About To Try the RJ Spagnols Super Tuscan

Discussion in 'Kit Winemaking' started by Mike Parisi, Dec 1, 2019 at 9:10 PM.

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  1. Dec 1, 2019 at 9:10 PM #1

    Mike Parisi

    Mike Parisi

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    To be delivered tomorrow.

    I have been reading the instructions, and I know I will need several gallons of water, but I have no idea how much I will need. The instructions say to add 4 liters of water to the primary fermenter, add bentonite, add the juice, then fill the fermenter to the 6 gallon mark with more water.

    So, here are my initial questions:

    1. How many gallons of concentrate are included in the kit? So I will know how much water I will need.
    2. Should I use bottled drinking water? Tap water? Our water here is pretty hard.

    I want to make sure I have enough water on hand before starting.

    Thanks. I am very new to this. Just finished my first kit, bottled a week ago, so trying to get this one going while the garage is still warm enough.
     
  2. Dec 1, 2019 at 9:48 PM #2

    Lwrightjs

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    I've always used tap. I hear that if your water is good enough to drink then it's fine for winemaking.
    For gallons of concentrate, it should say on the box.
     
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  3. Dec 1, 2019 at 10:26 PM #3

    Mcjeff

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    I use spring water as I have a well and softener. I usually buy a 3 gallon pack to have on hand, but this kit doesn’t take much, maybe a little over a gallon.
     
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  4. Dec 1, 2019 at 11:28 PM #4

    Johnd

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    I use spring water, but you can use tap if it’s good.

    As far as how much water, check out the kit you ordered, it should disclose the volume of liquid in the kit, in liters. Subtract that from 23 liters and that how much water you’ll need.
     
  5. Dec 2, 2019 at 1:49 AM #5

    Rocky

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    Mike, I assume you are referring to the RJ Spagnols En Primeur kit which has 16 liters of concentrate and 2 liters of crushed grape skins for a total of 18 liters. I have not made this kit for some time now but I made it years ago and it was outstanding. I find that my key to the amount of H2O to add is driven by the ABV that I would like to hit and therefore on the initial and final SGs. This particular wine can be made to a very high ABV (as much as 14%). So using the formula, (ISG-FSG) x 131 = ABV, I would assume an FSG of 0.992 and add water to lower the ISG to the appropriate level. For example, if you target ABV is 12.5% and you assume a final SG of 0.992, you would need an initial SG of 1.088 or slightly less. Also, before you pitch your yeast, stir the juice and grape skins very well because you will get additional sugar from the grape skins. Give it some time then take and adjust to your target ISG before pitching the yeast.

    Lastly, and I am one of the few on the forum who do, I use distilled water for reconstituting. My rationale is that only water is removed from the grape juice to make the concentrate and distilled water is pure H2O with no salts, minerals, etc. Therefore, I am only adding back what was removed.

    Good luck. That is a great wine.
     
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  6. Dec 2, 2019 at 3:25 AM #6

    Johnd

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    If that’s the correct kit, you’ll need to add water to 23 liters BEFORE adding the grape pack, so you’ll need 7 liters (2 gallons) available to get to 23, though you may not need it all. It’s a good practice to put a 23 L mark on your bucket if it doesn’t come with one. Once you mix your bentonite / water, then add the concentrate, just fill up to the 23L mark.
     
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  7. Dec 2, 2019 at 6:38 AM #7

    Rocky

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    John, what you say is true and your method will give you an ABV that, while in a narrow range, will vary. The method I use gives me the ABV that I want and not what the kit gives me. I do this with all my wines and it works fine for me.
     
  8. Dec 2, 2019 at 12:30 PM #8

    Johnd

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    Understood Rocky, and I’m sure it works wonderfully for you. This is the OP’s second kit, he’s just learning to follow kit instructions, and asked how much water to have on hand, which I answered, along with some reaffirmation of the process detailed in the instructions. I also firmly believe he’d be way better off following the instructions on his second kit.
     
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  9. Dec 2, 2019 at 2:52 PM #9

    pproctorga

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    I have this same kit finishing fermentation now. Since you’re just starting with this hobby my suggestions are:

    Start with the instructions. It will tell you how much water to add. However, before adding the final half gallon or so, check your OG. You want to do what Rocky says and get it in a range. For this wine around 1.10 would be typical. If your OG is too low then you end up with a weak wine. If it’s too high you get a stuck fermentation and the FG is too high with residual sugars. That was my case.

    I went with the instructions for water additions. I had conflicting numbers for OG from my hydrometer and my refractometer, so I let it ride, figuring that the EC-1118 yeast could handle it. It turned out to be too high so the yeast died and I had to add more water and yeast to get the final gravity back down.

