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tegster

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I just started my first kit tonight (vinters reserve shiraz from wine experts). it is in the primary fermenter now. I am looking forward to the journey. Thanks to all for your assistance and great tutorials. I will update with my progress as I move through to the next steps.
 

smurfe

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Look forward to hearing about your progress. As you know, feel free to ask any and all questions. Welcome aboard!

Smurfe :)
 

cpfan

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Look forward to hearing about your progress. As you know, feel free to ask any and all questions. Welcome aboard!

Smurfe :)
Welcome aboard. That should be a pretty good first kit.

BTW, Smurfe will handle all the hard questions, the rest of us will take the easy ones!! ;)

Steve
 

hersheysmom

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me too

I just got the same kit. I tried the sharaz at epcot in disney world. I wasn't sure at first about south africa wine, but I loved it. I have only made one batch of wine, it was a merlot. It really didn't turn out as good as I was hoping. This batch, I am praying will come out good, so I will probably need some help getting started. Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks

T
 

smurfe

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A lot of good wines come out of South Africa. Same goes for South America. I actually prefer a Cabernet from Chile over one from France. In the Shiraz, I lean toward the Australian varieties.

Smurfe :)
 

tegster

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I found a wealth of information on this site to be honest. Smurfe's step-by-step instructions on making kit wines was invaluable to me. It is very good to have visual aids when reading the instructions. (Thanks Smurfe!!) While I have no experience in wine making, I was pretty happy with how smooth the entire process went. My advice is to sterilize everything well and follow the directions. This has served me well so far. I plan on checking on the primary fermentation around tuesday, but when I checked this morning, I already had a buildup of CO2 coming through the airlock. Not a lot but enough to encourage me. I plan on following the directions through the clearing stage, but I am going to bulk age this batch for a couple months after the clearing phase (less temptation).

That leads me to a question. If I wish to bulk age, should I rack to another carboy after the clearing steps and then let it age, or leave it where it is to age? I do not have a corker yet and I was planning on starting another batch after this one (after I get another carboy). I was not sure if I should rack before aging to this carboy, or leave it alone. I will purchase a corker in a couple months to bottle both batches at the same time. I was thinking of starting a white next so I might enjoy the fruits of my labor sooner.

Thanks again for all of the information on the site and the great advice from all!!
 

smurfe

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tegster, after you have finished all of the steps and the wine is clear with no sediment on the bottom, you can leave it in the carboy for an indefinite period. Make sure to add an extra 1/4 teaspoon of K-meta (you will have to buy this extra) to protect from oxidation. Make sure your carboy is topped up to about an inch below the stopper in the carboy, protect it from light and temperature variations and vibrations and it is really no different than being in the bottle.

Actually your wine will develop with age all together so when you do bottle they will all taste the same. If you bulk age for say a year or two, you can bottle, wait a couple weeks or so to let the wine get over its bottle shock and you can start enjoying it. Depending on the type of wine and brand if kit, I recommend at least 6 months of aging for a red. One year is better. I try not to touch a red until one year of age. A white is normally mature at one year.

It is tough, but if you have patients, the wait is well worth it. It is much easier to wait after you have made a few batches. I made a few Vintner's Reserve batches in the beginning to enjoy while my higher end kits mature. In the beginning I tried a few of the higher end kits after 6 months. Most enjoy their wines then but I found that after a year it is a world of difference and after 2 years, WOW! I now refuse to touch a red kit until at least one year of age from the time I began either bulk aging or bottled. I do not count the production time to make the wine.

Smurfe :)
 

tegster

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Smurfe,

Thank you for the reply. The primary is bubbling away like mad now so I am pretty excited. Seems to be fermenting very well now.

Unless I misunderstand you, I should rack the wine off of the sediment after the clearing phase and let it age that way. I was planning on letting it age at least 3 months or so in the carboy and then possibly bottle. I may even wait 6 months but probably no more on the bulk aging. Should the wine stay in the same carboy after the clearing phase or should I rack it to another one after clearing? I was thinking I could clear the wine, degas, add K-meta and then after it clears, move it to another carboy off the sediment for aging. Do I have to move it occasionally while aging or just leave it where it is?

