Make a Yeast Starter

Make a yeast starter by pouring approximately 100 ml (3.4 oz.) of juice and 100 ml (3.4 oz.) of hot water into a large glass mug. Sprinkle the yeast into this solution and allow the yeast to proliferate for about 30 minutes at room temperature.

After the 30 minutes have elapsed, pour 3/4 of the yeast “slurry” volume into the carboy and 1/4 into the overflow vessels. The overflow containers could be a couple of gallon jugs or the 11 litre plastic canister for example. If you are using a 30L fermentation vessel, then the entire starter can be poured in there.

Saccharomyces bayanus is the yeast strain that we use at our urban winery in Guelph. With this strain we are able to avoid experiencing stuck fermentations or a fermentation of prolonged duration.

We have just added the yeast to the juice/water mixture

The Fermentation

Take a specific gravity (s.g.) reading using the hydrometer. It should usually be anywhere from 1085-1100. Write down the s.g., it will be needed to determine the alcohol % later. Remember to ferment in a room between 20.5°C and 26°C.
To provide the yeast with the oxygen it needs to multiply, place a paper towel in the neck of the bottles for the first 2-3 days. Then replace with bung and airlocks filled with fresh clean water. Skip this step if you are using a 30L fermenter.

Oaking – If you would like to oak your wine, adding a small amount of oak chips to your juice at fermentation can help bring out some of the oak flavours. We recommend using 1/3 of your oak at fermentation and 2/3 at racking. Ask us for details on appropriate oaking amounts.

The fermentation should take 7-10 days. The optimal s.g. is 996 or lower. Days 1-2 will see little activity. Days 3-6 will have lots of bubbling and action, and then it will slow down.

Take a hydrometer measurement after 7 days. If the wine has not reached 996 after 14 days you can gently “swish” the carboy/fermenter to move the viable yeast inside. Adding yeast nutrient can also resolve a stuck fermentation.

Click here to read the next step of our winemaking instructions or contact us for more information.

30 minutes later, we have a yeast starter ready to go.