Using a frozen juice concentrate is one of the quickest ways to make wine at home, although it is still requires patience through the fermentation process. The process will take at least a month and could take longer, but if done correctly, will be well worth it. Exactly following the steps below will produce a delicious wine.
1. Sterilize Your Equipment
Since bacteria and yeast are very similar, and wine making requires the growth of yeast, it is imperative that you thoroughly clean every piece of equipment that will touch the wine, including measuring and mixing utensils. One tainted spoon can ruin your entire batch, and you don’t want to accidently grow bad bacteria that will make you sick. In order to clean the equipment, mix one tablespoon of sodium metabisulphite per gallon of water. If you create this solution in the primary fermenter, place as much other equipment into the solution and let sit for 10 minutes. The equipment needs to be cleaned right before use, so you will need to repeat this process for the second fermenter when you are ready to use it. Don’t forget to clean any pieces that will be used a second time before using them again.
2. Mix the juice
Pour half gallon of water into the sanitized bucket, then add the bentonite from the kit. After mixing well, add the juice concentrate. Then add water until you have 5 ½ gallons of liquid in the container. Mix together yeast and the last half gallon of water. This yeast slurry mixture should then be poured into the sanitized bucket. If your kit includes an F Pack, use less water so there is room for the F Pack later.
3. Primary Fermentation
The fermentation containers should be airtight and never exposed to direct sunlight. They should be placed somewhere where the temperature is between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. This will allow the sugars to convert to alcohol. If you are following these procedures, and do not ever lift the lid allowing air in, the primary fermentation should be complete within 7-10 days. The hydrometer should read 1.010 or less. If it is too high, seal the container and wait a few more days.
4. Secondary Fermentation
Since the yeast will settle to the bottom during primary fermentation, the wine needs to be separated and placed into another fermentation container. To ensure that there is no more live yeast, several steps should be taken. First, dissolve pack 2 and 3 into a small amount of water. Add this to the carboy and stir vigorously until the wine is flat. Add the clarifier pack and stir vigorously. If your kit includes an F Pack, now is the time to add it. Stir again. Now the wine can be siphoned in, a process known to winemakers as racking. Let it sit for two to three weeks.
Fill the bottles so there is about three inches of space to the top and insert the cork. A corking machine will make this process a lot easier. Make sure the bottles remain upright for three to four days, allowing the cork to set itself up. Failure to do so will cause the cork to leak.
You are welcome to enjoy the fruit of your labor at any time after bottling, but it will taste better with age. So give the bottles plenty of time to sit and allow the ingredients to continue interacting with each other.