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Lukaswine

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You are absolutely right and going forward, I will chime in when it is necessary. In the end, it is about you enjoying the wine and we will continue to do whatever is necessary to keep improving our products for you, our customers. Your feedback is essential which is why we follow these threads. We really appreciate all of your insights.
best,
Matteo
Your insights would be invaluable! I am so grateful to the advice if the senior members.😊
 

Gilmango

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We at Finer Wine Kits are big fans of this Forum. It is a great place for both Beginners and Advanced Winemakers to share ideas. It is for this reason that we prefer not to interject in these threads to not bring any promotional input about our products and instead let it be a give and take for you, our customers.

However, we feel this is something that we should address so that everyone is clear about the product offerings and the differences between them. The Tavola Series has not changed the amount of Concentrate in the kits. During the Production runs, we aim for the high end of the OSG range to not disappoint customers in the finished product and account for some who might add a little too much water. We have found that many use the ring in a 7.9-gallon bucket as their fill line for 6 Gallons of must and this is slightly high and results in a lower OSG.

As for your assessment that the juice concentrate is the same for both the Tavola Series and the Forte Series, you are correct. There is just more juice concentrate in the Forte Series along with automatic double skins and a seed pack. The higher ABV is not just for more alcohol, it also causes more breakdown of the skins for better color, more body and richer tannins. This is needed to accommodate the increased complexity from the addition of the seeds. Furthermore, the Forte Series comes with more oak chips and cubes to compliment the bolder characteristics. We came out with the Forte Series because we feel it offers our customers more bang for your buck if you are going to make a kit with a double skin pack. We are constantly working on ways to improve our products and give our customers a better winemaking experience. The Forte Series was just our next step.

We hope that this clarifies the differences between the two Series and look forward to Feedback from our customers.

Salute!

Matteo Lahm

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Matteo (and Matt) - thank you so much for the transparency that Finer Wine kits are bringing to the kit wine business. I really like the two kits I've tried so far (they're both bulk aging still but I've snuck tastes), the videos, and the answers provided to emails mostly and occasionally here. I personally agree that there's no reason for you two not to chime in if you can respond to some speculation on this thread. But I also see your point of not doing too much self promotion.

In terms of transparency I am most happy with the 100% varietal statement which I think Matt cleared up in response to an email which was then shared on WMT. While I totally believe that well thought out blends improve many wines, most kits have been shrouded in mystery so I'm happy that your non-blend kits are 100% of the varietal.

When the new Forte kits came out I did what I could to try to figure out the differences in terms of what was included or not included, prices, etc. And your email tells me I got it right by and large. I did not know Forte included even more oak (vs. a double skin Tavola), but I guessed Forte had more concentrate and that it was the same concentrate, and of course knew about the grape seeds pack, and double skin pack.

However, I did also speculate, based on personal experience with the original formulation coming in around 13.65% for me for both wines, that it was possible the Tavolas had less concentrate than the original kits, given that the Tavolas are said to be 12-13%. I did not think that was the case and generally figured that the Tavolas were the same, and it was just that the Forte had more concentrate (or more concentrated concentrate), but I did at least mention that possibility. I apologize for that speculation and am glad that you have confirmed it is not the case. And your explanation makes sense too (why the ABV ranges are lower than my actual results), you want to surprise people by over delivering, and not disappoint people who over-water their kits.
 

G259

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LOL, my first ever kit was a Chardonnay from (Cheap SOB's.com, or something like that), and they gave me, like, a quart of juice/concentrate. SG=1.060, I added sugar and the result was a thin wine, and I'll not go back! 2 kits now and 'Finer" is my "winer", one on the way!
 

oppyland

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Just finished reading through this thread, and decided to pre-order a Petit Sirah Forte kit based on the comments from other members and communication from Mateo and Matt. Just started a Wine Lovers mid-range kit - hoping the new one gets here next month so I can start a new batch right away!
 

