buckets and buckets - how to doctor them up?

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Oct 10, 2015
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Hello friends - I have 8 buckets I just brought home from luva Bella in Ohio. and Im wondering what if anything i can do to increase the overall flavor and profile etc. I will chaptalize a little bit but not too crazy - after I have a base SG as they are still super cold 60 degrees or so. They did not come pre pitched so the luva bella people included ec1118 with every bucket

I've heard of everything from leaving some whites on the lees and stirring in throughout secondary to oak in primary to oak at the end of a year for 8 weeks.. just looking to try something new ad have fun while doing it. love this forum!!

here is what i have and any comments/ recommends are appreciated - all juice is mosto bello from italy except merlot

1 white merlot CA
1 pino grigio
2 petit sirah
1 cab sauv
1 montepulciano
1 barolo
1 sangiovese
You are going to love that Petite Sirah! I would add a couple tablespoons of tannin, dissolved in a cup of boiling hot water, early in the fermentation. then after it has dropped most of it's sediment I would add 4 oz. medium or heavy toast american oak cubes, leave them in there for several months. I would plan on bottling it sometime late 2017.
great advice i will do so thanks Phil. Do you know much about the barolo and the monte?

i bought 3 american oak staves and have lots of loose chips from LD carleson but they make such a mess.
I'm doing my very first juice bucket gotten from a winery (Fulkerson Winery). I asked several different ways about what I might do to enhance or tweak the Niagara juice - other than adjusting SG. Was told, in so many words, to get the juice home, wait till it reaches room temperature, adjust SG and pitch the yeast. They did recommend Red Star Cotes des Blanc yeast over EC-1118, that was it.

I asked the friend that turned me onto Fulkerson Winery what he does special to his Niagara juice to get such a good tasting wine. Don said just back sweetens with corn sugar to taste before bottling, that's it. So first time around anyways all I'll be doing is back sweetening to my wife's taste.

Good luck with your tweaks. I'd guess most every juice bucket wine could be improved with the proper tweaks.
Yes Bill, mostly oak, tannin, grape paks etc. some use raisins or chocolate, clove etc. but for me just adjusting SG and a little oak will probably do just fine.

I did 5 buckets last year and let them finish on their own with no tweaking. I feel like they could have been better so my lesson there was adjust some.
BTW does anyone have a comment on oak chips vs. just using tannin powder?
how much oak chips do you all put in? the bags are IIRC 4 ounce but the label says its good for 25 gallons. I wouldn't think it would do more than 12 ounces.
I did 60 gal of their Barolo last year. Best wine I ever made, by far. I added 2 lugs (66 lbs) Alacante grapes (6.5 lb per bucket) and RC-212 yeast gave the best result.

Here is the link, I'm trying to duplicate the results @ 120 gal.

I toasted my own oak. Each carboy got 6 sticks of oak. Three at each racking. The Barolo can tolerate quite a bit of oak.

I know your probably dry by now, so the oak is the only variable I can recommend. Be bold.
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