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Bottled my first kit wine

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Well, my first winemaking experience is almost complete. I started my Fontana Merlot kit back on 7/18/18 and today I put it in bottles. The wine is about as average a tasting wine as I've ever had, actually, probably well below average for what I currently drink. But hey, I made this myself and we'll see if in 6 months, a year or 2 years the stuff is any better. I still have to slap on the labels and put the foils on, but I'll work on that this weekend. I managed to get 25 bottles from the kit.

This forum and having a well experienced winemaker, @Johnd right here in my hometown has been quite helpful! I appreciate everyone's help and encouragement.

I've got my second kit, a WE Eclipse Lodi Cab, in a neutral barrel courtesy of @Johnd. I'll be tending to that one until around March or April and will then bottle when I think its ready. It already tastes much better than the Merlot!

And, of course in the meantime, I have my first wine from grapes that @Johnd let me help with! I'll be following his lead on that one. We've got a long way to go before its ready for the world. I'm even in the market for another barrel! I've found some sites that sell 12 and 15 gallon barrels, so that might be the way to go.

Anyway, here's a few pics of my bottling work today.

Cheers!
 

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Johnd

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Looking good Scott!! You’ve got 12 gallons of Cab, MLF complete, ready to go whenever you want it. I’ve got several more neutral barrels with last years wine in them, ready to bottle. They’d be good to put your cab from this year into for 6 months with some spirals or stix, I won’t have any wine for them, the big barrel will gobble all but 5 gallons.
 

mainshipfred

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Congrats Scott! I have 2 bottles of my first wine left. It was a cheap 10 liter Chilean Malbec. Started it January 2017 and it's not much better now then it was when I first bottled it. Not saying it's bad just nothing special. Other may not agree but what I'm getting at is don't be afraid to drink it. You have other more quality wines in the pipeline.
 

CK55

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Well, my first winemaking experience is almost complete. I started my Fontana Merlot kit back on 7/18/18 and today I put it in bottles. The wine is about as average a tasting wine as I've ever had, actually, probably well below average for what I currently drink. But hey, I made this myself and we'll see if in 6 months, a year or 2 years the stuff is any better. I still have to slap on the labels and put the foils on, but I'll work on that this weekend. I managed to get 25 bottles from the kit.

This forum and having a well experienced winemaker, @Johnd right here in my hometown has been quite helpful! I appreciate everyone's help and encouragement.

I've got my second kit, a WE Eclipse Lodi Cab, in a neutral barrel courtesy of @Johnd. I'll be tending to that one until around March or April and will then bottle when I think its ready. It already tastes much better than the Merlot!

And, of course in the meantime, I have my first wine from grapes that @Johnd let me help with! I'll be following his lead on that one. We've got a long way to go before its ready for the world. I'm even in the market for another barrel! I've found some sites that sell 12 and 15 gallon barrels, so that might be the way to go.

Anyway, here's a few pics of my bottling work today.

Cheers!
With patience it will improve it's certainly hard waiting, I find myself fighting to not drink bottles early.
 

winemaker81

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Congrats!

Your wine is green -- do not judge it too harshly! Three months in the bottle will produce positive changes -- a year in the bottle may give you a completely unexpected wine!

Contrary to popular opinion, I recommend you wait 3 months and open a bottle. Don't wait a year or two. Record notes regarding your thoughts and reaction. Open another bottle every month or two and record the tasting. After each tasting, re-read the notes from previous tastings.

Yes -- you're going to wipe the batch out sooner than later. But you'll educate yourself about how wine ages, and the understanding will follow you through your wine making career.

Later on you'll make wines to drink now, and others to age. As Mainshipfred said, don't be afraid to drink it!
 

jgmann67

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Congrats!

Your wine is green -- do not judge it too harshly! Three months in the bottle will produce positive changes -- a year in the bottle may give you a completely unexpected wine!

Contrary to popular opinion, I recommend you wait 3 months and open a bottle. Don't wait a year or two. Record notes regarding your thoughts and reaction. Open another bottle every month or two and record the tasting. After each tasting, re-read the notes from previous tastings.

Yes -- you're going to wipe the batch out sooner than later. But you'll educate yourself about how wine ages, and the understanding will follow you through your wine making career.

Later on you'll make wines to drink now, and others to age. As Mainshipfred said, don't be afraid to drink it!
I agree with the idea of tasting till it’s ready. That why I use 375ml bottles..: usually use 8 bottles. Allows for a taste every few months without plowing through too much.
 

Loghousewines

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Buy more carboys and let them bulk age 2 years. That way you can tweek easier. Also just taste a small amount every two months, tweek em, and add k-meta. 18 months is a big turning point in kits from average to pretty good.
 

tjgaul

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Congrats! Sounds to me like you are off to a well above average start. And you have a great guide to assist. One of my early kits was a Fontana Pinot Noir and I had a similar reaction. A year later and it's improving, but alas, I have been sampling regularly and there's only a case left. The good news it that there's still a whole case left! (a mediocre attempt at sarcastic humor).

I started the WE Eclipse Lodi Old Vine Zin a year ago (still in carboy) and it is really coming around so I bet your Cab will be fantastic in time. Keep up the good work.
 

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