Articles & News

I don't have time to make wine

Posted by Ron Goodhew, November 20th, 2011 | 5 Comments

I hear it almost every day, "I just don't have time to make more wine".  So here we go with how long it actually takes to make a wine kit from start to finish:

1 minute - earlier this morning I took my liquid yeast out of the fridge and activated it, I am using a 4028 Chateau Red.
2 minutes - to find a wine primary in my basement
7 minutes - to sanitize the primary, add the juice and additional water to 23 litres, transport from the washroom to my furnace room
5 minutes - added the bentonite and stirred for 5 minutes.  Have to go for lunch so will take a 2 hour break
5 more minutes - stirred, yes the SG has reached 1.090, the directions say 1.080-1.100
2 minutes - to add the liquid yeast and add the 3 bags of oak, put on the lid and added the air lock which is filled with water
3 minutes - to clean up

Total initial time comes in at 25 minutes - nothing to do now for a week. 

Now about the wine - Domaine Des Brumes - Brouilly, the largest Cru in Beaujolais, is a wine noted for its aromas of blueberries, cherries, raspberries, strawberries  currants and floral notes.  Our brouilly is called Domaine des Brumes, a refreshing, easy drinking red revealing a slender texture, smooth tannins and a medium finish.  The Gamay grape is light and fruity in the same palette as a Beaujolais wine.  Sweetness: Dry | Body: Medium | Oak Intensity: Medium

The instructions say to place the primary in a location with a temperature of 22-24 C / 72-75F.  My furnace room is at a constant temperature of 21C / 70F.  It will take a little longer to finish.  Because of our basement I have always cool fermented with great results.  Beer likes it warmer so I use heat belts - they ferment at 23C / 73F.

Day 1 - the SG is 1.075 with temperature at 21C / 70F.  There is nothing to do on a daily basis.




Day 2 - the SG is 1.065 steady at 21C / 70F




Day 3 - the SG is 1.060 steady at 21C / 70F




 Day 4 - the SG is 1.055 at 21C / 70F




Day 6 - we had our Limited Edition wine tasting last night so wasn't able to take any readings yesterday.  Today their is over one inch of foam on the surface, there is no way to get a reading so will try tomorrow.



Day 7 - The SG is 1.035, the instructions say that on day 7 the SG should be 1.010 or less.  Calgary's altitude requires extra time, so we just wait until we hit the correct SG.



Day 8




Day 11 -the SG has dropped to 1.010 so it is time to rack from the primary to the Italian glass carboy.  3 minutes to sanitize the carboy and auto-syphon and start the syphon.  It took 17 minutes to complete the syphoning,  I checked back a few times to make sure that all was well but this doesn't count as time, since it syphons by itself.  It then took me 7 minutes to clean the primary and auto-syphon.  The primary was quite stained so have filled it to the top with water and sanitizer, left my auto-syphon in the primary and will allow it to soak for the day.  Moved the bung and airlock from the primary to the carboy.  The rest is simple, allow the fermentation process to continue on its own.  As the yeast continues to ferment the natural sugars, alcohol & CO2 are produced.  As long as there is any surface activity right down to a ring of small bubbles on the edge of the surface - do nothing.  If you add the potassium metabisulphite too soon you will kill the yeast and stop the fermentation process.  End result will be juice, not wine. 

Day 33 - when making wine I am never in a hurry, I have tonight off so will check the SG.  There has been no surface activity for the last week indicating that it was time to stabilize 7 - 10 days ago.  No rush, the wine is safe on the yeast bed.  Relax when making your wine, don't feel pressure to move on until you are ready. 

7 minutes - sanitized the wine thief and hydrometer and checked the SG which had dropped to .990 (this picture shows the hydrometer floating in the wine thief which I have lifted out of the carboy for a reading).  The instructions say to stabilize at .996 or less.  .990 is the mark that I like to hit.
4 minutes - now I had to sanitize the spoon and add the stabilizers to the carboy - potassium metabisuphite (click here for more info - wikipedia), potassium sorbate (click here for more info - wikipedia), and the chitosan (click here for more info - wikipedia).  After adding the 3 packages I stirred all the sediment up for 2 minutes.  To calculate the alcohol level - original SG was 1.075 minus final of .99 = .085 divided by 7.36 = 11 1/2%.  I have an office in my basement and make my wine in the furnace room.  2 TV's in my office, a TV in the wine room and a TV in my wine storage area beside the washroom.  When working in my office, with the TV's on, during commercials I do the majority of my winemaking.  If I move from one area to another the movies continue!

