Quantcast

Bulk-age time vs. bottle time

Wine Making Talk

Help Support Wine Making Talk:

masic2000

Member
Joined
Sep 23, 2018
Messages
72
Reaction score
11
Location
Quebec, Canada
Just wondering your experiences with cab or merlot wrt. how long we should bulk age and how long to bottle age to get that right taste and mouthfeel for these varietals.
 

Donz

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2016
Messages
254
Reaction score
155
Both very important in my opinion. I barrel age my wine as long as I can, normally anywhere between 3-6 months and then bottle. I have noticed significant improvements letting it sit in the bottle on it's side for at least 3 months before drinking
 

masic2000

Member
Joined
Sep 23, 2018
Messages
72
Reaction score
11
Location
Quebec, Canada
Thanks for the info. Do you also rack every 3 months in the process (while in the barrel) or is this after all racking activities have ended? Also are you adding any K-meta in the process?
 

1d10t

stewbum
Joined
Nov 18, 2018
Messages
320
Reaction score
143
Location
sitting on a park bench
I come from a home brew background and have just started a kit wine to wet my feet and have done a lot of reading. I get the impression bulk aging wine does a lot of the same thing it does for beer. It allows 'stuff' to settle out. Some large breweries actually use a centrifuge. Supposedly 'lager' is simply the German word for 'storage'. The beer sat in cold caves all winter and was ready for the spring. This was just one of the things that helped lagers be so clean. I've seen charts on particle size, gravity and temperature in terms of how long it took various things to settle out.

So, my takeaway is that if you go too short on the bulk aging and just age in the bottle you have things in the bottle you might not want there.
 

Scooter68

Fruit "Wine" Maker
Joined
Aug 29, 2015
Messages
3,324
Reaction score
1,802
Location
Northwest Arkansas
Regardless of the wine type - once it's in the bottle there's no turning back, no adjusting - period. While in bulk the only trouble is keeping an airlock topped up. I rack every 3 months to get rid of everything I can but again - my wines are fruit wines not grape wines.
 

Donz

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2016
Messages
254
Reaction score
155
Thanks for the info. Do you also rack every 3 months in the process (while in the barrel) or is this after all racking activities have ended? Also are you adding any K-meta in the process?
Yes I rack approx. every 3 months whether the wine is in barrel or demijohn etc. I add a small amount of So2 at each racking.
 

Johnd

Senior Member
WMT Supporter
Joined
Jun 10, 2015
Messages
6,596
Reaction score
6,469
Location
South Louisiana
I come from a home brew background and have just started a kit wine to wet my feet and have done a lot of reading. I get the impression bulk aging wine does a lot of the same thing it does for beer. It allows 'stuff' to settle out. Some large breweries actually use a centrifuge. Supposedly 'lager' is simply the German word for 'storage'. The beer sat in cold caves all winter and was ready for the spring. This was just one of the things that helped lagers be so clean. I've seen charts on particle size, gravity and temperature in terms of how long it took various things to settle out.

So, my takeaway is that if you go too short on the bulk aging and just age in the bottle you have things in the bottle you might not want there.
Allowing the wine to clear and settle is a certainly part of letting it get a little age on it before bottling. Another aspect Scooter mentioned is worth mentioning again, once you bottle it, it's very difficult to make modifications to the batch. As the wine ages, it's final taste profile begins to emerge, and if you've bottled too quickly and wish you'd added more or less sugar it's too late, or more tannin, or more oak, had higher or lower acidity, again, too late. Generally speaking, the better the kit that you start with (less water to add, good oak additives, grape skins or grape packs), the more benefit from aging you get.

Lots of us have bottled too quickly, especially when getting started and trying to get some wine accumulated to get into the drinking rotation. Try rotating your kit purchases, inexpensive quicker drinking kit one time that you can bottle in a few months to produce a reasonable quaffing wine, and next time do a nice kit with skins to bottle in about a year. Drink your quaffers and save your nice bottles until you have a collection of wines with years on them.
 

bstnh1

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2012
Messages
629
Reaction score
400
Location
In the woods of New Hampshire
Both very important in my opinion. I barrel age my wine as long as I can, normally anywhere between 3-6 months and then bottle. I have noticed significant improvements letting it sit in the bottle on it's side for at least 3 months before drinking
Try letting it sit in the bottle for a year or two or longer! You'll be amazed at the improvement, especially with the reds.
 