G259

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I started a red Zin. 6/1, racked it, and did a small sample. I'm not a professional taster or anything, but even I detected several layers of notes/flavors. I expect it to only develop further in the future. I have 4 - 3 gallon carboys, and they're all full, so I just bought 3 - 5 gal. Better Bottles! Also, I dropped a 3 gal. better bottle (4 1/2 feet) onto the floor (believe it or not, TWICE!) The stopper flew out, and I lost some wine (1L, total?), I'll deal with it! It wasn't pretty, and I had to clean EVERYTHING (including the ceiling), but luckily my linoleum floor caught most of it. I live on the 3rd floor, THAT'S why I buy better bottles! My brother dropped a friends 5 gallon glass carboy in his basement, they still laugh (cry) about it today!
 
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Jim Welch

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I've gone in whole hog on these Finer Wine kits. Just this evening pre-ordered my 11th, 12th, 13th, and 14th Finer Wine kits, 4 different Forte versions. I kave batches 7-10 in primary now doing a short EM. Will be transferring these to secondary in 4-6 gal better bottles this weekend hopefully. Also have 4 WE Private Reserve kits on hand, two Zinfandel and two Merlot, thinking of just putting them right into the primary ferementers on top of the FW grape skins and let the yeast I used on them get back to work.
 

Gilmango

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Also have 4 WE Private Reserve kits on hand, two Zinfandel and two Merlot, thinking of just putting them right into the primary ferementers on top of the FW grape skins and let the yeast I used on them get back to work.
I think those are both great ideas, reusing the skins and the yeast. Especially if the WE kits don't come with skins of their own (but really even if they do, the more the merrier), and if the WE kits only include EC-1118 Champagne yeast rather than the nicer RC 212.

I have not reused wine yeast yet, but I do it all the time with ale yeasts (and wild yeast/bacteria) in my homebrewing. And I have already re-used skins (I bought a FW Barbera kit without skins to be a faster drinker, but could not help myself and re-used skins from the prior kit on the Barbera).

I'm now making my first ever wine from grapes I picked and am also thinking about whether (and if so how) I might utilize some or all of the pulp and skins after I press them as well as I can without actually having a press. Need to read up more to see if that is a thing, but fear that the fresh grape skins may not be as safe to play with after pressing.
 

Gilmango

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I started a red Zin. 6/1, racked it, and did a small sample. I'm not a professional taster or anything, but even I detected several layers of notes/flavors. I expect it to only develop further in the future. I have 4 - 3 gallon carboys, and they're all full, so I just bought 3 - 5 gal. Better Bottles! Also, I dropped a 3 gal. better bottle (4 1/2 feet) onto the floor (believe it or not, TWICE!) The stopper flew out, and I lost some wine (1L, total?), I'll deal with it! It wasn't pretty, and I had to clean EVERYTHING (including the ceiling), but luckily my linoleum floor caught most of it. I live on the 3rd floor, THAT'S why I buy better bottles! My brother dropped a friends 5 gallon glass carboy in his basement, they still laugh (cry) about it today!
I am loving my newish Speidel 30 liter, but beyond that and a couple plastic buckets, I have about 9 glass carboys. Never broken one yet, knock on wood. Each one now has its own milk crate. The 5 gal ones fit in the basic square milk crates you see everywhere, but I just recently scored some larger rectangular crates which hold all my 6.5 gal carboys. They make lifting the carboys so much safer, and also eliminate the risk of putting them down too hard on my concrete garage floor.

My worst mishap was actually having an older plastic bucket break in my hands as I was lifting it up to start a siphon. Somehow the plastic had gotten brittle over the years. An entire batch of tasty beer was lost, thank god I was in the garage on concrete floors with a drain. Still took a long time to clean all that up by adding a ton of fresh water to the floor so no sticky residue was left behind.
 

Jim Welch

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I think those are both great ideas, reusing the skins and the yeast. Especially if the WE kits don't come with skins of their own (but really even if they do, the more the merrier), and if the WE kits only include EC-1118 Champagne yeast rather than the nicer RC 212.

