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Adding Commercial Wine to Homemade Wine

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CabSauv

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So I'm about to venture into wine making, which I haven't purchased any equipment yet but I wanted to join here and learn more before starting. My introduction is in the introduction section so I won't bore anyone with a repeat, but I did have a question. I recall talking to someone about 5 years or so ago who made his own wine at home and he mentioned that he sometimes added a bottle of commercial wine to his homemade wine because the homemade wine can adopt some of the flavors from that bottle of wine. So my question(s) are, is this true? If so, at what stage would one add it?
 

DoctorCAD

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Only to top off a low carboy, not for flavor. In fact, I choose a very neutral wine just so it doesn't flavor my wines.
 

Johnd

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So I'm about to venture into wine making, which I haven't purchased any equipment yet but I wanted to join here and learn more before starting. My introduction is in the introduction section so I won't bore anyone with a repeat, but I did have a question. I recall talking to someone about 5 years or so ago who made his own wine at home and he mentioned that he sometimes added a bottle of commercial wine to his homemade wine because the homemade wine can adopt some of the flavors from that bottle of wine. So my question(s) are, is this true? If so, at what stage would one add it?
If you're making a six gallon batch of wine (30 bottles), one bottle of commercial wine will do little to the flavor of the 6 gallons. We frequently use commercial wines to top our carboys up.
 

CabSauv

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Ahh, ok. That makes sense. How much head space should be in a carboy then? As little as possible? That's not something I've come across in any of my research yet so let me have it.
 

ibglowin

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1 bottle added to a 6G carboy represents ~0.03% of the total volume of wine in the carboy. No chance you will be able to detect or improve your wine from that small amount.
 

Johny99

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Ahh, ok. That makes sense. How much head space should be in a carboy then? As little as possible? That's not something I've come across in any of my research yet so let me have it.
Once fermentation is done, you are right with as little as possible. I like to have it right up to the neck. If you ambient temperature changes a lot you'll need more for thermal expansion. I made a mess once topping up a cold carboy then moving out into the winery:?
 

Ajmassa

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Scroll through this section or the kit section as you go through the process. I'm sure your going to find most of your questions asked and answered rather easily.
Because you said you haven't come across adding similar wine for topping up in your research, but it is a very much discussed item here. Maybe not always the topic headline but definitely mentioned frequently.
And also go pickup the kit your gonna do. That's mentioned in most instructions I believe as well.
 

Rocky

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1 bottle added to a 6G carboy represents ~0.03% of the total volume of wine in the carboy. No chance you will be able to detect or improve your wine from that small amount.
I am sure Mike meant 3% or approximately 1/30 of the total volume. In any case, it would make little discernable difference.
 

Floandgary

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So I'm about to venture into wine making, which I haven't purchased any equipment yet but I wanted to join here and learn more before starting. My introduction is in the introduction section so I won't bore anyone with a repeat, but I did have a question. I recall talking to someone about 5 years or so ago who made his own wine at home and he mentioned that he sometimes added a bottle of commercial wine to his homemade wine because the homemade wine can adopt some of the flavors from that bottle of wine. So my question(s) are, is this true? If so, at what stage would one add it?
Just getting in the habit of using "like-wines" for topping up instead of water. :db
 

Ajmassa

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I know hearing that for the 1st time really doesn't sound like it is legit. But it is. For home winemakers that is.
I ran into my buddy the other day at the state store picking up some cheap bottles. (That would be "liquor store" for all you non-Pennsylvanians). I explained why I was grabbing the wine, and then had to hear him break my stones that I was cheating. Had to drop some knowledge on his thick head. Then he accidentally broke 2 bottles of Jamison all over he floor. It was an eventful wine run.
 

CabSauv

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Scroll through this section or the kit section as you go through the process. I'm sure your going to find most of your questions asked and answered rather easily.
Because you said you haven't come across adding similar wine for topping up in your research, but it is a very much discussed item here. Maybe not always the topic headline but definitely mentioned frequently.
And also go pickup the kit your gonna do. That's mentioned in most instructions I believe as well.
Well the topping off with a like flavored wine wasn't the question I had. My question was if adding a full bottle to let the homemade wine take on some of the flavors per something that someone told me 5 or so years ago. Not for the purpose of topping off but for the purpose of making homemade wine adopt it's flavors. I presume the source who told me this may have been making 3 gallon batches, which I would think would have been a lot more of an influence on the flavor. I will see him on Thursday ironically so I will just have to ask him again as I might be forgetting part of what he said. The second question about how much head space only came up in conversation from my other question, I'm sure that's mentioned in other threads and yes I will scan the forum.
 

Ajmassa

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Yea. Sounds like that's just an easy tweak to kits your buddy came up with. The thread "tweaking cheap kits"
shows all kinds of different additions. Mostly in primary fermentation and secondary.
 

jburtner

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Looking at the percentages in some blends then 3x or so bottles in a 30 bottle batch (6gallons) can be significant enough.

I'm doing a batch of merlot to keep in the cellar for "guilt free top-up" and the ocassional quaff.

Cheers!
-jb
 

Mismost

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This is your FIRST batch, so you must use store bought wine.

After a few batches, you should have wine of your own to top off with! I no longer use store bought wine. In fact my wife says I get a little stuffy when she brings home store bought wine or beer. I suspect she is right too!!
 

CabSauv

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This is your FIRST batch, so you must use store bought wine.

After a few batches, you should have wine of your own to top off with! I no longer use store bought wine. In fact my wife says I get a little stuffy when she brings home store bought wine or beer. I suspect she is right too!!
Understood, but again, I'm not talking about for the purpose of topping off to reduce head space. I was referring to purposely using a big enough carboy and small enough batch of home made wine for a full bottle or multiple bottles of commercial wine for the purpose of influencing your homemade wine to adopt the flavors from it. Sorry if there's a gap in communication, I think it's because I'm a rookie newbie and some of you are seasoned wine makers. I understand now that it would likely not add much flavor, if any noticeable flavor at all. I think the assumption from the seasoned wine makers thought I meant topping off while I was actually meaning flavor influence and/or blending, but as a poster above said, it's home made wine and we can really make it to our liking. Kind of an aha moment for me (I thought to myself "Duh!"). Sorry for the confusion on the question but I certainly appreciate all the comments, it's nice to see how active this forum is and I can soak up all the wine making knowledge.
 
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ibglowin

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I added up to 3 bottles of (inexpensive commercial wine) to 6G kits and never thought it made the resulting wine any better (or any worse for that matter). Still tasted like a Kit to me (red wine).
 

DiscoStu

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If your friend was buying a non grape desert wine yes it would take on some of the flavor. But you would have to add at least 1 bottle per gallon and have a strong flavor to begin with raspberry BlackBerry etc... You would have to stabilize the wine first though. K-meta sorbate. Adding a red to a red would have little effect.
 

CabSauv

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I added up to 3 bottles of (inexpensive commercial wine) to 6G kits and never thought it made the resulting wine any better (or any worse for that matter). Still tasted like a Kit to me (red wine).
When you say it tasted like a "kit", what exactly does that mean to you? I've tasted a few different people's home made batches from kits that I thought it was as good or better than some middle of the line store bought wine.
 

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