Yeast Starter

The following recipe is pulled directly from Jack Keller’s web page on Yeast Starters. He’s written an excellent page there that I highly recommend reading. However, the way he has written out the process of creating a yeast starter, in my humble opinion, needs a lot of rereading in order to be comprehended. On this page I have merely restructured his instructions in a traditional recipe format that I find easier to understand. Jack is apparently flooded with e-mails, so he’s hard to get a hold of. I hope he does not take offense that I am providing my rendition of his recipe here in case others might find it useful.


  • 1 – 4 cup tupperware container with lid for yeast starter (larger is fine)
  • 1 – packet of active dry yeast
  • 1 cup of 100 – 105°F tap or spring water.
    The harder the water the better; do not use distilled water.
  • ½ cup of non-citrus, pre-sweetened fruit juice.
    Concord or white grape are good depending on the wine you are making.
  • 1 – 1 cup tupperware container with lid for juice (larger is fine)


  1. In the first container combine yeast and water. Stir gently, cover and let sit.
  2. After 30 minutes check the yeast. If it appears to be active (not dead) cover and let sit.
  3. While that sits set out a ¼ cup of fruit juice so that it will aclimate to the same temperature as the yeast starter.
  4. After 3 hours add the ¼ cup of juice to the yeast starter, cover and let sit in a warm place. Set out another ¼ cup of juice.
  5. After 4 hours check viability, add the second ¼ cup of juice to the yeast starter, cover and let sit in a warm place.
  6. After another 4 hours the yeast starter is ready to add to the must.