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Favorite juice bucket and tweak?

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JBP

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Recognizing this question has a huge element of personal preference involved, I am curious which varietals you think produce the best wine when starting from a juice bucket and the tweaks you use on them. COVID wine-making has me eyeing the juice bucket pre-orders as something to play with this fall. Italian? Californian?

Valpolicella, Barolo, Brunello, Amarone, Montepulciano, Nebbiolo, Chianti, Sangiovese - not even sure how some of these work as Amarone wines are from dried Valpolicella grapes; Barolo wines are from Nebbiolo grapes, etc.
 

Chuck E

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I have made wines from juice buckets from Chile. The Malbec was ok, the Carménère was spectacular as was the Viognier.

I like to add grape skins to buckets, either my own or store bought. For an Amarone, I would think about adding dried fruit (Zanti currants or raisins).
 

Ajmassa

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I’m always defaulting to a bolder varietal. Cab, Merlot, Malbec etc. amarone juice isn’t actually a true amarone I don’t think. It can’t be. Otherwise it would be a lot more expensive. I looked into it once but difficult to find hard answers.
I did a Chateauneuff du Pape bucket in 2017 (Grenache blend) with some fresh grapes added. 3 years later it is absolutely fantastic

Tweaks to get the most of these buckets-
A fresh lug of grapes or you can order this pack online.

The $5 additive pack. Perfect for a juice bucket. Additive Pack for Brehm Frozen Fruit (Reds) | MoreWine

Also I would recommend looking into MLF for all your reds.
 

JBP

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Thanks! Hadn’t thought about MLF - will be good to add that to my toolbox ~
 

Ajmassa

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Thanks! Hadn’t thought about MLF - will be good to add that to my toolbox ~
Before diving into grapes I was making seasonable buckets as bare bones as can be. zero tweaks. I’d add yeast. Rack a couple times. Bottle by the following summer. And drink it all within a year from bottling.

It’s noteworthy to mention the time I discarded a bottle by accident. When I finally found it the wine was aged about 4 years. Again, no tweaks. No grapes. No so2. No nothing. And at 4 years old my mind was blown. At the time is was by far the best wine I’d ever made. So it goes to show ya just how valuable a little age can be.
 

Ajmassa

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Since learning lots of different tricks for grapes it’s really helped up my bucket game too. Fall 2019 helped my dad make a 5.3gal bucket of Sangiovese.

here’s exactly what we did: (Kept it simple without grapes)
1. I bumped up sugar from 1.089 to 1.098 if I recall correctly.
2. I added one of those additive packs to the juice. (Ditched the included enzymes. Unnecessary without grapes or skins) Mainly wanted those tannins- the FT Rouge and Opti- Red and added our yeast (RC212 I think)
3. added the malolactic bacteria 24hours into fermentation. Stirred daily the first ~5 days
4. Since he was waiting for me to make time to swing by the wine got a little extra time in primary and in MLF. Byproduct of that tho was the assurance it went fully dry and mlf fully completed
5. After primary and in the carboy we racked again within that 1st week. Then again in early December when MLF was more than finished. Added 1/4 tsp of so2 and put to sleep for the winter.
6. racked in March and added an oak Spiral. French medium. In June we removed oak, racked and dosed so2. Just bottled it last night. x25-1/4 bottles.

We drank those 2 remaining glasses after we were done. First sip- still had the young bite but otherwise a decent wine. By the last sip tho that “youngness” (I don’t know how to describe it) had lifted and was enjoyable. He’s planning to start drinking/gifting around Christmas time. And as we all know- the longer we wait the better it gets. Hope this info this helps ya out in some way. 👍
 

JBP

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Thanks for taking the time to share these details! Learning to age wine was definitely a gift.
 

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