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winemaker81

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They’re all nicely separated in the wine room too… waiting patiently. But pushing any more bottles into the mix without dealing with the backlog would be a bad idea.
Use a Sharpie to mark the corks, something like "Ma", "M1", "M2", "C", and "B".
 

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Bordeaux update: Wednesday afternoon (Day 3) SG 1.034. Temp back up to 78F. Showing signs of slowing down. I removed the water jug as it was now completely thawed. Checked it again before bed and it had dropped to 1.025 and holding temp at 79F. Thursday morning (Day 4) SG 1.012 and temp holding at 79F. We were planning a late Thanksgiving dinner so I decided to go ahead and rack into the Big Mouth Bubblers. By 10:30am SG was at 1.010 and temp was 78F. Transferred into 2 BMBs and a 1 gal. jug and put them under airlock. Bubbling along steadily now.701FDF05-109A-44EC-8CAB-C80974AA8057.jpeg
 

RonNH

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I have made many WE wine kits from Label Peelers with good success, although when they super-concentrated the kits, the quality seemed a little off, at least with the whites that I made. When the Finer Wine kits made their debut, I jumped on the bandwagon, I wanted to try a Chardonnay but those were backordered so I went with the Pinot Noir without the grape skin pack as I'm not a heavy red wine drinker. The end result was amazingly good, at least to my liking. The Pinot had some good vanilla/oak tones and a good round mouthfeel. It was so much better than the mass produced Pinot's and sadly, I only have five bottles left. I finally got my Chardonnay kit after a few months of backorder waiting, it has another week to ferment so we'll see how that kit turns out. Both kits were the Tuscan series, very affordable and IMHO, a better wine kit than the WE higher end kits. Being shipped cold and not pasturized seems to improve the taste. The first part of the fermentation is a three step process with the yeast (Lalvin) and yeast boosters, after that it's similar to any other kit as far as racking. The Finer Wine kits are definitely worth trying but you might have to wait for your order. A FW rep I emailed said Label Peelers are their exclusive distributor but as the kits gain steam, they will ramp up production and will be more available.
 

MarkSC

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I am doing a merlot kit. Really liked the initial taste after racking to carboy. Anyway, I plan to rack twice over a 4 week period and then bottle (no bulk aging). The instructions call for 1/8 teaspoon of kmeta if the wine will be aged, which mine will. However, the instructions also seem to assume that the wine will be filtered with only one racking. I am used to the rule of 1/4 teaspoon every second racking. I’m thinking I will add 1/8 at each of the two rackings, with bottling a day or two after the second racking. Thoughts?
 

jgmann67

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I am doing a merlot kit. Really liked the initial taste after racking to carboy. Anyway, I plan to rack twice over a 4 week period and then bottle (no bulk aging). The instructions call for 1/8 teaspoon of kmeta if the wine will be aged, which mine will. However, the instructions also seem to assume that the wine will be filtered with only one racking. I am used to the rule of 1/4 teaspoon every second racking. I’m thinking I will add 1/8 at each of the two rackings, with bottling a day or two after the second racking. Thoughts?
Why the rush? If you have a good reason that can’t be addressed any other way, okay. As to the Kmeta question - I might hold back until you’re ready to bottle and just dose as you normally do with the 1/4 teaspoon.

But if there’s not a good reason, I say wait until your wine is perfectly clear (sediment stops dropping to the bottom), completely degassed (zero fizz) and taste the way it should before bottling.
 

MarkSC

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Why the rush? If you have a good reason that can’t be addressed any other way, okay. As to the Kmeta question - I might hold back until you’re ready to bottle and just dose as you normally do with the 1/4 teaspoon.

But if there’s not a good reason, I say wait until your wine is perfectly clear (sediment stops dropping to the bottom), completely degassed (zero fizz) and taste the way it should before bottling.
Not rushing, just following my usual course and the wine kit instructions. I will certainly wait longer if needed. It's curious that the instructions call for 1/8 even though they also suggest two rackings if not filtering. I will follow your advice and use 1/4 at the second racking. Thanks.
 

jgmann67

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Not rushing, just following my usual course and the wine kit instructions. I will certainly wait longer if needed. It's curious that the instructions call for 1/8 even though they also suggest two rackings if not filtering. I will follow your advice and use 1/4 at the second racking. Thanks.
Ah. Sometimes folks have space issues (or carboy deficiency syndrome) and try to get it into the bottle as quick as possible so they can make more. You'll hear this a lot: The time lines in the kit instructions are guidelines. Trust what your wine is telling you and bottle when your wine is ready.

Everyone has their own thing. After fermentation is done and I hit it with the initial dose of Kmeta, I'll let the wine age for three months as sediment drops. I rack, dose and let it sit for 3 more months. Depending on how it looks and tastes, I'll rack, dose and bottle the wine at that point.
 

winemaker81

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@MarkSC, kit instructions fulfill 2 requirements:

1 - meet the customer expectations of successfully making a decent wine on the first try, one that is drinkable fairly quickly.

2 - sell more kits.

Kit instructions are optimized to meet point #1. They are comprehensible by the average person and they work, although experienced winemakers typically realize they are not optimal. And, if point #1 is met, it's likely that so will #2.

How can the instructions be improved?

Fermentation -- ignore the calendar. Yeast are notorious for ignoring the calendar, so use a hydrometer to determine when fermentation is complete.

Post-Fermentation -- all intervals listed are minimum values, e.g., treat "2 weeks" as "at least 2 weeks".