I have not reused wine yeast yet, but I do it all the time with ale yeasts (and wild yeast/bacteria) in my homebrewing. And I have already re-used skins (I bought a FW Barbera kit without skins to be a faster drinker, but could not help myself and re-used skins from the prior kit on the Barbera).

I'm now making my first ever wine from grapes I picked and am also thinking about whether (and if so how) I might utilize some or all of the pulp and skins after I press them as well as I can without actually having a press. Need to read up more to see if that is a thing, but fear that the fresh grape skins may not be as safe to play with after pressing.
The WE kits do come with skins but if I do reuse the FW skins I’ll save the WE skins. Been thinking of making a couple batches of wine with wine grape juice concentrate from Coloma Frozen. I ferment in 10 gallon so have never done a real long EM. Two weeks or so is my limit with my set up.
Two of these 4 are Syrah and a petit Syrah. I used Syrah yeast in them and I’ve read it’s a good yeast for Merlot so the two WE Merlot I have would go into those two fermenters.
I’m a beer maker too and have pitched big Belgians on top of lesser Belgian yeast cakes several times with excellent results.

Edit:Spelling correction
 
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Gilmango

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The WE kits do come with skins but if I do reuse the FE skins I’ll save the WE skins. Been thinking of making a couple batches of wine with wine grape juice concentrate from Coloma Frozen. I ferment in 10 gallon so have never done a real long EM. Two weeks or so is my limit with my set up.
Two of these 4 are Syrah and a petit Syrah. I used Syrah yeast in them and I’ve read it’s a good yeast for Merlot so the two WE Merlot I have would go into those two fermenters.
I’m a beer maker too and have pitched big Belgians on top of lesser Belgian yeast cakes several times with excellent results.
That all makes a ton of sense except that when I priced out the Coloma Frozen it seemed to cost roughly as much as Finer Wines but without the yeast, fining agents, instructions, oak, muslin sacks, etc. So though I was excited about Coloma at first it seemed to me that FWK overdelivered vs. Coloma. But maybe Coloma ships more cheaply, and you already have the yeast, and re-use the skins...
 

Jim Welch

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That all makes a ton of sense except that when I priced out the Coloma Frozen it seemed to cost roughly as much as Finer Wines but without the yeast, fining agents, instructions, oak, muslin sacks, etc. So though I was excited about Coloma at first it seemed to me that FWK overdelivered vs. Coloma. But maybe Coloma ships more cheaply, and you already have the yeast, and re-use the skins...
I have all that comes with the FW kits on hand except for oak. If one buys the 16 gallons at $160 that is 2 2/3 6 gallon kits so it seems to be a pretty close price point, perhaps cheaper. I’m not saying it’s better than the FW kits, it is too early to tell but I am going to make at least 2 batches of the Coloma wine so I know.
 

winemaker81

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Need to read up more to see if that is a thing, but fear that the fresh grape skins may not be as safe to play with after pressing.
I make 2nd run wines from the pomace. There's nothing bad in the pomace that isn't already in the 1st run wine.

Re-using pomace (or skins) produces diminishing returns as the first fermentation extracts a large portion of the constituents. However, the 2nd run can still be fairly well colored, so it's not all extracted. My intention is to set your expectations regarding what you'll get from a re-use, especially in a different 1st run wine.

BTW -- buy or build a press. Without a decent press you leave a lot of wine behind. Last fall I added 15 gallons of water to the pomace from my first run wines -- when I pressed hard I got 20 gallons of wine. The first run produced about 40 gallons, so a fairly hard press (I have a basket press, no way to provide an accurate measure of force) still left 1/8 of the wine behind.
 

Gilmango

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I have all that comes with the FW kits on hand except for oak. If one buys the 16 gallons at $160 that is 2 2/3 6 gallon kits so it seems to be a pretty close price point, perhaps cheaper. I’m not saying it’s better than the FW kits, it is too early to tell but I am going to make at least 2 batches of the Coloma wine so I know.
Wow, that pricing sounds very compelling, I must have compared the smaller size which Coloma sells which was the one I recall was nearly as costly as the original FWKits, pre-price bump and without skins. Let us know how the Coloma compares to FWK.
 