5 minutes - during the next hour I went back a few times and stirred the wine to release the CO2.  Total time to this point is 51 minutesWith Calgary's high altitude we suggest the use of a Vacuvin and bung inserted into the carboy.  This picture shows the amount of CO2 being released with the initial vacuum created using the Vacuvin.  Leave the bung under vacuum and use the Vacuvin daily for a few weeks, until there are no CO2 bubbles being released.  How much time?  2 weeks, 3 weeks, until it is done.  First thing in the morning, when I get home from work, during the evening and last thing at night I use the Vacuvin.  Initial use of the Vacuvin took 2 minutes,  Cleaned the thief, spoon and hydrometer bringing the total time now to one hour.

Day 34 - when there is sufficient vacuum the Vacuvin clicks.  First thing this morning I Vacuvinned, once the clicking started I did 20 clicks, total time 15 seconds.  Just as I left for work added another 20 clicks, total time 10 seconds.


 I vacuvinned 3 to 4  times a day for 15 seconds each time for 30 days, total time was 30 minutes to degas.

Day 55 - the wine is totally degassed so I am racking it off the sediment and allowing it to bulk age for a few months.  5 minutes to sanitize another carboy and auto syphon.  Went back to my movie and returned, just had to lift the carboy onto the table and clean the other carboy - 3 minutes.  Total time now at 1 hour & 38 minutes.

5 months - today I filtered with a Buon Vino which I was given as a gift.  It is not as good as the filters for rent at the Home Vintner.  I use it because I always have it available.  I plan on leaving the wine in the carboy for one more month and then will bottle.  Time to sanitize the filter - 13 minutes
.  Time to filter - 18 minutes.  Total time is now 2 hours 9 minutes.

10 days later - I have run out of carboys so have bottled today, what a beautiful site, another 28 bottles of wine for my cellar!  14 minutes to sanitze the bottles, 23 minutes to bottle, 9 minutes to cork, 7 minutes to label, 8 minutes for shrink tops.  The end result is 28 bottles added to my wine room.  I won't touch this wine for 2 years.  To get ahead of the game you need at least 6 carboys working full time.  If you are doing beer add another 6 carboys, that is our customer average. 

So the end of the story is this, it has taken 3 hours and 10 minutes to produce 28 bottles of wine.  I will age this wine for at least 2 years, on the commercial market this product would be about $25.00 a bottle, I paid about $4.25.  Do the math $700 worth of wine for $119.95.  There is no Alberta booze tax of $2.60 a bottle and no GST.  This is a win win for me.  The silver shrink tops have now been added to my wine cellar and I will enjoy it in the future.

Post filed under: Ask The Vintner

» All Articles & News


Terry wrote on Nov 21, 2011 3:29 PM:
Thanks for doing this Ron. It will be a big help for us newbies.
Carole wrote on Jul 19, 2012 4:20 PM:
when I do my wine i don't have all that foam like the picture. Am i suppose to have that foam and how.
Ron wrote on Jul 23, 2012 10:41 AM:
I used a liquid yeast which produces a lot more activity in both the primary and carboy. It helped in maturing the wine in that at 3 months it tasted a year old.
Tim wrote on Aug 26, 2012 5:41 PM:
Ron - Could you talk about the liquid yeast product? What is it? How does it help? I assume you carry it. How does it cost? Do you have to use different liquid yeast if it's the kit is white/red? This is the first I have heard of this but I love anything that might make my wine better.
Pat wrote on Aug 28, 2012 2:21 PM:
Yes , we carry liquid yeast - the brand name is Wyeast. It is kept refrigerated at our stores. On the day you want to start your wine or beer, remove it from the fridge, "activate" it by breaking open the inner nutrient packet. Keep at room temp until the bag "balloons" up and then pour in the liquid yeast. Liquid yeast adds dimension and character to your wine and beer. Yes, there are different liquid yeasts depending on the style of wine or beer. Check out for more info. Cost of Wyeast at our stores is $ 9.95 ( no tax). Hope this helps, Pat Airdrie store

Post a Comment

What are your thoughts? Simply fill out this form below to post a comment.

Your Name
    Email Address
Security Key
security key


Related Articles

Shellfish Allergy and Chitosan
POSTED November 1, 2009 | 0 COMMENTS

Bad Corks
POSTED November 1, 2009 | 0 COMMENTS

Organic Wines?
POSTED November 1, 2009 | 0 COMMENTS

POSTED November 1, 2009 | 0 COMMENTS

Degassing Your Wine
POSTED November 1, 2009 | 0 COMMENTS

Boorish Guests
POSTED November 1, 2009 | 0 COMMENTS

POSTED November 1, 2009 | 0 COMMENTS

Beer Season is Brewing
POSTED November 1, 2009 | 0 COMMENTS

POSTED November 1, 2009 | 0 COMMENTS

Primary Care
POSTED November 1, 2009 | 0 COMMENTS

Home | Winemaking | Products | Wine Ideas | About Us | Contact | Events | Gallery | Offers | Newsletter | © 2021 Site Design by Web Design Vancouver by Sharkbite Powered by Vortex CMS