Unless you have reason to (as mentioned previously), don't bottle before the 4 month mark. Long before kits, I was taught the 1-3-3 rule: 1 week (fermentation), 3 weeks (clearing), 3 months (aging). I currently consider this a minimum. I used to bottle kits earlier, but now age 6 to 12 months, depending on the wine. Whites and light reds shorter, heavy reds longer. The wine turns out more consistent.

At this time I have a white and a lighter red I'll bottle after 6 months or so, and 2 heavier reds that will be going into barrels for 12 months.

All this said ... if you want to bottle after 4 weeks, do so. It's your wine and it will probably turn out fine.
 

Lukaswine

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@MarkSC, kit instructions fulfill 2 requirements:

1 - meet the customer expectations of successfully making a decent wine on the first try, one that is drinkable fairly quickly.

2 - sell more kits.

Kit instructions are optimized to meet point #1. They are comprehensible by the average person and they work, although experienced winemakers typically realize they are not optimal. And, if point #1 is met, it's likely that so will #2.

How can the instructions be improved?

Fermentation -- ignore the calendar. Yeast are notorious for ignoring the calendar, so use a hydrometer to determine when fermentation is complete.

Post-Fermentation -- all intervals listed are minimum values, e.g., treat "2 weeks" as "at least 2 weeks".

Unless you have reason to (as mentioned previously), don't bottle before the 4 month mark. Long before kits, I was taught the 1-3-3 rule: 1 week (fermentation), 3 weeks (clearing), 3 months (aging). I currently consider this a minimum. I used to bottle kits earlier, but now age 6 to 12 months, depending on the wine. Whites and light reds shorter, heavy reds longer. The wine turns out more consistent.

At this time I have a white and a lighter red I'll bottle after 6 months or so, and 2 heavier reds that will be going into barrels for 12 months.

All this said ... if you want to bottle after 4 weeks, do so. It's your wine and it will probably turn out fine.
Very helpful information! I did not know anything about this great forum for four years. I was so in the dark making my kit wines. I followed the instructions to the “T”.

When I started reading FWK instructions, I was a mess! LOL It took me awhile to follow it because I was use to the other brands method. FWK tell you the “why” in their instructions in a story format in my opinion.

There is a lot to learn and the“ wine experts” on this forum are simply amazing . What I like most of all, is their willingness to share their knowledge and you don’t have to wait days for an answer! Thank you.

I still feel I am a intermediate newbie,
if there is such a thing!
 

winemaker81

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When I started reading FWK instructions, I was a mess! LOL It took me awhile to follow it because I was use to the other brands method. FWK tell you the “why” in their instructions in a story format in my opinion.
IMO that is what makes the FWK instructions the best. It's a lot to digest, but the "why" is the key to improving as a winemaker.

I still feel I am a intermediate newbie,
if there is such a thing!
IME the most knowledgeable folks in every field are lifelong students. There is always something new to learn.
 

X45011

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My merlot kit is going well. Today is Day 6; the SG is at 1.013, and the must temperature is 76 F. Agree that the instructions are great. However, I found one instruction to be a bit confusing. Step 3, Item 3 reads:

“Stir the must (juice) and “Punch down” the bags twice daily with sanitized utensils until SG reaches 1.010 and do not open bucket until Day 15 when transferring to carboy. …”

Obviously, one cannot stir and punch down without removing the fermenter lid. I think Item 3 should read:

Stir the must (juice) and “punch down” the bags twice daily with sanitized utensils until SG reaches 1.010. After SG reaches this point, close the fermenter and do not open until Day 15 when transferring to carboy. …
 

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My merlot kit is going well. Today is Day 6; the SG is at 1.013, and the must temperature is 76 F. Agree that the instructions are great. However, I found one instruction to be a bit confusing. Step 3, Item 3 reads:

“Stir the must (juice) and “Punch down” the bags twice daily with sanitized utensils until SG reaches 1.010 and do not open bucket until Day 15 when transferring to carboy. …”

Obviously, one cannot stir and punch down without removing the fermenter lid. I think Item 3 should read:

Stir the must (juice) and “punch down” the bags twice daily with sanitized utensils until SG reaches 1.010. After SG reaches this point, close the fermenter and do not open until Day 15 when transferring to carboy. …
I'm not sure if the verbiage has changed but I've been interpreting it just as you suggested. Agree that the way you wrote it would be less confusing.
 

Matteo_Lahm

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I think that’s an excellent suggestion.


My merlot kit is going well. Today is Day 6; the SG is at 1.013, and the must temperature is 76 F. Agree that the instructions are great. However, I found one instruction to be a bit confusing. Step 3, Item 3 reads:

“Stir the must (juice) and “Punch down” the bags twice daily with sanitized utensils until SG reaches 1.010 and do not open bucket until Day 15 when transferring to carboy. …”

Obviously, one cannot stir and punch down without removing the fermenter lid. I think Item 3 should read:

Stir the must (juice) and “punch down” the bags twice daily with sanitized utensils until SG reaches 1.010. After SG reaches this point, close the fermenter and do not open until Day 15 when transferring to carboy. …
 

jgmann67

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The instructions for the FWKs are excellent. But, I don't recall if the instructions include this suggestion:

If you're going to snap the lid and add an airlock when your SG reaches 1.010 (without regard for how much the grape skins are still rising above the wine), I suggest gently "sloshing" (agitating) the wine twice a day to keep the skins wet. Dry skins are an invitation for bad outcome.
 
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