Californian Connoisseur Red Wine


Brewing Instructions

[These instructions may vary slightly between different Californian Connoisseur Red kits - please refer to the instructions in the box to get the exact details]

These kits produces 30 bottles of quality red wine in as little as 28 days.

Made from the finest grape concentrates California has to offer, California Connoisseur has become synonymous with outstanding wines of distinctive character, worthy of being served to all who appreciate the proud heritage of the vintner's art.

You will also need equipment to make the wine.

Buy a Californian Connoisseur Red Wine Kit


The following ingredients are included in this kit

- Grape concentrate / juice  
- Yeast  
- Packet #2 Benonite helps yeast activity, and removes proteins.
- Packet #3 Potassium Metabisulphite used as an anti-oxidant to prevent oxidation and improves shelf life.
- Packet #4 Potassium Sorbate used to prevent re-fermentation in sweetened wines.
- Packet #5 Fining Agent removes proteins, which results in clear stable wine.
Depending on the variety your kit may include one of the following :
- Oak Granulars imparts buttery, vanilla notes
- Elderberries imparts a tannic edge
- Elderflowers imparts a flowery nose reminiscent of Germanic style
- Reserve Bag sweetening agent



Day 1:

Remember to sterilise your container and equipment before proceeding. See “Hints for Success” Item 1. Most municipal water supplies are chlorinated which can interfere with yeast leading to incomplete fermentation. It is strongly recommended that make up water be drawn off the day before use and allowed to sit overnight at room temperature to allow chlorine to dissipate. Alternatively you may use still bottled water.

  1. pouring-wine-concentrateCarefully pour contents of bag into your sterilised primary fermentor. (fig 01)
  2. Rinse bag to fermentor using 2 to 3 litres (8-10 cups) of warm water.
  3. To 500ml (2 cups) of hot water in a clean bottle or blender add the contents of Packet No.2 (Bentonite).  Shake bottle or blend for 2-3 minutes to dissolve. Add to primary fermentor.
  4. If your kit contains one of the following:Oak granulars, elderberries or elderflowers, add to the kit now.
  5. Add sufficient water to bring contents of primary fermentor to the 23L (6 US gal.) mark and stir well. The resultant temperature should be 20-25°C (70-77F). If the temperature is not in this range, cover container and allow to stand in a suitable environment until it is achieved.
  6. Add Wine Yeast (sprinkle on top or carefully follow instructions on yeast package), cover with lid or plastic sheet and tie down.
  7. Place container in a warm spot (20-25°C / 70-77F) and leave to ferment for 7 days or until the specific gravity drops to <1.010. Should the temperature be lower than recommended, allow an extra two or three days. See “Hints for Success” Item 3.


Day 8:

Most of the fermentation will be complete. The specific gravity should be less than 1.010 but if not, wait a few days before proceeding to the next steps.

  1. Syphon wine into carboy leaving sediment behind. We strongly recommend not topping up ensuring properly balanced wine.
  2. Attach half-filled fermentation lock, and leave carboy to complete fermentation (approximately 12 days). Check specific gravity every other day, and when the reading is <0.995, and you get two consistent readings in a row, it time to go to the next step.


Day 20:

All fermentation should now be completed. Do not execute the next steps until fermentation is completed (the specific gravity should be less than 0.995 and no yeast activity is seen). Allow extra time if required. Residual carbon dioxide gas must be removed from the wine prior to final clarification for the fining agent to be effective. Stirring or shaking the carboy will de-gas the wine.

  1. Syphon the wine into a plastic or glass carboy fitted with a fermentation lock.
  2. To 125ml. (½ cup) of cool water add the contents of Packet No.3 (Potassium metabisulphite). Stir to dissolve. Add to wine and mix thoroughly.
  3. Stir the wine in the carboy to remove the unwanted carbon dioxide gas.
  4. Repeat this procedure several times (at least 6 to 8) overt the next 2 days. (Remember to replace the fermentation lock after stirring.)


