Can I substitute citric acid for lemon juice?

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At this point I don't know that I am ready to make 'good wine' which is why I am playing with the simple recipes to get a handle on the process.
Nope, this is the wrong attitude. You should be prepared to make great wine with each batch!

Keep in mind that with each batch, the bar may move higher, when a new wine exceeds all previous ones. The bar won't move with every batch, and with experience it gets harder to move the bar (because most of the wines are at least "good"), but keep it as a goal.

My least favorite wine at any given time is used for cooking wine. Which doesn't mean it's a bad wine, just that it's my least favorite. Unless the batch goes horribly wrong, there's always a use for it.
 

Rice_Guy

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making wine is like planting a dream, , , , and sometimes it works
Nope, this is the wrong attitude. You should be prepared to make great wine with each batch!
At this point I don't know that I am ready to make 'good wine' which is why I am playing with the simple recipes to get a handle on the process. In my Raspberry wine thread I noted it has come out at 16%. A great error, although through following a written recipe, to have happen in a first and small batch. Seems I get to try to play with making it drinkable, but this is exactly what I am aiming for, a benchmark to better understand the next recipe and guage whether the ingredients will give me my desired result.
part of a great wine is marketing,
,,, yesterday I collected bottles from uncle Glen and my brother > > this apple brouchet was really good (translation “I like a sweet drink”)
,,, two days back I talked to Dale from the vinters club >> that apple brouchet had good tannins, but boy was it sweet, if you went to XX you could get some $22 French and English vintage ciders which have wonderful tannin examples , , , they can show you where the sweetness balance should be.

,,, I am learning the market, I went and picked some out from France, England, New Zealand, Ireland, 2014 and even, , , , , California
, , , what is the old curse “may you drink interesting wine”
 

Raptor99

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Nope, this is the wrong attitude. You should be prepared to make great wine with each batch!
I had a similar thought starting out. I want to make great wine, but there are several benchmarks for my progress.
  1. Make a wine that I can tolerate drinking
  2. Make a wine that I enjoy drinking
  3. Make a wine that I am proud to share with friends and family
  4. Make a wine that I absolutely love drinking
My goal is #4, but there are many steps to get there.

Getting familiar with the ingredients and the process gives you freedom to tweak recipes or make up your own. Part of it is training your palate to recognize tannin, acidity, alcohol level, body, etc.

Is it common practice to add in orange peel for example during bulk aging, or is it best to add these during ferment to get the full effect.
Making wine is a lot like cooking. When you add black pepper, the flavor is different if you add it at the beginning, middle, or end of the cooking process. The flavor is also affected by whether you use fine ground, coarse ground, or pepper corns. Adding ingredients to wine works in a similar way. Orange zest (not peel--you don't want the pith) adds a different flavor depending on when you add it. I think that generally the ingredients added in the primary are more blended and the ones that you add in secondary stand out more as distinct flavors. For a more complex flavor, add some at both stages. Experiment and find out what you like!
 

vinny

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I had a similar thought starting out. I want to make great wine, but there are several benchmarks for my progress.
  1. Make a wine that I can tolerate drinking
  2. Make a wine that I enjoy drinking
  3. Make a wine that I am proud to share with friends and family
  4. Make a wine that I absolutely love drinking
My goal is #4, but there are many steps to get there.
This is exactly my thinking. I am not only dealing with finding a recipe I like, and then not messing something up in the process, but also an uneducated pallet. A week and a half ago I had never made a wine before. I now have six different gallons on the go. It's going to be interesting to see what I get. There's a good chance that something isn't going to be my favorite off the hop, but could end up being something I love down the road as I learn to identify and appreciate flavors.

I already know I messed up the raspeberry wine. At 16% I think if I back sweeten it fairly heavy, it might make a great 'concentrate' for adding to soda. My statement was not a lack of confidence in my abilities, just more of measured expectations. Had I jumped into this thinking I have the best ingredients, fresh garden raspberries, and I am going to make the best wine possible. In a couple years this is going to be unbelievable... Well I'd be pretty ticked off right now, with wasted time and ingredients. Having a goal of fun and learning keeps it simple, I'm just gonna roll with the punches. I'll make a tolerable drink out of that raspberry wine, yet.

Hopefully one of the other 5 gallons will be something I enjoy. Maybe even one I would be excited to share, but I'm ok if that takes a little time as I work through the process. It is intrigue that has brought me this far, not a desire to create something amazing.

Honestly, I am going to have to learn what I like before I know what I want to make. Now, I could go and get a kit and make a Pinot Grigio or Riesling. I know I like those, but where is the fun and adventure in that? I am sure I will make a kit in the near future as another point of understanding, but I also want to make something I have never tried before and didn't even know that I like.

I guess it just comes down to perspective. Taste is subjective and my liking something, or not, really isn't a qualifier of it being good, or not. Unless of course you make a raspberry wine that is too strong to drink, but then you just make is something else and pretend it was intentional.
 

ChuckD

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This is exactly my thinking. I am not only dealing with finding a recipe I like, and then not messing something up in the process, but also an uneducated pallet. A week and a half ago I had never made a wine before. I now have six different gallons on the go. It's going to be interesting to see what I get. There's a good chance that something isn't going to be my favorite off the hop, but could end up being something I love down the road as I learn to identify and appreciate flavors.

