Winemaking at Home: Maturing and Blending

The hardest part of winemaking is waiting for the wine to mature enough to drink it! When fermentation finishes, siphon the wine from its sediment into a clean and sterilized jar and top up with similar wine or cold boiled water. Sometimes a recipe will produce a little more than 4.5 litres/1 gallon of must, which may be due to the extra juiciness of the fruit or efficient juice extraction. This must can be fermented in a sterilized bottle alongside the jar. At the racking stage, this wine is ideal for topping up the main jar. It is important to keep the jar full and the air excluded to ensure well-flavoured wine. The one exception to this golden rule is the sherry type of wine. This alone should be matured in ajar not quite full and the neck plugged with cotton wool rather than a bung. All other wines need to have one Campden tablet put into each 4.5 litre/1 gallon jar at the time of racking. The jar should be filled to the neck ring and a good bung pushed well home.

It is rarely necessary to add linings to a wine since most clear naturally. You can aid the process of clearing, however, by adding some proprietary brand of wine linings at the time of the first racking. Stand the jar in the coolest place you can find although not lower than 1.7°C/35°F. Within a few days, the wine should be brilliantly clear and ready for a second racking into a sterilized storage jar. Place this in a cool, dark store and be patient. Light wines mature more quickly than strong heavy dessert wines. Wines made from canned fruits, jams and fruit juices are often read) for drinking alter only three months’ storage. Red table wines generally need at least one year in bulk storage and dessert wines may need two or three years.


When the time comes for bottling the wine, taste it to see whether it comes up to your expectation. If it does, bottle it in sterilized wine bottles, seal it with sterilized corks, label it and keep it for just a few weeks longer.

Should the taste not come up to your expectation. However, do not throw the wine away. Provided it is sound and free from bacterial infection, you can always blend one wine with another and improve the flavour of them both. The best guide line is to blend opposites: loo sweet with too dry, too sharp with too bland and so on. You can even blend red with white if you so wish. Far too many home winemakers expect every wine to be perfect the commercial winemakers are never that lucky! Blending is the way to improve wines that are sound hut lacking some characteristics of quality. Simply siphon the wines to be blended into a sterilized bin. Stir gently and return the blend to sterilized jars. Leave them under an airlock for a week or two in ease re-fermentation occurs and then bottle them when they are clear and still.

Useful temperatures

Some useful temperatures to remember when making wine:

10°C/50°F Store wine.

I5°C/59°F Ferment white wines.

20°C/68°F Ferment red wines.

80°C/176°F Heat treatment of red fruits.


1 Use good quality fruit, flowers or vegetables and do not include any bruised, damaged or stale material.

2 Use pectic enzyme with fruits and do not forget the acid in all musts.

3 Use a pure wine yeast appropriate to the style of wine being made and do not forget some nutrient to help it thrive.

4 Learn to use a hydrometer to control the sugar content of your musts and do not make your table wines too strong.

5 Siphon the clearing wine from its sediment as soon as fermentation has finished, but do not rack too soon unless you want to stop the fermentation.

6 Add one Campden tablet at the first racking and do not forget to rack again as soon as the wine is bright and a further sediment can be seen.

7 Be patient and give your wines time to mature before you drink them.

14. November 2011 by admin
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