Remove the stones then crush the sloes in a pre-sanitised fermenting bucket. Tip: An Olive/Cherry Pitter is a useful gadget for easily removing the stones.
Pour the water over the contents together with the rest of the ingredients. Stir thoroughly. Cover the bucket with a cloth and leave to ferment in a warm place for 5 days. Stir the contents of the bucket daily. Then strain into a 1-gallon demijohn through a muslin or nylon straining bag. Press as much juice through as possible and discard the pulp. It may be necessary to top up with cooled boiled water to 4½litres.
Fit a bung and airlock and leave in a warm place to continue to ferment out completely.
Fermentation should be complete in 2-4 weeks. It should then be checked with a hydrometer. The hydrometer will indicate the remaining sugar level and finishing levels are :
- Dry Wine-0.990-0.996
- Medium Wine-0.996-01.009
- Sweet Wine-1.009-1.018
Wine Sweetener or Glycerine (which smoothens the wine) can be used to sweeten the wine to taste. These are non-fermentable products and unlike sugar, will not increase the risk of post-fermentation.
Fermenting the Wine
At the end of fermentation add 1 crushed Campden tablet and half a teaspoon of potassium sorbate per gallon. Leave in a warm place for 3 days to kill off the yeast. Then the wine should be left to clear in a cool place (15C) before siphoning from the sediment.
Country wines will often not clear on their own and we recommend adding finings. Winefine finings are very effective. When clear you should pass the wine through a Vinbrite filter to obtain a professional finish before bottling.
Bottling your wine
The wine should now be bottled and stored in a cool dark place to mature for at least 6 months. During this time any rough tastes will be smoothed out and the wine will improve in bouquet and flavour.