Home Winemaking Classes
Since 1979, home wine and beer making have been a tradition for us here at Fulkerson Winery. We are delighted to offer classes in beginning home winemaking to assist in familiarizing you with the process of making your very own homemade wines.
2pm Saturdays, Sept. & Oct.
Fulkerson proudly presses and offers over 30 different varieties of grape juice for home winemakers. Shop our 100% whole grape juices, available fresh during September and October.
Home Winemaking & Brewing Supplies
We are here to support your home winemaking and brewing every step of the way, with a full line of supplies available through our fermentation shop year-round.
Carboys & Containers
Equipment & Supplies
Additives & Chemicals
Winemaking & Brewing Guides
Whether you’re looking to make wine or beer, we’re here to guide you every step of the way.
- Sterilize all equipment using 2 tsp. potassium meta-bisulfite per gallon of warm water to wash and sterilize carboy/fermentation vessel. Rinse twice with clean water.
- Bring juice up to room temperature for primary fermentation. Whites: 60-70°F, Reds: 70-80°F
- Create a yeast culture with Yeast Starter and yeast according to directions on sachet.
- Adjust sugar and acid per recommendations. Add Yeast Nutrient and Pectic Enzyme.
- Add yeast culture to carboy.
- Remove 3 quarts of juice and place in a glass one-gallon jug.
- Fill airlock half full with water, insert in rubber stopper and place in carboy and gallon jug.
- Ferment reds for 1-2 weeks with skins. Ferment whites and reds without skins 1-4 weeks. The airlock will be bubbling during this time.
- When you see a clear line of sediment and the airlock has slowed down almost to a stop, it’s time to rack your wine and remove the sediment.
- Top off carboy by racking wine in the gallon jug and store any extra in refrigerator for future topping-off of your carboy (if there is not enough wine to top off your carboy, don’t worry, there is usually enough CO2 in solution to fill the airspace).
- Warm wine up to 70-75°F and add Bacchus Malo Lactic Bacteria, let ferment until sediment layer forms. If secondary fermentation is not desired, skip this step.
- Rack off wine into a sterilized carboy
- Add 1/4 tsp. potassium meta-bisulfite to carboy.
- Place airlock back on carboy.
- Age until a clear line of sediment has settled to the bottom, this is usually between 1-2 months. During this time, keep an eye on the water level in your fermentation lock to be sure it does not all evaporate.
- Rack wine into a sterilized carboy – Add 1/4 tsp. potassium meta-bisulfite.
- Cold stabilize your wine by cooling the wine down to 25-30°F for two weeks or more. (easiest way to do this is to bury your carboy in about a foot of snow for 2-3 weeks. Mark it well with a flag). You will see potassium bi-tartrate crystals form and fall to the bottom of your carboy.
- Rack wine while cold, leaving the crystals behind. Add and thoroughly mix potassium sorbate or sterile filter (.5 microns or less) right after racking if sweetening (for home winemakers using filters, be aware that even filtering may not stop a refermentation, potassium sorbate is always recommended).
- Sterilize all equipment using 1 tsp. potassium meta-bisulfite per gallon of warm water. Rinse twice with clean water.
- In 3 gallons of water, slowly bring specialty grains (according to your specific recipe) up to 160°F and then remove from heat for 10 minutes.
- Remove grain (if in bag, do not squeeze).
- Make first addition of fermentable (DME/LME/SUGAR/etc).
- Bring contents (now called Wort [wort rhymes with hurt]) to a boil. Contents may foam, so be prepared to turn off heat if it boils over.
- Add “Bettering Hops” according to recipe and boil for 45 minutes.
- Add any “Flavoring Hops” in a steeping bag.
- Add rest of DME/LME per your individual recipe and stir for a minimum of one full minute.
- Boil for 15 minutes.
- Add any “Aroma Hops” per the recipe in a steeping bag and turn off the burner (your wort should now have been boiling for approximately one hour).
Cool your wort
- Pour 2 gallons of cold distilled or filtered water into your sterile carboy or fermentation container.
- Carefully remove the hop steeping bags.
- If you have an Immersion Wort Chiller or Heat Exchanger you may use one of these to cool your wort as quickly as possible following manufacturer instructions; if you do not own one of these, skip this step.
- Carefully pour your hot wort into your fermenter (fill to the 5 gallon level with more water) and place into a bath of ice water to cool it as quickly as possible. The wort must be below 85°F in order to add yeast or you run the risk of killing them.
- Monitor your chilling progress with a sterile thermometer, once the temperature is below 85°F, you may take a sample of wort with a sterile wine/beer thief and check the Specific Gravity with a sterile hydrometer. Record your results and discard (or drink) your sample (record any tasting notes).
- Pitch your desired yeast by sprinkling it on the surface of the wort or by making a yeast culture with a little “Yeast Starter”.
- Place a water-filled fermentation lock on your fermenter.
- Lag phase (aka cell build-up) by yeast may last a couple of hours to a few days, so do not worry if nothing happens for 24-48 hours.
- Your beer will start to “bubble” and foam for around 3 days to a week (depending on how vigorous your fermentation is, it may “foam over”, so always ferment in an easy to clean area).
- Once fermentation slows, you will not notice bubbling anymore and your beer will begin to clear.
- After around 10-20 days (longer for lagers and higher gravity beers) your beer will be “finished”.
- Carefully check the specific gravity with a sterile hydrometer and record your results. By subtracting this number (“Final Gravity” or “FG”) from the “OG” you recorded before fermentation, you will get the approximate “Strength” or alcohol level of your beer. Use the formula: OG___- FG___ / .0075 = ___% Approx. alcohol by volume. Discard or taste sample and record any tasting notes.
Carbonate your beer
- Add Priming sugar (about one cup of granulated or corn sugar per 5 gallons of beer) and bottle.
- Keg and force carbonate.
- Sanitize all of your equipment using 1 tsp. potassium meta-bisulfite per gallon of warm water. Rinse twice with clean water.
- Boil your priming sugar in in 2 cups of water and place in the bottom of a sterile bottling bucket.
- Transfer your clear beer from the “lees” with sterile siphon equipment into the bottling bucket, leaving behind the sediment. (Discard sediment and clean fermentation container)
- Stir well to mix in the sugar.
- Clean and sterilize 50 new or used beer bottles (NOT THE SCREW CAP KIND).
- Begin bottling by slowly filling each bottle (make sure fill levels are consistent). It is best to use a bottle filler as it is designed to stop when you lift it off the bottom of the bottle.
- Cap each bottle with NEW clean and sterile crimp style beer cap.
Bottle your beer
Age your beer
- Put your beer in a dark place around 70°F (light will degrade the beer).
- After approximately 2 weeks, put your beer in a cooler place or cold storage (aka the fridge) for longer storage.
- Drink (Beer is the best between 3-12 weeks after bottling. Stronger beers may be best after 12-20 weeks in the bottle. Lagers are best if not bottled until at least 4 weeks after brewing and usually need to sit for another 4-6 weeks in the bottle until they reach their peak).