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GreenEnvy22

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Some of our cousins are commercial grape farmers, and keep a few rows of extras for stuff they like but aren't popular enough to grow.

One such vine is Dornfelder, which is quite popular in Germany, but barely heard of here in southern Ontario.

We got 550lbs of grapes dropped off last weekend. We had to get it picked a bit early this week due to my schedule, it was at 1.074 SG, so I'm expecting about 10% alcohol. Last year it was only at 1.070, so marginally sweeter this year.
For this wine, I make the wine and get to keep 1/3 of it for myself, the other 2/3 we give as a Christmas present to one aunt to loves it (one of her sons grows the grapes).

She likes it very sweet, like wine cooler. Last year I kept back 1/4 of the juice and froze it, and sweetened it up before bottling using that juice. She said it was good but still not sweet enough, so this year I kept 1/3 of her juice back and froze it. We make hers like a white, just press the red grapes immediately, no sitting on the skins. For my 1/3, last year I did the same thing (just made it all together and split it up at bottling).

This year I decided to make it like a red. I've never made a proper red before, so this will be an experiment. I separated 1/3 of the grapes and crushed them (kids helped which actually sped it up a lot), removed most of the stems. I added 1g of KMS to each of the 3 buckets, 2g of fermaid and about 10g of DAP. Used 1116 yeast and let them sit on the skins for 1 week, punching down twice a day.
Yesterday fermenting was complete so I removed the remaining skins and pressed them. Wound up with about 48L of juice. It took two carboys, and 2 1 gallon jugs. The second 1 gallon jug wasn't full all the way so I topped it up with last years Dornfelder (the sweet stuff). pH was at 3.3.

For the Aunts wine, we got 70L and froze just over 23L of it. The rest I did the same as above, 2g fermaid, 10g DAP, and 1116 yeast. One of the two buckets wasn't quite done fermenting (1.010) but I'm travelling in a few days so had I get it racked. It's still fizzing in the carboy but not overflowing. pH was about 3.15 for these.

So everything got done in time for our trip, though I just picked 2 bushels of Bosc pears from our back yard so need to figure out what to do with those still.

I hope the red turns out, I don't think I'll do anything special like MLF or oak as this is my first attempt, but we'll see how it tastes in a few months.

In the last pic, the red on the left (lighter coloured) is the white-style. It will darken up still once fermentation ends and it settles. The white in the back is the Muscat from our backyard grapes, then the red Dornfelder on the right.

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ceeaton

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I hope the red turns out, I don't think I'll do anything special like MLF or oak as this is my first attempt, but we'll see how it tastes in a few months.
I did do an MLF on the one last fall (100lbs or so of Dornfelder). What I noticed is that it took quite some time to come around flavor wise, so don't give up on it. Once it hit the eleven month mark it really changed dramatically, where there was a dominate green bell pepper flavor, that has died back to allow a lot of dark fruit flavors to emerge. I'm noticing that it can take quite a bit of oak if you leave it dry, and it seems to really improve the overall flavor and complexity.

I think traditionally it is back sweetened, but if you like big dry reds, give it a try. Mine was also pretty low brix (19.5) so I used a simple syrup to bump it up to 1.095, I'm glad I did, it can easily handle the extra alcohol. Keep us up to date on how it progresses. I'm just glad someone else is experimenting with Dornfelder, I'm even thinking of a few vines in the back yard (they are thick skinned and can handle our humidity, plus they are zone 6).
 

GreenEnvy22

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I did do an MLF on the one last fall (100lbs or so of Dornfelder). What I noticed is that it took quite some time to come around flavor wise, so don't give up on it. Once it hit the eleven month mark it really changed dramatically, where there was a dominate green bell pepper flavor, that has died back to allow a lot of dark fruit flavors to emerge. I'm noticing that it can take quite a bit of oak if you leave it dry, and it seems to really improve the overall flavor and complexity.

