RJ Spagnols Aging: an old question, but with (perhaps?) a different twist?

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EngineJoe

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Hey all. First time (kit) winemaker here. I've been all-grain brewing for about 7 years now, hoping to do some from-grapes wine next harvest season (since we have pretty easy access out my way).
But I thought I'd try my hand at making some wine from kits in the meantime --- and perhaps on an ongoing basis too if all goes well! it certainly is user-friendly enough! :D

Anyway... I've got the RJS Cru Select Aussie Shiraz fermenting away and am just thinking ahead a little bit, to the bulk aging vs. bottle aging issue. I know the debate rages on, arguments both sides. I doubt we'll resolve that here today. :h So my question is really aimed at the bulk-agers out there. If you're doing the bulk of your aging in the carboy, how long do you wait after you bottle the wine before you start opening and drinking?

I know you need to allow for some time for the wine to get over bottle-shock, but are the bulk-agers doing additional bottle aging above and beyond that before delving into their wine?
 

Wade E

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I guess it would depend on what the wine was made from. If from grapes or a high end wine kit and I only bulk aged it like 6 months then I would still bottle age it at least another 6 months. If it was a wine kit that was like a 10 -15 liter with no grape pack then it would either be ready or very close IMO. 1 year with most wine will do but even then most wines can improve especially when from grapes. Im speaking of red wines here as whites are almost always ready by 1 year.
 

EngineJoe

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Thanks for the input. Right now, I'm trying to balance the competing interests of (1) tying up carboys with bulk aging vs. making them available for other ferments; (2) the bottling process itself, which is a reasonably large task; and (3) what is "best" for the wine vs. what is "necessary." A new set of issues for me to consider on the post-fermentation front being a brewer by experience, esp. since I usually keg.
 

Dugger

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I just bottled the Cru Select Aussi Shiraz Viogner, after 4 months in the carboy. I will hopefully let it reach 1 year total before drinking, i.e 8 months in the bottle.
I think a total of a year in total would be fine for this wine.
 

EngineJoe

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Thanks for the welcomes!

Here's a follow-up question for the bulk-agers:

Do you degas, or do you allow the wine to degas itself over time? Obviously, if going to the bottle in 6-8 weeks, degassing is important -- once the CO2 is in the bottle, you have a problem. But with 4-6 months in the carboy, it seems that time can/will do the job for you as it comes out of solution.

Degassing has actually been one of the things that weirds me out about winemaking... that kind of agitation would seem inevitably to work in a fair amount of air (and thus oxygen). And obviously oxygen is a major staling agent, as useful as potassium metabisulfite is in limiting that.

I could therefore see bulk aging as having a potential advantage if degassing were thus rendered not necessary, or at least if bulk aging meant less physical/active degassing was necessary... :a1
 

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