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Beginner looking for some tips

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Dan Nauman

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Hello All,

Complete beginner here (waiting for my first equipment to arrive) looking for a few tips.

I would like to produce some fruit wines that are only a little sweet, but as flavorful as possible. Hoping for some specific steps to take. I'm starting with a one gallon kit until I get better at it. Any advice anyone could give would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!
 

salcoco

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visit winemaking.jackkeller.net for some tutorials as well as many recipes.
 

Scooter68

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If you look at Jack Keller's recipes.... double the amount of fruit. His recipes are commonly known to have plenty of alcohol but not much flavor.

With a few exceptions you want to use very little if any water in your wine. Also, be sure that your wines ferment all the way dry. (SG of .995 is best) HOWEVER, some fruits don't present much flavor unless slightly sweetened. Not to a dessert wine sweetness but just to an off-dry point. Most of my wines are sweetened to no more that 1.005 After they ferment to .995.
 

sour_grapes

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It wasn't mentioned above explicity, but you should plan on fermenting your wine dry (i.e., all sugar used up), as scooter said, but then you should stabilize the wine before sweetening. You do this by adding both potassium metabisulfite ("K-meta") and potassium sorbate. Only after that should you add more sugar as sweetener.
 

Scooter68

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Hopefully your equipment includes the following:
1) Hydrometer ( x 2 - Yes two because if you break one in the middle of preparing a wine or during a fermentation it can be very frustrating.)
2) Digital pH meter. While you can use a TA kit or even pH papers for wine, both are a bit difficult to use with red wines or dark fruit wines. (Blackberry Blueberry Black Raspberry, Black Currant, Elderberry etc)
3) Calibration solution for number 2. Even the most expensive pH meters have to be re-calibrated frequently

Welcome to the forum and while you are waiting I encourage you to read the positive stories and the Desperate Posts for HELP! Learn from others mistakes so you don't have to learn the hard way.

One more thing - Patience is one of the most challenging things for new wine makers. The wines you start this summer really won't be fully ready to fully enjoy until next summer. That's a tough pill to swallow but it's one we all have to take. While you are waiting for those first wines to be ready, 1) Keep starting more wine batches, 2) Go to your local beverage store and try out a few 'fruit wines' and read the labels carefully. You will learn that the fruit wines YOU make will odds on beat all those store bought 'fruit wines' hands down.
 
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dralarms

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The more fruit, the more flavor
 

wrongway

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Hello Dan,

I really don't have anything to ad. I am rather new myself but Welcome!
 

mainshipfred

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I'm sure if you follow the recipe for a fruit wine it will advise you to use Peptic enzyme. If it does not it's a real necessity or your wine will take forever to clear. IMHO I would not do one gallon batches. 3's or 5's would be the smallest I would do. It's better to wait 9-12 months for 15 to 25 bottles as it for 5.
 

Scooter68

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You mentioned that you are doing a kit. A kit is a great way to start, regardless of size. Remember one thing. The fermentation process does not happen on a fixed time frame. The instructions may tell you to rack in 7 days or 10 days but in reality, you rack when the SG tells you the time is right. Most folks seem to rack from the primary to a carboy somewhere between an SG reading of 1.020 to 1.000. In part it depends on how much foam and activity you are seeing. Racking too soon can result in foam fountains from the carboy and wasted wine.

As to batch size - For the first 2 years all my batches were 1 gallon batches because the quantity of fruit I had access to limited me. I still do 1 gallon batches for fruit that I can't get more than 5-6 lbs. With my favorite fruits I have invested in 3 gallon carboys because of cost, room available for storage, and the effort to lift and move a 5 gallon carboy. Even if I used a vacuum pump a 5 gallon carboy is a bit of a chore to lift around the sink just to clean and rinse.

A lot depends on your resources of space and money. In my case I work with a lot of home grown or wild fruit and with the exception of Blueberries I don't grow or find enough fruit for more than one gallon usually. My 3 gallon batches are typically Peach, Tart Cherry and Black Currant and the fruit for those is purchased from local fruit stands or a prepared wine base product. I don't do grape wines simply because I can find plenty of those in the local beverage stores at reasonable prices. No such luck with Fruit wines.

Keep us posted on where you are going with your fruit wine.
 

Dan Nauman

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Thanks to everyone for the responses. I should be seeing my kit arrive today, and hopefully start in the next couple weeks once I figure out what I'm looking to do.

For more robust flavor, is it really just as simple as adding more fruit?
 

Scooter68

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Yes - Some require more preparation destoning, crushing. But if you are talking about fruit like blackberries or blueberries, just put them in a mesh fermentation bag into the bucket and mash well.

What kind of kit are you starting with?
 

AkTom

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Welcome. Don’t forget to take notes. The more detailed the better (within reason). The little things you’ll remember... you won’t. Don’t ask me how I know.
Cheers
 

meadmaker1

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Dont forget dates cuz no you won't remember it was march 4th when you have three or for batches going. And yes you will, if you continue
Some folks post notes here, they get dated and you get reminded or asked about things you might have over looked.
 

Scooter68

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Kit looks good and yes on hydrometer but seriously order 2, I had been warned and was careful still broke one in the first 4 months. Having spare save much worry and frustration.

So you aren't getting a kit with juice included meaning you are wide open for whatever fruit you want. As far as simple and least troublesome.... I would vote for blackberry. Even store bought ones, but if you can get wild blackberries that would be even better. At least 6-7 lbs of berries for a gallon on wine. (5lbs will work for wild blackberries.)

Keep us posted and take copious notes on what you do and when. Get one of those composition note books and use the daylights out of it. Never heard anyone say the took too many notes.
 

ASR

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I am looking to make a rhubarb wine that calls for 6 ounces of fromzen apple (or white grape) concentrate. All the concentrates I found have vitamne C (ascorbic acid) added. Will that impede fermentation?
 

Vinobeau

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I would urge you to work at deciding your own preference in the amount of fruit that you use. I respect Scooter's desire to not use any water in his must, but I also respect Jack Keller's recipe amounts of fruit. You should make three batches of each fruit wine that you make, one with all fruit, one with the normal 3 - 4 lbs/ gallon, and one somewhere in between. Note the differences and decide what YOU like. Do the same with yeasts.
 
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