When sufficient sediment has accumulated it can be removed, such a process is called racking, the wine can then be either left somewhere slightly cooler or back in the airing cupboard.
Unless you are trying to make nice vinegar, then all the materials that you are using need to be sterilised, the personal choice is Chempro SDP, but you can use Milton or similar materials, a cheap but effective method is to mix sodium metabisulphite and citric acid, but preferably outside as chlorine gas is generated, guaranteed to sterilise most things and bring on an asthma attack for those with asthma !
Essentially you need to remove bacteria which will cause the wine to go off.
Food grade plastic for the fermenting bins, glass for the demijohns, rubber corks, plastic or glass airlocks. Use of copper is not recommended, but aluminium for a preserving pan does not seem to cause any problems.
Fruit Flies
This is a free source of natural vinegar ! If the fruit flies get into your must or wine, then there is a very good chance of getting the wine converted to vinegar free of charge, appropriate use of sticky fly papers near to the wine is very much recommended.


Fermenting bin
Plastic, food grade - 5 gallons capacity. Two are needed, so that wine can be transferred. £5-10
Preserving pan
Metal, ideal for boiling up some of the ingredients if required and dissolving sugar, the wide base allows for rapid heating and the metal allows for reasonably rapid cooling of the must
Can be used to work out the theoretical alcohol content, but tend to split the sugar into two batches and so not used much
A plastic funnel is required, but you will need to give it an airspace when pouring the wine into the bottles as a tight seal can result in the wine being wasted onto the floor, a cut funnel is good for the transfer of dry herbs to a demijohn for metheglin.
Always good to have accurate scales that allow you to put a small tub on the scales and then "tare" the tub so that liquid honey can be poured into the tub.
Muslin / Nylon bag
These are used for straining the must, a large mesh and fine mesh bag are required to strain the pulp.
Strainer / Colander
To be used initially to strain the bulk wine must, the second fermenting bin can then be used with the large mesh bag to strain the first stained wine. Then the wine can be re-strained through the fine mesh bag
Essential - Rubber bung, with plastic airlock will keep out the fruit flies, The best type that I have found are of the S-type, they restrict entry to the flies, the convoluted shape reduces evaporation in the long term.
No copper based containers, as copper can act as a poison to yeasts.


To break down and reduce starch hazes, such as from carrots, potatoes etc.
To break down and reduce pectin hazes, such as from fruits
Citric acid
Generic acid to give the right acidic conditions for yeast to prosper
Tartaric acid
Used for making mead, generally with malic acid 33%
Malic acid
Used for making mead, generally with malic acid 66%
Yeast nutrient
TronOzymol - Ritchie Products
Kwik Clear Finings
An outstanding two part liquid fining (gelatine & kiesolsol). Brilliant clarity is often achieved in less than 24 hours. Has no effect on the flavour & bouquet of delicate wines.
Boots the Chemists Filter Kit
Unavailable now, but can still get the pads fairly easily

No. 1 Green Label
(S.cerevisiae, Bordeaux strain 7013)
This yeast is widely used in France to make both white and red wines. It starts quickly, works at temperatures down to 15°C and settles well at the end of the fermentation period. It will tolerate up to 100 ppm of sulphur dioxide. It is recommended as general purpose yeast.
No. 2 Red Label
(S.cerevisiae, Monrachet strain, Davis 522)
This is very vigorous yeast giving a rapid start to the fermentation. Excellent for all red table wines, it is especially recommended for making wines from autumn fruits such as blackberries, elderberries and sloes. It will ferment at temperatures down to 15°C. Because this yeast ferments vigorously, room should be allowed in the fermentation vessel to take possible foaming into account.
No. 3 Yellow Label
(S.cerevisiae (bayanus)
Pasteur Institute strain)
This yeast is designed to produce sparkling wines, so it tolerates higher levels of alcohol than most yeasts and is ideal for high alcohol dessert style wines. It is excellent for restarting a "stuck" fermentation due to too much sugar being added to the must. This yeast can be used for either white or red wines, and allows the wines to take on the main characteristics of the ingredients. It will ferment well in the 12-30°C range. The sulphur dioxide level should be kept below 25 ppm.
No. 5 White Label
(S.cerevisiae, strain GVN)
This French yeast is particularly good for making quality white fruit table wines. It forms little foam and ferments well at low temperatures (8-15°C), thus ensuring that the wines develop excellent bouquets. This yeast is used for the production of quality English table wines.
Red/White Label
(S.cerevisiae, Bordeaux SF strain)
This French yeast was selected by INRA at Narbonne to compliment the characteristics of the grapes. It is used for the production of red Bordeaux (Claret) wines. It is described as an "aromatic" yeast, which develops a pleasant and lasting aroma. It produces minimal frothing, and produces a good yield of glycerol. It ferments well over the temperature range 18-35°C. It will tolerate up to 50 ppm of sulphur dioxide.
Black/White Label
(S.cerevisiae, Narbonne selection,
CC strain)
This is another high quality "aromatic" yeast, intended for the production of wines with a young fruity bouquet, similar to many of those from Germany. It starts easily, and produces little frothing. It ensures fermentation at temperatures down to 10°C, with associated formation of fruity esters.
Gold Label
(S.cerevisiae (bayanus)
Strain EC1118)
This yeast is said to be involved in the production of 70% of Champagne. It has similar characteristics to No. 3 yeast, but is considered rather superior by many professional wine makers. It is recommended for making sparkling wines, dessert wines and for restarting "stuck" ferments. It is used world wide for the production of high quality white and rosé table wines. It is valuable for producing high alcohol wines (up to 18.5%).
Red on White Label
(S.cerevisiae, strain 71B)
This yeast has two particular characteristics. Firstly it produces an exceptionally fine bouquet. Secondly it can metabolise up to 35% of any malic acid present in the must. This makes the yeast very useful when the fruit basis (e.g. apples, gooseberries, rhubarb) may have too much acid, with a high percentage of malic acid
Blue on White Label
(S.cerevisiae, strain V1116)
This yeast contains the "killer" factor, which helps to inhibit the growth of "wild" yeasts. It ferments well even when the nutrient level is on the low side, so it is ideal for the production of "honey" wines such as mead. It is further capable of producing wines of high alcoholic strength. Very "clean" wines are produced, allowing the flavour and aroma of the ingredients to dominate. It will ferment down to 10°C
Purple Label
New Yeast Strain GV26
High alcohol tolerance - upto 21% if adequate nutrient is present, fast fermentation.


Honey and bee keeping materials
Thornes of Windsor
Excellent speciality honeys
Garvin Honey Company
Wine & Beer Supplies
Laxtons of Broxbourne Pharmacy, 45 High Road, Broxbourne, Herts, EN10 7HX  01992 462293
General Wine & Beer supplies
Hamstead Brewing Centre

Luton Wine makers

Ritchie Products

Leyland Home Brew

Home Wine making
Decent Plastic wine corks

Page last updated 29th December 2011