ceeaton

Fifth year
Joined
Feb 15, 2015
Messages
5,060
Reaction score
5,111
Location
Southern PA
One thing I'd mention, it's much easier to drink the wine out of the bottle than it is the carboy (although some of us have devised unique ways/equipment to achieve carboy wine drinking). For me the longer it stays, properly cared for, in the carboy the better chance I have of getting some longer aged wines. I like @Johnd's idea of doing a few quicker drinking reds with some better kits in between. Just give some of your better kit wines a chance to really get long in the tooth if you can, I think the reward will be worth the wait.
 

Donz

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2016
Messages
254
Reaction score
155
Try letting it sit in the bottle for a year or two or longer! You'll be amazed at the improvement, especially with the reds.
Oh don't get me wrong, I have bottled wine that I made in my cellar that dates back to 2014. I do agree very much that bottle aging is paramount.
 

Tinwakr

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2018
Messages
109
Reaction score
41
Look to get them used. I just picked up two 3 gallon and one 5 gallon carboys all for $10, thanks Kijiji!
 

Ignoble Grape

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2017
Messages
152
Reaction score
92
Location
Central Coast, CA
Look to get them used. I just picked up two 3 gallon and one 5 gallon carboys all for $10, thanks Kijiji!
Oh man, you're preaching to the choir. Just missed a Craigslist posting - 11, 5g. carboys for $5 apiece... I need to be more dedicated to my hobby... Did get 3, 44 gl. primaries for $20, tho. Slowly building up the fundamentals!
 

Tinwakr

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2018
Messages
109
Reaction score
41
Oh man, you're preaching to the choir. Just missed a Craigslist posting - 11, 5g. carboys for $5 apiece... I need to be more dedicated to my hobby... Did get 3, 44 gl. primaries for $20, tho. Slowly building up the fundamentals!
Me too, the GF is trying to limit me. She says if we ever have to move we’ll be f#*^&@! Lmao
 

cmason1957

CRS Sufferer
WMT Supporter
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Messages
4,055
Reaction score
3,257
Location
O'Fallon, MO - Just NorthWest of St. Louis, MO
Me too, the GF is trying to limit me. She says if we ever have to move we’ll be f#*^&@! Lmao
Oh just you wait. I will caution you and all others, don't let those carboys get wet, the strangest thing happens, they multiply. I went from starting with one and swearing that would always be enough to two years later having 30 them with 28 full. and then having almost a thousand bottles full and still 15 carboys full. I think my wife is starting to realize we ain't never moving.
 

Countrygent

Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2018
Messages
38
Reaction score
22
Location
British Columbia or Washington State
Oh just you wait. I will caution you and all others, don't let those carboys get wet, the strangest thing happens, they multiply. I went from starting with one and swearing that would always be enough to two years later having 30 them with 28 full. and then having almost a thousand bottles full and still 15 carboys full. I think my wife is starting to realize we ain't never moving.
Not to mention the proliferation of fermenters, buckets, siphons, tubing and other odds and sods. And smaller carboys for those odd gallon and half gallons. Little packets of additives, yeasts, enzymes are also breeding in my winemaking drawer. There has been an invasion of bottles, corks and shrink wrap caps around our house as well. I got suckered by a beginner's kit - "everything you need" ... hahaha ....

As for the original question, I get the impression once a few months are past, the wine has settled, cleared, been oaked and sulfited, maybe acid balanced or back-sweetened, then you can age in the bottle or in bulk (in glass) as you wish, there isn't much difference. Barrel aging is a different matter as the barrel is oaking and breathing, evaporating etc.,. so the wine is continuing to change in a barrel until bottling.
 

Tom Martin

Member
Joined
May 21, 2018
Messages
33
Reaction score
16
Location
Colorado
Oh just you wait. I will caution you and all others, don't let those carboys get wet, the strangest thing happens, they multiply. I went from starting with one and swearing that would always be enough to two years later having 30 them with 28 full. and then having almost a thousand bottles full and still 15 carboys full. I think my wife is starting to realize we ain't never moving.
Then you will need one of these to store them in..
IMG_20181016_173300.jpg IMG_20181016_173217.jpg
 

Latest posts

Top