I was going to get another kit probably today to start after this one. I was planning on bottling everything together so I only have to rent a corker once.

Sorry for the all of the questions but I just want to do this the right way.

Thanks again.

Dave
 

smurfe

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After clearing, you will have sediment (lees) on the bottom. You have this because you stir up the sediment in the bottom when you degas and stabilize. Make sure you read the directions for your particular kit though as not all Wine Expert kits are the same. Some have and extra racking, some one less.

Just follow your directions step by step. Normally you rack the clear wine off of this sediment and let it set again for the "polishing" stage. You may get a dusting on the bottom from any sediment picked up during that racking, particularly if you have never done it before. If you get that dusting of sediment you can still bottle but if you are going to leave it in the carboy, I personally would rack it one more time but it really won't be required.

When you have clear wine and no sediment on the bottom it is fine to let it age in the same carboy. You just do not want to let it set on a layer of sediment too long as it can spoil and leave an off taste to your wine. A little dusting of sediment is OK. Basically, when you get to the stage where you could bottle the wine, you can leave it in the carboy to bulk age.

Smurfe :)
 

tegster

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Smurfe,

I thought that is what I should do, but I just wanted to verify. Thanks for answering my queston (again):D
 

smurfe

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Just remember, follow you particular kits directions. It has been a while since I have made a Vintner's Reserve kit and I think they actually have one less racking than the Selection kits. If I remember, the VR kits didn't have the "Polishing Stage" but I could be wrong and even if you do an extra racking, it will only be for the best. Just remember to stir up the sediment when you degas and stabilize and add clearing agents. The sediment is needed to clear the wine. As stated, just follow those directions Tim worked on so hard for our enjoyment.

Smurfe :)
 

tegster

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The directions only state to move it to a secondary fermenter after the SG goes below 1.010 and then degas and clear after it goes below .996. You can bottle after 5 days. I was just planning on bulk aging since I have no bottles currently or a corker.

I think I will move it to another carboy after it clears for 5 days, top and then let it sit for a few months. I expect to get everything together over the next couple months and I will bottle after about 3-6 months of aging in the carboy and let it age in the bottle for a few more months.

I think your recommendation of racking off of the sediment after clearing is the way to go. Thanks again.
 

smurfe

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The directions only state to move it to a secondary fermenter after the SG goes below 1.010 and then degas and clear after it goes below .996. You can bottle after 5 days. I was just planning on bulk aging since I have no bottles currently or a corker.

I think I will move it to another carboy after it clears for 5 days, top and then let it sit for a few months. I expect to get everything together over the next couple months and I will bottle after about 3-6 months of aging in the carboy and let it age in the bottle for a few more months.

I think your recommendation of racking off of the sediment after clearing is the way to go. Thanks again.
Sounds like a good plan. Just keep an eye out for further sediment after the racking and rack again if you are going to let sit in carboy over a month if you see a layer of sediment. The key is just don't let your wine sit an extended period of time on the lees. A month or so is OK though if the temperatures are constant and not too warm.

Smurfe :)
 

tegster

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Well, I just racked the first batch to the carboy for secondary fermentation. 5 days was right on in the instructions, the must was at 1.009 so I racked it to the secondary. It is very cool to see the tiny bubbles coming to the surface during the fermentation. I may even sell tickets!! :rolleyes:

I can't get over how easy this process is and how much fun I am having. I purchased a fizz-ex in preparation for the degassing steps in ten days. I will most likely start my next batch in about a week as I bought another carboy. I will most likely get a third.

I am hopelessly hooked!!:eek:
 

smurfe

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Well, I just racked the first batch to the carboy for secondary fermentation. 5 days was right on in the instructions, the must was at 1.009 so I racked it to the secondary. It is very cool to see the tiny bubbles coming to the surface during the fermentation. I may even sell tickets!! :rolleyes:

I can't get over how easy this process is and how much fun I am having. I purchased a fizz-ex in preparation for the degassing steps in ten days. I will most likely start my next batch in about a week as I bought another carboy. I will most likely get a third.

I am hopelessly hooked!!:eek:

Yup, we have hooked another. You better refer to the too/how many carboy thread. :D

Smurfe :)
 
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