Wine Making: Upgrades & Wine Kits


I have officially upgraded my wine making equipment to a 3 and 6 gallon kit 😆.

Plus I brought 3 different wine kits, which I will be putting my custom touches too!

Looking forward to getting started on these new wines:
– Cabernet Sauvignon (1 Gallon)
– Cabernet Franc Icewine (3 Gallon)
– Pink Moscato (6 Gallon)

I’ll be breaking down each one of these kits over the next few weeks, so stay tuned 🍷

Wine Making Class: Week 1 – Wine Kits, Hydrometer, & Acid Titration Test

My local brewing & wine supply store (DeFalco’s) has a wine making class once a year in the spring, so I decided to take the class and perfect my craft!

We meet every Tuesday from 7-9:30pm for 6 weeks and the class was only $79 (includes material).

Week 1

After introductions, our instructor (DeFalco’s Owner, Scott Birdwell) gave us a high-level overview of what we would be doing and learning in the classes

DeFalcos Owner Scott Birdwell

For our first class, we made a Red & White wine kit from Winexpert. This was new for me, since I’ve never made a wine kit before and really wanted to know what came in it and the value of the kits before I spent money.

Wine Kits

The red wine was a Chilean Malbec Shirez, which came with:

  • Concentrated Grape Juice
  • Grape Skins
  • Yeast
  • Bentonite
  • Metabisulphite
  • Sorbate
  • Fining Agent
  • Mesh Straining Bag
  • Oak Powder
  • Oak Cubes

WE Selection Chilean Malbec Shiraz

The white wine was a Washington Riesling, which came with everything listed above except grape skins. This kit had a F-pack (Sweetening Juice) instead.

WE Washington Riesling

The Winexpert has a variety of kit types and grape varietal ranging from $60-$245. Each kit makes approximately 30 bottles of wine, which averages out to about $5 per bottle of wine.

Hydrometer & Acid Titration Test

In the week 1 class we also learned the proper methods of using a hydrometer, conducting an acid titration test.

The Hydrometer is used to check the Specific Gravity (SG) in you ingredients before, during and at the end of fermentation in order to calculate the wines alcohol content.

The Acid Tritration Test is used to check the acid levels in your ingredients. This would allow for you to add more acid to avoid a flat wine or to reduce the acid and avoid a really tart/sour wine.

Week 1 Closing

All in all Week 1 was great! I learned a lot, met some really awesome people, and sampled a lot of wine. I’m really looking forward to Week 2 and sharing my experience with you all…until next time!

Link to Week 2

Wine Making: Blueberry Port


When I purchased my wine making kit, I also received the Winemaker’s recipe handbook by Raymond Massaccesi. One recipe stood out to my husband immediately, the Blueberry Port. Both of us are Port fanatics, so it was only right to make it.

Blueberry Port Recipe:

  • 6 lbs Blueberries
  • 1/2 pt Red grape concentrate (for later at bottling)
  • 1/2 cup LT Dry Malt
  • 4 pts Water
  • 1 3/4 lbs Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Acid blend
  • 1/2 tsp Pectic Enzyme
  • 1/2 Energizer
  • 1 Campden tablet, crushed
  • 1 pkg Sherry or Port Yeast ( I used the Lalvin EC-118)


Now, this is the first time I have used fresh fruit. The directions tell you to use a nylon straining bag to mash and strain out the juice into the primary fermentor. I found this to be a little weird and messy, so I placed the remaining berries on the stove with water and extracted the juice by boiling them. Then I dissolved my sugar in the hot berry juice.

Once the juice cooled to room temperature, I poured the juice and berries into the nylon straining bag over my primary fermentor (This allows you to strain all your juice into the primary fermentor and leave the blueberry pulp in the bag). I then removed the straining bag and stirred  all my ingredients EXCEPT yeast and added back my tied nylon straining bag of blueberry pulp. After the ingredients set in the primary covered for 24 hours, I added the package of yeast.

A week later, this is what I have


Even with the nylon straining bag, some of the pulp makes it into the primary fermentor. So, I siphoned it through a strainer and then transferred it to my secondary.

I’ll rack in 4 weeks, and again in 2 months. Then it’s time for bottling, when I will add 1/2 tsp Stabilizer and 1/2 pint Red Grape Concentrate.

 Alcohol Content: 

I used my hydrometer to check my S.G., which was 1.110 when I started. When I transferred from my primary to secondary it was already at 1.000 S.G., that is approximately, 14.9% alcohol volume.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m use to my Port’s ranging from 18%-20%, so I’m not too sure this recipe could be considered a Port. Normally, Port’s are fortified with a distilled alcohol containing between 30-60%, but this recipe used a Lt Dry Malt.

Nevertheless, I’m sure the recipe will make for a great wine!

Next in the Pipeline:

My next wine will be a white wine, I’m thinking muscadines grape, peach, and apple.

Wine Making: Getting Started Making My First Batch of Wine

Ari's Country Wine

After ton’s of research via various blogs and Youtube videos, I finally decided to make make my own wine at home and join the multitude of home wine makers.

I purchased a 1 Gallon Kit, from my local Home Wine & Beer supply store in Houston (DeFalco’s), which included the following:

  • Primary Fermenter (2 Gallon Bucket w/lid)
  • Secondary Fermenter (1 Gallon Glass Carboy)
  • 4″ Siphon Hose
  • Shutoff Clamp
  • Hydrometer
  • 3 Pc Airlock and Stopper
  • Sanitizer and campden tablets
  • Wine Yeast, yeast nutrient, pectic enzyme, acid blend, and grape tannin
  • Stringing Bag
  • 5 corks
  • Handcraft Winemaking Guide

I also purchased an additional Secondary Fermenter & Airlock, so that I could start another batch of wine once I moved the 1st from the primary fermenter.

Ari’s Country Wine Recipe

  • 50.7 fl. oz – 100% Apple Juice (I used Martinelli’s Gold Medal)
  • 32 fl. oz – 100% Cherry Juice (I used R.W. Knudsen)
  • 33.8 fl. oz – 100% Mango Juice (I used Ceres)
  • 12 fl. oz – Spring Water
  • 3 cups 5 oz – Sugar (Heated on stove with the water listed above)
  • 1 tsp – Acid Blend
  • 1/4 tsp – Grape Tannin
  • 1 Campden Tablet
  • 1 tsp – Super Ferment
  • 1 pkg – Red Star Pasteur Champagne Yeast

I mixed all my ingredients (excluding the the package of yeast) into my primary fermenter and let it sit for 24 hrs. Then it was time to add the yeast.

So, now I’m 2 week’s into the process and have transitioned my must from the primary to the secondary fermenter. The wine smells so good!!! I can’t wait until it’s ready to drink, but fine wine takes time.

Since my primary is free, I already started my next batch, which is a Blueberry Port.

Update: Bottling & Labeling My First Batch of Wine