1. Before you start clear your work space only with the tools needed in the sink, fill the sink with warm water and 1/2tsp of sterilizer and wash down the surfaces, your equipment and more importantly your hands!, otherwise you will brew vinegar.
2. Fill the demi john 1/3 of the way with cold water; this must be done before anything else goes in as heat will crack the demi-john.
3. Fill the pan with a litre and half of water or there abouts, add the tea bags and raisins, stew for 20 minutes or until raisins loose color and liquid is dark brown from the tea, if you want a stronger taste, 10-12 tea bags o strew for 40 minutes.
4. Remove the raisins and the tea bags
5. Keep the liquid on a medium heat and stir in 2lbs of sugar until completely dissolved, if you have too much liquid in the pan use the jug and remove some and place into the demi john.
6. When sugar is dissolved, place into the demi john
7. Add the juice of one lemon or the 1 tsp of citric acid into the demi-john
8. You’re demijohn should be around ¾ full or there abouts, if not add more water you should have around 2 inch gap between the demi john vessel and the neck of the demi john.
9. Start your yeast fermenting
10. Yeast, use a small glass and fill up around and inch of tepid water no hotter or it will kill the yeast cultures colder it wont wake them up, must be luke warm, add a tsp of sugar, seal the glass by placing a plate on top of it and leave this for 15 minutes or until the froth is around inch thick.
11. Add 1tsp yeast nutrient to your demi john, add the yeast in ONLY IF the demi john is blood temperature, if its hot then leave until it cools.
12. Carefully! Pick up the demijohn, place one hand at the bottom, push hard and cover the demi john neck with the palm of your other hand curling your fingers into the handles and turn upside down and back upright a few times to mix the entire lot together, be careful as this is heavy and it must be air locked by the palm of your hand or it will spray out.
13. Once the mixture looks a milky dark brown, fill up the airlock half way with water, and place into the bung hole, place this into the neck of the demi john, if at this stage there is more than an inch gap between the demijohn vessel and the demi-john neck you can add a splash more of water.
Well done, you’ve started your wine mix, now wait patiently for your first air bubble, don’t be put off it can take between 10-25 minutes.
15. Leave for around 3 weeks, or until there is 30 seconds 50 seconds between the air bubbles, if it takes 4 weeks then so be it, or even 2.5 weeks.
Now you have fermented your tea wine, you will notice that there is a bit of sludge at the bottom of your demi-john this is the dead yeast and particles, we need to now stop the yeast fermenting further, this is where you place in 1-2 campden tablets, crush the tablets between two tsp’s and add to the demi-john, just like you did initially you have to shake the demi-john up to make sure the tablets are evenly distributed. Leave for 1 days to kill the yeast and the dead yeast to drop to the bottom.
Now you will notice that your wine is looking a little cleared and the sludge at the bottom has increased, this is due to the yeast dying and some dropping but there is one more stage before we can completely clear it, its called degassing, take a long plastic kitchen utensil and place the handle into the demi john using it as a stick almost, making sure its perfectly clean, no waggle it back and forth and notice the fizz come to the surface like pop, keep doing this until that fizz has gone, or reduced down to 1/3rd fizz, your sludge might have mixed back into the demi john but this isn’t a problem, leave for 3 days.
Note if you want your wine perfectly clear, buy a sachet of wine finings from brew shops or Wilkinson’s, this is the stage you will add it, if you add it now, swish the demi around a few times, and leave it for up to 5 days, when you can see a ruler behind the demi john looking through your wine is ready to bottle.
Now you have made you wine, killed the yeast, removed any particles of gas holding dead yeast and there is a thick sludge at the bottom. Now we need to siphon off the nice wine into bottles.
1 Gallon = 6 bottles
Make sure all your bottles are clean and sterilized
Line them up either on a chair below the demi john or on the floor, the siphon tube must be able to sit in the demi john comfortably and also enter the bottle necks, the demi must be higher than the bottles as the liquid needs to travel down the pipe. Suck one end of the siphon tube that will enter the bottles and then quickly place into the neck of a bottle, the liquid will rapidly start to fill the bottle up, just before the bottle neck remove it and place into the second bottle and so on until the liquid has gone from the demi john ensuring that you don’t suck up any sludge, you might want to rock your demi carefully to one side to get the most wine out of your demi.
Now cork you bottles, buy plastic corks, otherwise you need to buy a corker to use wooden corks, if you use shrink caps use the kettle to shrink the wrap on the neck of the bottle, be careful as too much steam can crack the glass.
Tip – all wines should be matured for the best full bodied flavor, some you can get away with straight away, but if you feel a burn when you swallow, rather than grab the Gaviscon afterwards, leave your wine mature instead, recommended min of 3 months, good at 6 months amazing at 12 months.
Enjoy your wine!