Technique

Great Wines from Kits

Do you think it’s hard to make wine? Maybe that’s because of your winemaking neighbor — the one who grows his own grapes, built his own oaken press, and gives you tours of his temperature-controlled wine cellar. He speaks knowingly of fungal amylase and malo-lactic fermentation. He won’t tell you this, but you can make wine without stringing grape vines across your yard. Good wine. The secret? Use a kit. Your neighbor shouldn’t look down his nose at the simplicity of a kit; he probably started with one himself. Wine kits consist of concentrated grape extract, an envelope of yeast, several pre-measured packages of chemicals and, most important, instructions. Kits exist for any wine you’ve ever heard of, from Chablis to Liebfraumilch. Kits are even available for country wines — wines made from something other than grapes, such as elderberries. Kits generally make around five gallons of wine, about 30 bottles. The following instructions and occurrences are for a Chardonnay. Stage One: Cleaning and Sanitizing Cleaning and sanitizing are two separate steps. Cleaning removes dirt and stains. If your kit