Buzz: store bought vs. Homemade wine

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Mccartjm

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Hello. First time posting. I have been making wine for about 2 years. Not an expert, not terrible either. I wanted to ask more experienced winemakers about the subjective qualities regarding the 'buzz' quality you get from store bought vs homemade wine. I do not add sulfites or potassium sorbate to my wines. I rely on refrigeration and high alcohol to act as preservatives (try to achieve 20% abv or more). I do not back sweeten. I basically only use fruit, or juice, yeast nutrient, energizer, acid blend, pectic enzyme, and other common ingredients. I have noticed when drinking the wine I make I dont really get fatigued or a hangover. Its intoxicating, yet energizing, very energizing almost a stimulant vs cns depressant quality. It feels clean and pure. When I drink store bought wine I get a headache, feel tired, and feel hung over the next day. With homemade wine it's energetic, focused, pleasant, wonderful with no fatigue. Do you all experience this difference? I do not want to buy any commercial wine anymore. It just seems nasty to me now. I love drinking my own wine. Thank you
 

REDRUM

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in some cases, definitely. These days I find I can really taste it when a wine has too much sulfite (and also if it's over oaked) and in both of these instances it stuffs around with my body.
But there's plenty of good quality commercial wines that use minimal sulfites and not much else in terms of additives.
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Mccartjm

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Thank you for responding. Another thing I have noticed is nasal 'stuffiness'. When I drink store bought wine I get really stuffy. I just drank 3 glasses of home made wine, at 20% abv, and my nose is totally clear. It's so strange. I have read that there are histamines in wine and some people are prone to being sensitive to that, along with sulfite sensitivity. But I tell you what, it ts nice to get a buzz and not have a headache or stuffy nose!
 

winemaker81

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@Mccartjm, your reaction is typical of histamine intolerance. This site lists symptoms. Red wines are typically heavier in histamines, so most people who are intolerant get a reaction from them.

What fruit(s) do you make wine from? That is the key difference in why you don't get a reaction from your own wine.

BTW -- sulfite does not cause reactions in most people, and not the symptoms you mentioned.
 

NorCal

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Wine is 97% water and alcohol. All water and alcohol are created equal, it is the other 3% that you can control that makes it taste the way you want and other impurities that can cause negative reactions.
 

Dan M

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@Mccartjm
I'd be interested to hear more details about your winemaking process. I share similar feelings about store-bought wines. Although I've been told aging will greatly improve the flavor of my kit wines, they haven't yet made me a believer. When I first started making wine about 1 year ago, I was wondering if I really needed to add all these "chemicals" to get a good result. I now understand what the function of each additive is, but I don't completely understand how they affect the taste of the final product. Please share more details. On the other hand, how good does wine taste with 20% alcohol? I know that high alcohol content beer tastes completely different than normal 5% beer.
 

winemaker81

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@Mccartjm, what are you doing to get wine up to 20%?

@Dan M, you've only started a year ago, and some reds need at least that much time to mature. Wine making is a patience game. In another thread, @CDrew commented that in the first few years of winemaking, we are making for our future selves. This is spot on.

Most of the kit additives do not affect taste. Bentonite, kieselsol, and chitosan clear the wine quickly and effectively. Sulfite is for preservation and longevity, and very, very few people can detect the normal level of SO2 in wine. Sorbate can affect flavor, but when used according to kit instructions, it should not. Personally, I do not use sorbate unless the wine is backsweetened, as its value is to prevent a renewed fermentation -- dry wines have no need.

Buy a port wine and a sweet red, and compare them. That will give you an idea of the differences between a 20% and a 12% wine, although the sugar will affect the taste.

I've had wines upward to 18% and found them unpleasant. OTOH, I prefer whiskeys, gin, and tequila straight up, so my dislike of the strong wine may be that my expectation was for a 12% wine and a hot wine did not fit that expectation.
 

BernardSmith

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Many of the chemicals you are asked to add when you make a kit (or if you crush and press fresh grapes) have nothing to so with flavor. You add K-meta to remove indigenous or wild yeast and spoilage bacteria before you pitch your yeast - chosen for the flavors it can highlight and the flavors it can dampen. You add pectic enzyme (for country wines) to help destroy pectins that can create a haze AND to help with the extraction of juice. You add Bentonite to help clarify the wine by forcing particles of fruit and protein to flocculate and drop to the bottom. You might add sorbate to prevent any viable yeast from reproducing if your plan is to back sweeten. Adding K-meta before bottling allows free SO2 to prevent the wine oxidizing and so help increase shelf life.
Compounds you might add to enhance the wine include tannin and acidity. Acidity is often added (when needed) because a wine with a TA of about 6g/L (or about .06% tends to taste bright and fresh. Wines with a TA of significantly less acid taste bland and dull. You would add tannin to a wine that has too little tannin because tannin adds structure and shape to the flavors. Typically, grape wine made from pressed grapes will have lots of tannin because the tannin in grapes is found in he skin and in the seeds. Most other fruit is low in tannin, though the greener a banana the more tannin is found in the peel and persimmons that are unripe are notorious for the amount of tannin they contain. Tannins help provide mouthfeel in a wine (though residual sweetness can provide that viscosity too). Mouthfeel refers to the way a wine lingers in the mouth rather than simply slides down like water.
 
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