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Old 11-18-2011, 03:27 PM   #1
Vendrixfly
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Nov 2011
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Hi all! I'm new to the forum but have been a lurker for around a month. Thanks for the intelligent and informative posts! They've helped me out a lot with my first wine kits...

I'm making two Vino Italiano kits (Riesling and Cab/Merlot) I got cheap from Amazon, I'm sure some of you have heard of them. I recently got into the hobby because I'm getting married in June and wanted to have a couple bottles of homemade wine on the reception tables on the wedding day, and since the higher quality kits usually require more aging to reach their potential, I opted to make a couple "early-drinkable" wines so they'll (hopefully) be good in time.

I want to give an overview of what the wines have been through so far to see if it all makes sense to more experienced folk, I also tweaked the wines a little according to what I read about them from this forum and that:

Made them both to 5.5gal instead of the kit recommended 6, which gave me a SG of around 12-13%.

Added 1/2lb of black currants to Red and 1lb of golden raisins to White for primary, which took barely a week for both to ferment to 1.010.

Transfered both into secondary 6gal carboys which finished quickly as well to .993 for Red and .992 for White. Cellar temp was around 70 degrees for both fermentations.

When secondary was finished I degassed with a drill-extension (which still took hours) BEFORE adding stabilizer as the kit instructions stated. Added stabilizer and finings to both shortly after degassing and racked them into 5gal carboys to prevent headspace. I also topped off both with store bought similar wines, as I don't have another batch or any leftover and it was two glasses at most which brought me to the desired 1-3 inches below the airlock bung. I also added 2 oz of french oak directly to the Red.

The wines cleared very fast, 3 days and I could clearly see my hand through the White. The red is very dark, but I'm assuming it cleared nicely as well. I've tasted samples of both wines and they taste young, but pretty darn balanced.

Now I'm wondering what to do. The kit instructions state to bottle when wine is clear but I want to do about a month bulk aging. They have been sitting down there for just over a week since last racking/clearing and there's a thick layer of sediment on the bottom. Should I now rack them off this sediment/oak and age them in bulk? Don't know if letting them sit on it for too long would be a problem...Also, I added stabilizer (assuming sulfite) to the wine at last rack and am worried that if I rack again and add more sulfite it would be too soon and could give it off flavors. I don't think I'll be filtering this batch either, with all that I've done should my vino still be drinkable by the beginning of June?

Thanks for any input!

-Dan

 
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Old 11-18-2011, 03:53 PM   #2
Rocky
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Hello, Dan, and welcome to the forum.

Sounds like you have two very nice wines going there. I really like the additions that you made to the kits and the fact that you held back some of the water.

You do not need to add k-meta each time you rack. If you added it once, it should be good for at least three months, if not more. If you have the extra carboy, I would rack the wine and put them under airlock. Keep them there for a few months and then bottle.

Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials. I guess there is no point in trying to talk you out of this blunder. I never knew what true happiness was until I got married, but then it was too late.

Just kidding, of course. Good luck!
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Old 11-18-2011, 04:08 PM   #3
KSmith3011
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Dan,
Congratulations on the upcoming nuptials. You did everything right so far, sounds perfect. I make a lot of Vine Italiano, I do most of the procedures you followed. Based on how you did it, I am certain you will enjoy it.
Bulk aging is fine for a couple months but you want to make sure you bottle at least 8 weeks before the wedding. This will help with bottle shock.
The oaking time is completely up to you. I like a strong oak flavor, others don't. I leave it on oak for 6 -8 weeks. Consider putting some oak on the white too.
The white will certainly be ready for June. The Red will not be perfect, it really needs two years to age properly. However, SO WHAT,,,,, everyone will enjoy the wine just as it is.
I do recommend you store a bottle or two (secretly) and open them for your first anniversary. It will bring back the good memories of your special day.
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Old 11-18-2011, 04:38 PM   #4
Vendrixfly
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Nov 2011
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Ha! Thanks for the reassurance, and another Thanks for the good wishes!

I suppose my concerns were due to the fact that the wines appeared ready in half the time the kit called for...but I've always read to trust the hydrometer, not the timeline, so I figured if I didn't do anything wrong at least I'd have a that extra time to bulk age.

My concern with adding more k-meta is due to the fact that to rack the final time I'll need to transfer the wines into either buckets or 6gal carboys, then clean and sanitize the 5gals, than transfer back into those to avoid as much headspace as possible. I don't know if that much movement warrants another dose just in case. If I don't add it this next racking and bulk age, will the amount used to sanitize the bottles be enough to keep it fresh for bottle aging? I really like the suggestion of stowing one or two away for future occasions, that's a great idea

I'll probably oak the red again after racking, but I'll have to use new chips as the cheesecloth bag I made to use in this stage was too big to fit through the mouth of the carboy so I just ripped it open and tossed em in! Don't know if its worth trying to salvage them...they've sunk to the middle-bottom of the carboy and are probably just sitting atop the lees and clearing debris. I may oak the white too, it'll take a taste to tell.. I do like my Rieslings very pear/apple-like, crisp, and just to medium-sweet. Bought a bit of wine conditioner the other day, should I add it to the bulk aging carboy or just before bottling?

Cheers

 
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Old 11-18-2011, 05:49 PM   #5
Rocky
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Dan, add the wine conditioner just before bottling. I assume you mean to the Riesling only.

Also, you added the sulfite once, just as most of us do. To be certain, you could check the wine before bottling for free SO2. I do not do this. Rather, I rinse out my cleaned bottles with hot water, spritz them on the Vinator with K-meta solution (four pumps) and then drain them on a bottle rack and bottle immediately. I feel there is a small amount of K-meta left in each bottle for some added protection. Works for me.
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Old 11-18-2011, 09:00 PM   #6
Vendrixfly
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Nov 2011
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Oh yes...wine conditioner for the riesling only, wouldn't do that to my red. Thanks again Rocky. I feel like what'll do is rack them back into clean 5gal carboys and oak/age for a couple months. Use the Vinator before bottling to supply the sulfite like you do. I don't have a titrater or any of those free so2 kits, and honestly, don't think i need to worry too much about it with a concentrate kit. When I get ahold of some grapes, then heck yeah!

-Dan

 
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