Through extensive research we have found we produce better wine if a racking is done when the gravity reaches 1010. It is also preferable the initial fermentation is done in a fermenting bucket with a large lid (and then transferred to a standard wine fermenter). By using a bucket with a large lid it is easier to mix the wine, and during fermentation the carbon dioxide has more chance of escaping. This results in a less gassy wine and will clear easier. It also gets the fermented wine off the dead yeast cells quicker (less chance of a yeasty taste). WE RECOMMEND THIS, but it is not essential to do it.

  1. Make sure all your equipment is clean and sterilised before starting. We recommend you use our Ritchie Cleaner/Steriliser. Make sure your container is marked at 23 litres, if not you need to do this now as this will be necessary in instruction 2.

  2. Pour the bag of grape juice (to open the bag, insert a blunt instrument to ease the cap off) into your 25 litre bucket or fermenter. Rinse out with warm water, and then add this to your bucket or fermenter. Continue adding water (which needs to be between 18°-25 °C) until your fermenter is just over the 23 litre mark. The temperature in the bucket or fermenter should be approximately 20°-25 °C (68°-77 °F), the nearer to 20 °C the better. Make sure the contents are completely mixed, by swirling the container vigorously. It is as well-to-do a hydrometer reading at this stage, it should show a reading between 1075-1082. The only way to make sure you have an accurate reading is by doing two readings as follows; the first should be done when you think you have mixed the juice sufficiently well. Then container should then be swirled again for a further 3 minutes, left to settle for 10 minutes, and the second reading can then be taken. If the second reading is the same as the first you know the juice has been fully dissolved. If it is higher than the first keep repeating this process until you get the two readings the same. The kits however are perfectly balanced and therefore a hydrometer reading is not necessary (more for your records).

  3. White Wines Only: sprinkle the Bentonite on the surface of your grape juice and wait 15 minutes, then stir well.

  4. Oak Chippings: We recommend this is added to the wine (but you don’t have to if you don’t want your wine oaked). Add chippings to bucket/fermenter. Riesling and Piesporter only: Add the sachet of Elderflowers.

  5. Sprinkle the yeast into the container and stir, replace the cap/lid complete with airlock and bung (the airlock should be half filled with clean water).

  6. Leave to ferment in a warm place 20°-25 °C (68°-77 °F). We would recommend you keep the temperature as close to 20 °C as possible (but no lower). If your airlock is bubbling vigorously this indicates the room temperature is too high, so check this. It could also be your liquid temperature at the start was also too high. Please check this carefully as the best quality wine will be produced at temperatures nearer to 20 °C.


    If you are making with a transfer at 1010, then fermentation will need checking around day 5. If the gravity is 1010 (or when it is) syphon the wine into a sterilised 23 litre fermenter (preferably glass — yes they really are much better) leaving a layer of sediment in the bucket (it doesn’t matter if a small amount is transferred). If you are making without a transfer leave the wine to ferment out. Total making time will be approximately 10-15 days for whites and 15-20 days for reds, depending on temperature. If you didn’t transfer at 1010, then syphon into a clean fermenter as soon as fermentation is complete.

  7. Fermentation will be complete when hardly any bubbles are going through the airlock (less than one per minute). Check the wine with a hydrometer, and taste it (should be dry). If the reading is too high allow it to continue, if it is down to the right hydrometer reading it should show:

    Red Wines 990-995
    Rosé / White Wines 990-996.

    Add the sachet of Stabiliser to the wine, this will prevent future fermentation taking place. However, it will not stop the present fermentation, so make absolutely sure the wine has completely stopped. A hydrometer reading should be the same for three continuous days, if in doubt leave for a further period. It will do no harm at all. Once you are sure the fermentation is complete swirl the container for 3 or 4 minutes to remove the carbon dioxide gases. This should be repeated several times (at least 3 times a day for 3-4 days). The more this is done the easier it will be to clear the wine. A Ritchie De-Gasser is perfect for this and makes the process very easy.

  8. The wine should now have the finings added. Add the sachet of Kieselsol to the container, shake for 10 seconds to mix, replace cap and leave for 24 hours. Now add the Chitosan to the container, shake for 10 seconds to mix, replace cap. Leave in a cool place to clear. The wine should be clear in 3-7 days, dependent on the conditions it could be before this. Finings work best if they are lightly mixed in (folded in).

  9. When the wine is clear, it should be carefully syphoned off the yeast sediment using a U-bend and plastic tubing, (Ritchie Auto Syphon is excellent for this), either directly into the wine bottles or into another 23 litre container. The latter is preferable if you want to filter or sweeten your wine. For sweetening we recommend adding and dissolving either sugar, Ritchie grape juice or Ritchie wine sweetener. Sugar should be added 50gms at a time with tastings between each addition until the desired sweetness is achieved.

    The wine is ready for drinking immediately but will improve if matured for several months in a cool place.

Shop for Beaverdale 30 Bottle Wine Kits and homemade wine kits

On the House Wine Kits is a fantastic alternative to the Beaverdale range offering the same amount of juice and procedure.

If you are looking to make a wine with more depth and flavour we suggest trying Winexpert Classic Wine Kits.