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Bulk Age Counter Start

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When does the bulk age counter start

  • When I pitch the Yeast

    Votes: 2 9.1%
  • When fermentation is finished

    Votes: 13 59.1%
  • When the wine is clear

    Votes: 3 13.6%
  • When the kit instruction time runs out.

    Votes: 1 4.5%
  • Other

    Votes: 3 13.6%

  • Total voters
    22

Doug’s wines

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Ok. I’ve got another recently discovered pesky variance in aging terminology when I was having a discussion about kit wine making. When someone says “this has been in bulk for 6months, when did that counter start? In a kit focused recent discussion I heard - from the end of the kit instructions, once the wine is stable (ie end of secondary), and from when I pitch the yeast. While it may not seem a big deal, even the end of secondary (@6 months) represents a 6-10% age variance.... so in an effort to achieve a better understanding...

When do you start your bulk age counter?
 

Brian55

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At the date of the last racking, then the wine is left to rest for at least six months if it's a white, or at least twelve months if it's a red.
 

pillswoj

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Age of wine I do from when I pitch the yeast, typically month and year used on the label.

Bulk aging begins for me when the wine is clear and racked off the sediment Bulk aging for me is always in 3 month intervals with a racking and Kmeta addition each time. So typically if I say a wine is 6 months Bulk aging it is more likely 7 months old, even older if extended Maceration was done.
 

Doug’s wines

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So with15 votes in, 53% of the vote is on “when fermentation has ended” its starting to look like that might be the consistent answer. (Was my thought as well)

3 votes at “when wine is clear” could be 2 weeks to several months depending on clearing technique used and could represent serious variance in terminology. (8% to >33% difference in aging)

It’s really a bit squishy (technical term :D) as “bulk aging” is a personal decision however when we tell someone how long something should be bulk aged, that variance would seem to make a difference....
 

bkisel

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Rack from secondary to glass carboy for degassing stabilization and clearing with agents. Generally 3 to 14 days later will rack from glass carboy to plastic carboy and move from the kitchen/dinning room area to the basement. So, my bulk aging begins when I put the carboy into the basement.

I have to admit that even with this thread it is still is not a big deal to me as to when someone starts their bulk aging counter. I get the jist of what they mean when they use the term.
 
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Doug’s wines

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As an engineer I don’t care for nebulous definitions or measurements. If someone said go six miles from a 4 mile wide town and turn right you would ask do you mean from the center of town or the edge of town otherwise you would potentially miss your turn by up to 2 miles. A 2 month variance on a 6 month number is a HUGE variance in measurement terms.

That said, I agree the time for bulk age in your own winery is personal, but it becomes measurement based language when used with others and should have a common definition as Bulk Ages’ only defined exit criteria is time. :slp

Bottom line - I noticed variance in my local group and was curious if there a consistent definition out there. There doesn’t appear to be. :ib
 

ceeaton

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I avoid the problem (like I avoid conflict in my life in general) by stating that either "I started that wine X months ago" or "that wine is X months old". I use the date I pitched the yeast as the starting point. Bulk aging to me reminds me that my gut is getting bigger the older I get, I prefer to dwell on positive thoughts...so I avoid the word "bulk".
 

Doug’s wines

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The way you two are going back and forth, you’re starting to sound like a married couple. Perhaps one of you is the other’s wine wife? :? I will leave it to you to figure out which is which..... :n
 

pgentile

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Aging started once the grapes were picked. Bulk and/or bottle are just variant vessels in the aging process until consumed.

If I only had 750ml of wine left in my basement aging in a bottle, wouldn't that be bulk aging?
 

Brian55

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Aging started once the grapes were picked. Bulk and/or bottle are just variant vessels in the aging process until consumed.

If I only had 750ml of wine left in my basement aging in a bottle, wouldn't that be bulk aging?
No, that would be bottle aging. Unless you define bulk as 750ml, or possibly 1.5ml. Most of us define bulk as a barrel, or carboy of juice from grapes.
 

Johnd

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My two cents. Bulk aging of wine can’t start til you have wine. Technically speaking, you only have must until the yeast begins to convert sugar to alcohol, so we must at least agree that the wine aging counter can’t be started until you actually have wine.

Regardless, who really givers a crap whether it’s 4, 6, 9 or 18 months or more? If it’s finished MLF, clear, CO2 free, oaked, stable, and the flavor profile has developed to the point that you can evaluate it and execute the needed adjustments to make it the best it can be, you’ve done your job, regardless of when you start counting time. Wine doesn’t know time and doesn’t adhere to our timetables, it does what it does based on physiological and chemical processes, affected by the storage environment, and it’s own unique composition, and doesn’t care what we want or how we count time.

We should all endeavor to bottle wine when it’s ready, not when we’re ready, and not based upon a contrived time frame. Just my opinion, FWIW.........
 

pgentile

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No, that would be bottle aging. Unless you define bulk as 750ml, or possibly 1.5ml. Most of us define bulk as a barrel, or carboy of juice from grapes.
So if the bulk of my wine is just 750ml and I'm aging it, it's not bulk aging?
 

Doug’s wines

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@Johnd the points you make are very valid especially that the wine is ready when it’s ready. If you are about to start a new wine or kit, you often start with a game plan and part of that plan includes how long you might need to bulk age. However this thread isn’t about “how long should one bulk age”.

Instead this thread is about getting to a standard definition of bulk age start so that everyone is speaking the same language. People use the term “bulk age” on these boards frequently to describe a period of a wines life cycle, but there isn’t a clear definition of what it represents yet. For example today if someone asks ‘how long did you age that in bulk before it was ready to bottle’ at that point it would help if we had a common frame of reference of when that aging began otherwise the responder would be giving just a random answer with no real use or meaning and in fact could just confuse or mislead someone. With kits the difference in the current suggested start points is measured in days or weeks, but in wine from fruit the difference could be measured in months which IMO just makes the term useless without a consistent start point.

Looking at the current poll results that start point seems to be “once fermentation is complete”, but it only carries 55% of the vote for now...
 
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