Jim Welch

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Wow, that pricing sounds very compelling, I must have compared the smaller size which Coloma sells which was the one I recall was nearly as costly as the original FWKits, pre-price bump and without skins. Let us know how the Coloma compares to FWK.
The Coloma price includes shipping too. If the WE “second run” works out I could see me making FW kits going forward followed by a Coloma batch immediately after further driving costs down. That’s my thinking right now, of course with wine the time lag to see how well this will work is much much longer than in brewing where I’d be boiling a batch as I racked the previous batch off the yeast cake.
One thing in my favor I believe bit not sure of, is that since I ferment in 10 gallon Rubbermaid Brute “trash” buckets I don’t keep the must/wine on the grapes much over two weeks so the skins may still have more too impart than those from a much longer EM. Could use a Mondiale grape pack along with the used skins too, another option.
I am in no way disparaging the FW kits, they certainly, relative to other wine kits, “over deliver” as you and others have said. As I mentioned in my post #727 above I’ve gone whole hog on them and will definitely, definitely be buying more. My thoughts here are just me being me by trying to take an already good bargain and making it better.
 

winemaker81

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One thing in my favor I believe bit not sure of, is that since I ferment in 10 gallon Rubbermaid Brute “trash” buckets I don’t keep the must/wine on the grapes much over two weeks so the skins may still have more too impart than those from a much longer EM.
From what I've read, most of the constituents of the pomace are extracted in the first 3 to 4 days. EM extracts certain softer tannins.
 

Gilmango

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I make 2nd run wines from the pomace. There's nothing bad in the pomace that isn't already in the 1st run wine.

Re-using pomace (or skins) produces diminishing returns as the first fermentation extracts a large portion of the constituents. However, the 2nd run can still be fairly well colored, so it's not all extracted. My intention is to set your expectations regarding what you'll get from a re-use, especially in a different 1st run wine.

BTW -- buy or build a press. Without a decent press you leave a lot of wine behind. Last fall I added 15 gallons of water to the pomace from my first run wines -- when I pressed hard I got 20 gallons of wine. The first run produced about 40 gallons, so a fairly hard press (I have a basket press, no way to provide an accurate measure of force) still left 1/8 of the wine behind.
Thanks, I went to your website and read about your 2nd run wines. I think I will try that and feel like that will also take some pressure off from me trying to press everything out in the first runnings. Basically I will press harder on the 2nd run with whatever DIY bucket press I come up with, pressing just hard enough to hopefully fill my 30L Speidel which I'll use as a secondary for the first time ever. Then I will aim to add 5 g of water with 10# of sugar on top of all the skins/pulp/seeds/wine that is left -- basically a huge pomace to sugar water ratio. After that ferments I'll aim to squeeze that harder to fill not only a 5 g carboy with second run wine, but also some extra wine for topping up.

A real press may follow down the road but not for this first wine with grapes.
 

Jim Welch

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That seems to call into question the sense of tying up a fermenter for much longer than it takes to finish fermenting then...I mean what does "most" mean? 50.1%, 65%, 89%, 99.9%? Did what you read get into the details on this? I'm not arguing here just want to understand the details.
 

winemaker81

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@Jim Welch, I got some of my information from an article on WineMakerMag:


Unfortunately for most folks, this is a paid article so only members can read it. I'm posting 2 graphs from the article, which give you the tip of the iceberg. The graphs make sense, but to get the full understanding the accompanying text is needed, which I won't post as it's copyrighted material.

The article is by Dwayne Bershaw, and he discussed cold soak, extended maceration, and carbonic maceration, plus includes interview snippets from 3 professional winemakers.

Figure 1.png

FYI, anthocyanin is a blue, violet, or red flavonoid pigment found in plants


Figure 2.png

I considered EM, but have decided against it in lieu of a different approach. Last fall I used Scottzyme ColorPro and shredded medium toast American oak as my "sacrificial" fermentation oak with great success, and am doing it again. I compared the enzyme against other extraction enzymes and it does more than the others I considered.
 
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