Day 22:

At this stage, the wine must be completely degassed or the fining agent will not be effective. If you are choosing to add sweetener or conditioner to the wine see “Hints for Success” Item #5.

  1. To 125ml. (½ cup) of warm water add the contents of Packet No. 4 (Potassium Sorbate). Stir to dissolve. Add to wine and mix thoroughly.
  2. Position the carboy on a table so that no further movement is required prior to bottling.
  3. If you are planning to add sweetener or conditioner, do so at this stage. See Hints for Success #8.
  4. Add the contents of Packet No. 5 (Fining Agent) into the wine and mix thoroughly.
  5. Refit fermentation lock or rubber bung and leave the wine undisturbed to clear for up to 6 days.


Day 28:

Wine should be ready to bottle. If the wine has not clarified yet, leave for a few more days. It is recommended that you filter the product prior to bottling. If ageing your wine for longer than 6 months, add ¼ tsp. of Potassium Metabisulfite dissolved in wine prior to bottling.

  1. Syphon wine into a clean sterilised carboy, leaving any remaining sediment behind.
  2. Filter the product using a medium pore size filter that has been properly prepared. Follow your filter instructions.
  3. Syphon the clear wine to sterilised bottles allowing 2.5cm-3.5cm (1-1½”) head space between cork wine.
  4. Insert sterilised wine corks using a hand corker. Corks may be sterilised by soaking 15 minutes in sterilising solution. See “Hints for Success” Item 1.
  5. Wait 24-48 hours before inverting the bottles once corked. This will allow expansion time for the corks, and will decrease the chances of leakers.

This wine is very acceptable to drink at bottling time and it will continue to improve if allowed to further mature in a consistently cool dark place, oriented on its sides.



It is absolutely essential that all equipment and bottles be clean and sterilised before use. A sterilising solution is best made by dissolving 50g of metabisulfite in 4L (1 US gal.) of water (retain for future use). Be certain to rinse all traces of sterilant from your equipment and bottles before proceeding. Failure to properly sterilise and rinse may result in unsuccessful wine.


Most municipal supplies are heavily chlorinated. Chlorine in the make up water can severely interfere with yeast activity leading to incomplete (stuck) fermentation. It is strongly recommended that make up water is drawn off the day before use and allowed to age overnight at room temperature. This will permit the chlorine to dissipate.


Your Wine Kit has been designed to ferment at 22°C (72F). Temperatures above 30°C (85F) will inactivate the yeast while the yeast while temperatures below 20°C (70F) will prolong the time required to make the wine. The correct fermentation temperature can be assured with the help of a heating pad or brew belt. The temperature of the wine should be carefully monitored.


The purpose of the fermentation lock is prevent oxygen and spoilage organisms from entering the wine at the same time permitting the escape to carbon dioxide gas. The lock should be half filled with water or sulfite solution and refitted to the carboy after each operation.


A wine hydrometer is very useful in checking the progress of the fermentation as it reads the relative specific gravity. As the fermentation progresses, the specific gravity decreases as the sugar gets converted to alcohol and carbon dioxide. Should you choose to follow the progress of your wine the target readings may be used as a guide. To use, immerse the sterilised hydrometer into a cylinder of wine or juice so that it free floating. To read the hydrometer, the level at which the liquid intersects the stem is your specific gravity.


The residual carbon dioxide gas must be removed from the wine prior to final clarification otherwise the fining agent will not work. This can be accomplished by gently stirring or shaking the carboy.


Care must be taken not to mix the sediment with the clear wine at the bottling stage. Should this inadvertently occur it will be necessary to let the sediment re-settle for a few days before proceeding. The use of rigid plastic racking tube and clamp in conjunction with the siphon hose is very helpful. When racking, try not to splash the wine to minimise the incorporation of oxygen into your wine.


Your wine kit will ferment to a very dry wine. If you wish to sweeten the wine, you may add Wine Conditioner. To add body, you can add Finishing Formula.