I already know I messed up the raspeberry wine. At 16% I think if I back sweeten it fairly heavy, it might make a great 'concentrate' for adding to soda. My statement was not a lack of confidence in my abilities, just more of measured expectations. Had I jumped into this thinking I have the best ingredients, fresh garden raspberries, and I am going to make the best wine possible. In a couple years this is going to be unbelievable... Well I'd be pretty ticked off right now, with wasted time and ingredients. Having a goal of fun and learning keeps it simple, I'm just gonna roll with the punches. I'll make a tolerable drink out of that raspberry wine, yet.

Hopefully one of the other 5 gallons will be something I enjoy. Maybe even one I would be excited to share, but I'm ok if that takes a little time as I work through the process. It is intrigue that has brought me this far, not a desire to create something amazing.

Honestly, I am going to have to learn what I like before I know what I want to make. Now, I could go and get a kit and make a Pinot Grigio or Riesling. I know I like those, but where is the fun and adventure in that? I am sure I will make a kit in the near future as another point of understanding, but I also want to make something I have never tried before and didn't even know that I like.

I guess it just comes down to perspective. Taste is subjective and my liking something, or not, really isn't a qualifier of it being good, or not. Unless of course you make a raspberry wine that is too strong to drink, but then you just make is something else and pretend it was intentional.
We have kinda gone off the rails with this thread (seemingly a common occurrence).

like you I’m pretty new to this. I’m torn, I know I should make one-gallon batches to experiment but it seems like the same amount of work if it’s 1, 3, or 5 gallons. And they take so long I worry that if I like it I’ll wish I made more! So I make a big batch of wine, but if it doesn’t work out I’m wasting more! What to do?
 
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We have kinda gone off the rails with this thread (seemingly a common occurrence).
Situation normal!

like you I’m pretty new to this. I’m torn, I know I should make one-gallon batches to experiment but it seems like the same amount of work if it’s 1, 3, or 5 gallons. And they take so long I worry that if I like it I’ll wish I made more! So I make a big batch of wine, but if it doesn’t work out I’m wasting more! What to do?
Start with smaller batches for now. As you get more confidence -- and successes -- ramp up the batch size.

I don't make 1 gallon batches as when it comes out good, I've got 5 bottles. I'm past the point where 5/6 gallons feels like a waste. I bottled 4 cases of 2019 Zinfandel after a year of bulk aging, and 1.5 years later I'm down to 2.5 cases, and worry about how little I have left.

Larger batches are high risk, as you may have a LOT more cooking wine ....
 

ChuckD

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Larger batches are high risk, as you may have a LOT more cooking wine ....
To be brutally honest, most of the wine I have been given by family and friends tastes like jacked up cough syrup! And most people seem to think it’s good, or at least normal for home made wine!!

What I’m saying is, the bar is not too high! If a batch is better than your average prison hooch I can get rid of it 😂. If it’s really bad I can always give it to the people I don’t really like 😂😂.
Kidding.
Sort of😉
 

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I have a big complaint on a lot of contest wines, can the vintor increase the fruit flavor? or pick out other aromatics to fill in missing notes. For me the answer so far has been going close to 100% fruit/ 0% water. It can get blue ribbons.

Cough syrup sounds a lot like oxidation issues. , , , , To camouflage oxidation I have fermented with strong flavors as vinters harvest grapefruit or apricot, or adding cranberry and apple tannins. , , , , What I have seen says that to keep natural fruity notes requires a squeaky clean reductive process. , , , , and I work on that.
To be brutally honest, most of the wine I have been given by family and friends tastes like jacked up cough syrup! And most people seem to think it’s good, or at least normal for home made wine!!

What I’m saying is, the bar is not too high! If a batch is better than your average prison hooch I can get rid of it
 

ChuckD

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I have a big complaint on a lot of contest wines, can the vintor increase the fruit flavor? or pick out other aromatics to fill in missing notes. For me the answer so far has been going close to 100% fruit/ 0% water. It can get blue ribbons.

Cough syrup sounds a lot like oxidation issues. , , , , To camouflage oxidation I have fermented with strong flavors as vinters harvest grapefruit or apricot, or adding cranberry and apple tannins. , , , , What I have seen says that to keep natural fruity notes requires a squeaky clean reductive process. , , , , and I work on that.
Mostly I think it’s “grandma’s recipe” wines that are high alcohol, wayyyyy young, and loaded with sugar to hide it all. A friend gave me a bottle of elderberry in November that was a 2021 vintage! I asked if I should age it a while and she said no, it was bottled over a month ago! She also gave me the recipe… For 5 gallons it was 12 lbs of berries, 24 lbs of sugar, 1.5 cups of rasins, juice from nine lemons, and red star bakers yeast. That’s all. After talking with her for a bit I know she doesn’t own a carboy and never heard of an airlock.

she was happy with it so more power to her but I’m shooting for something you could find at a good local winery. You folks are a great resource towards that end!
 
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she was happy with it so more power to her but I’m shooting for something you could find at a good local winery.
Emphasis mine. This is a key point -- when someone is happy, I try to shut up (not always successfully). Let her taste yours, and if she asks questions, tell her what you do. If not? Well, she's happy with it.
 

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Emphasis mine. This is a key point -- when someone is happy, I try to shut up (not always successfully). Let her taste yours, and if she asks questions, tell her what you do. If not? Well, she's happy with it.
Totally agree. I thanked her for the bottle and reported back that my Sister in law loved it (she did, and we sent the bottle home with her). That’s why she gave me the recipe.
 

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