I think traditionally it is back sweetened, but if you like big dry reds, give it a try. Mine was also pretty low brix (19.5) so I used a simple syrup to bump it up to 1.095, I'm glad I did, it can easily handle the extra alcohol. Keep us up to date on how it progresses. I'm just glad someone else is experimenting with Dornfelder, I'm even thinking of a few vines in the back yard (they are thick skinned and can handle our humidity, plus they are zone 6).
Thanks for the tips.
I grew a couple dozen vines from last year's seeds, but I'm told it's unlikely they will actually be dornfelder. I'll get some cuttings from the vines this winter from our cousin and see if they take.
We have about 30 Muscat vines, 10 riesling, and Few table grape vines in the backyard already, so running out of space :)
 

GreenEnvy22

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So we were on vacation for 3 weeks, out of the country, right after I got this into secondary.
Coming back now, I added 100g of hungarian oak cubes to each of the 20L carboys, and will let them sit for about a week.

However, the sample i took has a sulfur smell to it (took sample just before adding oak). I'm planning on doing a couple rackings tomorrow to see if it goes away. I've seen some discussion online of running the wine over some copper to help reduce it. I've seen suggestion of using copper brillo pads. How about running it through some copper piping while racking it? will it oxidize the copper too quickly with this method?

Also, until I can afford a vinmetrica unit, I'm having a hard time reading sulfite levels. The wine is too dark, even when I dilute it by half, using a titrites test.
Any suggestions?
 

ceeaton

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Try this instead of copper tubing etc.

https://morewinemaking.com/products/reduless.html

I know a few have used it on here (I think @JohnT was one of them), just search on reduless or maybe one of them will chime in and share their experience with it.

As far as the sulfite, I aim for 1/4 tsp per 6 gallons every three months if my pH is 3.5 or lower. There are tables for higher pH's (I think my Dornfelder batch was 3.73 so I added more, don't have my notes close by but there is an easy formula you can use if you have a good gram scale that is accurate to 1/10 of a gram (any local cocaine/crack dealer should have a good one).

Online calculator I just found:
https://winemakermag.com/1301-sulfite-calculator
 
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JohnT

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I am a HUGE fan of redueless!

With H2S, an amazingly small amount packs a big punch. Just 3 parts per million can knock you on your back. The trick here is that treatments should keep this in mind.

I would first start with a splash racking and ensure that you have removed as much of the lees (sediment) as possible. Give it a day and then check if this has helped. If not, then I would go with a redueless treatment.

Redueless is not too expensive and allows you to control exactly how much copper is added to your wine. The stuff is WAY better than using copper sulfate and is, perhaps, far more effective and controlling than pouring over sheet copper.
 

GreenEnvy22

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I've ordered some reduless, will be here in a few days and I'll add it. In the meantime I racked it all twice.
pH is at 3.41. Sulfites read a bit high, 70ppm, but the titrets kit says it is known to read high for reds (really need a vinmetrica unit)
 

GreenEnvy22

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I put 3g into each of the two 5 gallon carboys on Saturday night (mixed with 30ml of water each). I'll rack it off Tuesday night and see how it smells.

For the other 60L of this wine, the stuff we made like a white for an Aunt, it's fine. No smell on that one, so I'm guessing whatever happened, it happened while on the skins. Both had the same nutrients added. That stuff we've since mixed the 40L of fermented wine with 20L of frozen juice. To me it tastes like grape juice, I can barely detect the alcohol, but she loves it. It's probably about 7% alcohol, reading 1020 SG. I sorbated it ahead of time and have sulfites around 40ppm. will let it sit in carboys for a month and if it hasn't started refermenting, we'll bottle it.
I can't believe how much lighter coloured this years is compared to last year. It looks like a rose now, whereas last years, while still also immediately pressed so no skin-time, was much darker (still not as dark as a normal red though).
 

GreenEnvy22

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Reduless did its job, no more sulfur smell.
Here is a pic of both wines. These are same grapes, crushed same day. One sat on skins for a week,the other pressed immediately.

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GreenEnvy22

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Bottling this today! The actual red.The sweet lighter one was bottled back before Christmas last year.
Taste has come along well. I added more oak this summer to try and bring the acid bite down a bit, seems to have worked.

The wine was so dark I couldn't test sulfites with the Titrets kits, even diluting it. So I brought a sample to our local university wine lab, and 3 hours later (and $20 later) I had my reading, 6.8ppm. I had been weary of adding more as it aged because I didn't want to overdue it, but this was quite low.

Yesterday added kmeta to bring it back to about 50ppm.

Now I'll have room for the Merlot I expect to be picked any day.
 
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