At Italian restaurants around the world, one of the more evocative sights is the eponymous bottle of red wine with a straw basket on the bottom. Chianti, a red wine from the Tuscany region of Italy, is usually a blend of primarily Sangiovese with small amounts of a variety of grapes, including Cabernet Sauvignon. It is possible to make Chianti at home, especially with the wine-making kits sold today. Indeed, the wine-making kits make it possible to spend less money for a higher quality bottle of Chianti than you could find at the market.
Things You'll Need
Clean and sanitize all of your equipment. In the sanitized fermenter, combine the recommended amount of water with the juice concentrate. Make sure to rinse the juice concentrate container to extract all of the juice. If needed, add additional water to the fermenter to reach the volume of wine the fermenter can hold.
Measure the specific gravity of the wine using the hydrometer and a test jar. The specific gravity also details the amount of sugar in the wine.
Add the oak chips or powder to the fermenter and stir together. Check the temperature of the juice, and make sure it is between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. If so, add the package of yeast by sprinkling it over the surface. Then, cover the fermenter and store it in an area that remains between 65 and 75 F.
Take a sample after at least five days, and measure the specific gravity with the hydrometer. If the reading is at the level recommended in the kit’s instructions, then proceed to rack, or transfer, the wine into the carboy using the siphoning tube and racking tube.
If the specific gravity rating is still too high — usually because the room temperature was too low — then you must wait and test the juice daily until it is low enough. Once the wine is transferred to the carboy, attach an airlock and the rubber bung and leave the carboy to ferment for at least one week.
Measure the specific gravity after seven to 10 days, and compare it to the kit’s suggestions. Check again the next day. If the reading has remained the same, the fermentation process is complete and the wine is ready to be fined. If the reading changes, then keep checking until it is stable for two days. This is important because the wine could undergo another fermentation in the bottle, and ruin the wine, if the specific gravity is not stable.
Add in the fining chemical packets provided in the kit and stir vigorously, making sure to stir up all the sediment at the bottom of the carboy. Re-seal the carboy and allow the wine to clarify for at least two weeks.
Clean the wine bottles. Siphon the wine into the bottles, and use the corker to cork the bottle. Leave a space of one-half inch between the wine level and the bottom of the cork. Stand the newly-corked bottles upright for at least two days so the cork can seal.
Afterward, store the bottles on their sides in a cool, dark area. Wait at least one month to try your wine, but it will taste better after two to three months. Enjoy.
Make sure to follow the instructions specific to the wine kit.
References and ResourcesHow to Make Homemade Wine: Fundamentals of How To Make Homemade Wine
Wine Intro: Chianti Wine Information
Home Wine Making Kits: Home Wine Making Equipment