We have come to the final step in the wine making process. Your wine should be cleared now and ready to bottle. This is the fun part because you also get to sample your wine. Although you will want to let your wine age for at least a couple months (even more for the red wines) in order to get the fullest body and flavor, it does not hurt to try some of your wine when bottling it. The sweet fruit wines don’t need much aging at all.
You will first need to make sure your equipment and bottles are sterilized properly. EZ Clean mixed with water works great. You can use a fermenting bucket partially filled with this solution to dip your bottle in, or you can use a funnel to pour the solution in your bottles. Fill each bottle with a couple inches worth of solution and shake them up well. Drain out the solution and then place them upside down to further drain and dry. Use the box the bottles came in with paper towels lining the bottom to do this or use your dishwasher rack. However you do this, make sure everything is sterilized that the bottles come in contact with.
Using your auto-siphon, start the flow of wine into a small bucket. Pinch off the flow and attach the bottle filler stem to the end of the tube. The bottle filler has a spring loaded valve that will open when the bottle filler is pushed against the bottom of the bottle. Fill each bottle to the very top, lift up on the filler to stop the flow. When the filler stem is removed from the bottle, the liquid level will drop to the proper level due to the stem’s displacement of wine.
Drop your corks into the sanitizing bucket and make sure the hand corker is sanitized in the area where it come in contact with the cork. Cork each bottle by inserting a cork into the hand corker and forcing the cork into the bottle with the handles on the corker. Let your wine bottles sit sit upright for a couple days and then store them in a cool place on a wine rack or a horizontal position. This is especially important for the traditional corks which need to stay moist so they do not dry out.
Red wines should be aged 4 to 6 months for the best taste, but the white and sweeter wines can be aged in less time.