    For water types, get to know your water. If its hard then you’ll want to blend it down or go with bottled water. Get a test kit or send a sample to Ward labs so you know what you have. I’ve tested my water and it has near-distilled properties, so I can use it. The process of making the kits leads me to understand that they’re basically pulling distilled water out of the juice to make the concentrate, so we need to put something close to that back.
     
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  10. Dec 2, 2019 at 3:46 PM #10

    Rocky

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    I missed that it was only his second kit. Likely he should follow the instructions with the caveat that pproctorga states above, i.e. check SG before adding the last couple liters of water. This is a great kit and the wine should be fairly high in ABV. I have seen "Super Tuscans" (which is a made up term and can consist of many combinations of varieties of grape) approaching 15% ABV. When I make a "Super Tuscan" I blend Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Merlot juices and add home made grape packs (usually Zinfandel). My ABV is normally around 14%.
     
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  11. Dec 2, 2019 at 3:51 PM #11

    1d10t

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    Water's cheap. Buy 'enough' and it won't go to waste. ;)
     
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  12. Dec 2, 2019 at 10:49 PM #12

    Mike Parisi

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    Rocky, yes that is the kit, and thanks for the tips. I will definitely follow the instructions, it was just that they didn't say what kind of water to use. And before topping off to the 6 gallon mark on the fementing bucket, I will tak a SG reading, looking for close to 1.10. The kit was delivered this afternoon, so will look to start it tomorrow.

    Another question. What is the best way to remove the cap from the bladder? Pry it off with a screwdriver? cut it off? Should I take the bladder out of the box first? Anyone have a youtube on that? LOL.

    I'm asking because of the accident I had with the Mosti All Juice kit. I got the bladder out of the bucket, laid it down on a table, and pried the top off. In the process, I spilled out maybe 1/2 liter of juice before controlling the bladder.
     
  13. Dec 2, 2019 at 10:58 PM #13

    1d10t

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    Should I make a bladder leakage joke here? Depends.....
     
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  14. Dec 3, 2019 at 7:19 AM #14

    Rocky

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    Mike, there is a tool for removing the caps on the juice bags,
    https://labelpeelers.com/equipment/cappers/pvc-shrink-tool-bag-decapper-combo/
    but I made one of my own out of wood
    100_1389.JPG
    Alternatively, you can avoid the cap all together by clipping off one corner of the bag at the bottom and letting the juice run out that way. Have the bag positioned over your fermenter before cutting off the corner. Lastly, early on, I just used to hold the bag securely around the cap and pry it off with my fingers.
     
  15. Dec 3, 2019 at 11:08 AM #15

    Lwrightjs

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    You guys don't use your teeth to pry those caps off? Oops...
     
  16. Dec 4, 2019 at 6:34 PM #16

    Mike Parisi

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    Got it started today. I ended up using a plain bottle/can opener to get the cap off the juice bag. It worked great. So well, in fact, that the top came off so fast that I had a spill before I could get the juice directed into the bucket. Also, clumsy me, about half of one of the two bags of wine skins missed the bag and went diretly into the juice. But I suppose those will just get left behind when I rack into the carboy.

    Initial readings on the hydrometer: SG 1.11, Brix 24.0
     
  17. Dec 4, 2019 at 6:40 PM #17

    Brian55

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    Some people skip the bag and let the skins swim, it does make racking a bit more of a chore.
     
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  18. Dec 4, 2019 at 7:40 PM #18

    ras2018

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    I have a designated bowl that I wrap my muslin bag around and dump the skins into and tie off. Once I’m ready for my skins, out of the bowl they go tied and and ready for a swim.
     
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  19. Dec 4, 2019 at 7:43 PM #19

    tjgaul

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    Just throwing my 2 cents in. I made this same kit last year and just bottled it about a month ago. I made it to 6 gal +/- after the initial racking (ie: a little over 23L in primary). Even with the primary being in excess of 23L the starting SG was over 1.100. The end result is a fairly hot wine (high ABV), but the flavor is good and the oak and added tannins along the way make it very drinkable. It's already one of my favorite kits and I am hopeful that it mellows further with time. Oh, the water . . . straight from my unfiltered well.
     
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  20. Dec 4, 2019 at 7:48 PM #20

    Rocky

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    I do something similar to ras2018. I have an old stock pot that I open the bag over and secure with a large rubber band. I pour the grape skins/pack into the bag, remove the rubber band and tie a know in the neck of the bag. Any thing that runs through the bag is caught by the pot and added to the wine. This helps a lot when I rinse out the bag that the skins are in and pour into the bag to get everything into the wine.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2019 at 6:59 AM
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