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Old 08-21-2010, 06:17 PM   #1
mgreenly
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Default Wine Kit Advice

First, I would like to say that this is a great and very informative forum. I tried to look around for a bit, but didn't really come across what I was looking for (its probably here somewhere and I'm just not looking in the right place).

My wife and I enjoy semi-sweet white wines and I am looking to make a homemade batch. An example of the flavor we like is Vignoles from Stone Hill Winery, but do enjoy Pinot Grigio as well. Any suggestions on a wine kit that isn't too expensive (less that $100) that will produce something that is similar to what I described and isn't too dry?

Thanks in advanced.


P.S. - I had fun making my first two batches of wine, one mead one from Welches grape juice (not to insult your tastes). They were both 1 Gal batches and they were so-so (taste ok, but I fermented too long and now they are about 15% alcohol). I'm wanting to move up to the 6 Gal recipes.

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Old 08-21-2010, 07:02 PM   #2
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Welcome tom our forum and pyments (mead with grape juice) can be very nice and dont be ashamed that you made it with Welches as it actually is a pretty good product but yes you started with a slightly higher abv then you really should and meads really need time to smooth out also. I dont think anyone makes a Vignoles kit but for a Pinot Gris check the link below.
http://www.finevinewines.com/ProdDet.asp?PartNumber=140483

This isnt a kit ut if you want a 5 gallon bucket of fresh Vignoles juice then check the link below and we can walk you through making this fresh juice into an excellent wine.
http://www.walkersfruitbasket.com/Pail%20Prices.html

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Old 08-21-2010, 07:11 PM   #3
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mgreenly:

Welcome to a great addiction (oops hobby), and a wonderful forum.

First, too much alcohol is not the result of fermenting too long, it's caused by too much sugar in the primary fermenter. Are you using a hydrometer to check your potential alcohol?

Second, semi-sweet white wines are usually made by fermenting to dry, and then sweetening. Some kits will come with a second pouch in the kit (often called an F-pack or Suss Reserve) to sweeten the wine. Other kits are not intended to be sweetened, but it's easy to do by making your own F-pack or just adding sugar at the appropriate time. There are no Vignoles kits that I know of.

Based on the Stone Hill site:

"Alcohol - 12.8%; Residual Sugar - 3.7%" - alcohol % is standard for most wine kits. the sweetness can also be accomplished easily.

"This rich, semi-sweet wine, comparable to German Spätlese or Riesling" - so find a good Riesling with a Suss Reserve. Might not be as sweet as you would like, but it would be a good starting point.

Is there a store near you, or do you have a mail-order preference? This would help determine the brands available to you.

Steve

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Old 08-21-2010, 07:18 PM   #4
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CPfan is more knowledgeable in cross referencing wines then me but like Cpfan siad some of the kits out there may make a dry wine and sweetening that can be very easily accomplished so dont push a kit aside just because it says dry for the kit. You can sweeten a kit by either making simple syrup that consist of 2 cups of sugar and 1 cup of boiling water or just by buyng a product called Wine Conditioner.

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Old 08-21-2010, 08:08 PM   #5
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Welcome to our forum. Feel free to jump in anytime and ask questions or tell us what you're up to!

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Old 08-21-2010, 08:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpfan View Post
mgreenly:

First, too much alcohol is not the result of fermenting too long, it's caused by too much sugar in the primary fermenter. Are you using a hydrometer to check your potential alcohol?

Second, semi-sweet white wines are usually made by fermenting to dry, and then sweetening. Some kits will come with a second pouch in the kit (often called an F-pack or Suss Reserve) to sweeten the wine. Other kits are not intended to be sweetened, but it's easy to do by making your own F-pack or just adding sugar at the appropriate time. There are no Vignoles kits that I know of.

Based on the Stone Hill site:

"Alcohol - 12.8%; Residual Sugar - 3.7%" - alcohol % is standard for most wine kits. the sweetness can also be accomplished easily.

"This rich, semi-sweet wine, comparable to German Spätlese or Riesling" - so find a good Riesling with a Suss Reserve. Might not be as sweet as you would like, but it would be a good starting point.

Is there a store near you, or do you have a mail-order preference? This would help determine the brands available to you.

Steve
I should have clarified about fermenting too long...I actually added sugar to my Welches must to a SG of about 1.140 (as I recall from memory) in hopes of stopping fermentation at about 12-13% alcohol before all of the sugar was consumed. It was fermenting for about 4 days before I took the family on a 3 day vacation. When I got to hotel (about 200 miles from home) I remember that I forgot to rack the whine before I left, so I immediately did it when I got home. I could definitely smell the alcohol in it so I poured a sample and confirmed my suspicions. I haven't verified SG yet (its a 1 GAL batch and the hydrometer bottoms out on the container, so I need to by a test tube tomorrow). I'm guessing, by taste, that it is about 18% (or a tad lower), but it still tastes like wine (although pretty stout wine).

Thanks for the suggestions on the wine kits, I guess Stone Hill's website would have been a great place to start. I remember the name, but did check the info on it.

I do have a local store called High Gravity (Tulsa, OK) and they seem to have a great stock of supplies at very good prices.
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Old 08-21-2010, 08:40 PM   #7
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The equipment I have is the following:

2 2gal fermenters
2 1gal carboys
4 airlocks
1 racking cane
1 bottle filler
5ft of tubing
basic chemicals (acid blend, peptic enzymes, and campden tablets)

I was thinking about going down tomorrow and by a fermenter and carboy for a 6 gal wine kit, but I may go ahead and get another batch or two going of something else (since now my 2 fermenters are empty again ) as practice before I drop $100+ on everything I need (minus the bottles) to make a higher quality wine.

Any suggestions on a good 1 GAL recipe that is pretty fool proof? LOL

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Old 08-21-2010, 08:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgreenly View Post
Any suggestions on a good 1 GAL recipe that is pretty fool proof? LOL
You might want to read some of the Skeeter Pee threads. The name might be unusual but it's so popular that it has it's own forum.

Steve
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Old 08-21-2010, 08:46 PM   #9
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I have bought stuff from High Gravity and they are a very good outfit also. I was hoping they would advertise here and they did log in but havent heard from them yet. Please dont try to stop a fermentation in progress unless you have a sterile filter unit otherwise you are asking for big trouble like exploding bottles as they almost always end up starting to ferment later in the bottle which either blows the cork and sprays wine all over or the bottle explodes. Ive had corks blow one time when either the sorbate didnt take or I just plain forget to add it after I noted that I did sornate the batch and was probably interupted right before doing so. Its a big sticky mess trust me!

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Old 08-21-2010, 08:53 PM   #10
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High Gravity looks like they carry "wine ingredient kits" (as opposed to "wine equipment kits") from all the decent manufacturers commonly available in the USA...RJ Spagnols, Winexpert, Cellar Craft, and Heron Bay. I would suggest chatting with somebody in their store. You can always bring their suggestions back here for comment prior to spending the bucks.

Steve

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