Home Winemaking requires a significant input of effort, resources, and patience. So when the time comes for you enjoy your precious vintage you want to be sure that your investment pays off. You will have a much greater chance of success as a home vintner if you learn the mistakes to avoid when making homemade wine.
Often occurs right at the start by new winemakers failing to select and follow a reliable recipe. If you want the best possible results then you should follow the instructions of the experts. This is not the time for improvisation.
Inadequate or wrong equipment is often the cause of problem homemade wine. If you are new to making homemade wine it is essential that you invest in the proper equipment. Avoid using household items and doubly avoid household items that have been used to prepare or store other foods. It is best for anyone who is serious about homemade wine to purchase specialist equipment from winemaking retailers.
Poor sanitation is regularly the culprit of disappointing wine. Although making wine from home is great fun it is also a precise science that should be conducted in a controlled environment. Sterile conditions are essential and you shouldn’t take shortcuts with the proper preparation of your tools and containers.
Incorrect yeast activation can adversely affect your wine production. Ensure that you use special vintners yeast and strictly adhere to the activation instructions. Temperature control is vital because if the yeast is too hot the cells will be killed and fail to activate. If too cold, yeast cells can slow down or even fall dormant thus hampering the fermentation process. Worse still, cells could reactivate later on and start re-fermenting your wine at the wrong time.
The proper management of sugar levels can make or break your wine. With your hydrometer you should first monitor your sugar content to ensure that it is at a level compatible to your wine yeast. If the sugar is too high your homemade wine yeast might not be able to convert it all to alcohol and you will be left with residual sugar. Sugar content will determine the eventual alcohol content. No wine should be higher than 14% alcohol. Somewhere between 9% and 12% is probably best to aim for.
Vinegar instead of wine will cause major disappointment to any winemaker and is the result of oxidation. Oxidation will take place if acid levels are not properly checked. Keeping your must free of contamination by rogue yeasts and bacteria and keeping the bottles full can help prevent this mistake. The use of Campden Tablets is also used to combat this problem.
Sediments can spoil your homemade wine. Mistakes with your racking can lead to too much sediment entering the wine. You should only siphon the top part of the wine and leave the bottom layer where unwanted material has settled. Your must should also be kept still to prevent sediments being stirred up and entering the wine. This is also important in storage of the wine after it has been bottled. Store your wine somewhere that it won’t be disturbed and is free of vibration to prevent any sediments interfering with the successful maturation of the wine.
Haste has been a catastrophe for many homemade wines and a mistake that is both easy and common for the homemade winemaker to commit. Successful winemaking comes with being able to apply the necessary amount of patience. From the first fermenting stage through to the final maturation, wine should be given the right amount of time to complete it’s complex phases. One of the biggest mistakes to avoid when making homemade wine is interfering when you should be patiently waiting while science and nature does all the work.