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sour_grapes

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I never thought about it that way. In my experience, when you get down to the lowest hydrometer readings, I’ve learned to depend on my sense of taste more than the instrument. It always takes weeks for me to not be able to taste any sugar at all.

I imagine you have conducted double-blind studies to confirm your sensitivity to small amounts of sugar?
 

leftiesrule

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This is my first attempt at winemaking and so far so good!! I pitched the yeast starter into the forte zinfandel kit yesterday and it is sizzlin'... already down to about 1.072 after 36 hours 😮

My plan is to follow the directions to a tee for the first go 'round and see what improvements I can/should make next time. Since I've got temperature control from homebrewing I figured I'd let the temp free rise to about 85F, leave it there for a little bit (half a day) and then drop the temp down to about 72F for the remainder of the 14 days. Thoughts?

One thing that confused me a bit with the instructions was whether to seal the fermenter prior to reaching 1.010. I decided to seal the fermenter from the git go with an airlock and things seem to be just fine. Maybe this is something that can be cleared up in further revisions of the instructions? That being said I think the instructions are well done for the most part.

Another thing I'm grappling with is what to do about headspace after racking. Maybe I'm overthinking things as usual but I wonder if it makes any sense to rack to maybe a 5 gallon carboy and save some of the wine in growlers or something for topping things up after subsequent rackings. I'm sure this is something I'll just figure out with experience and further reading. Probably best to use some commercial merlot for this and not complicate things for the first time. Any advice, though, would be welcome!

Anyways glad I found this site and stoked for some zinfandel!!! I'll try to post my progress here as time goes on 😀

Cheers!
-Adam
 
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Wine is typically fermented in an open bucket as yeast needs O2 to reproduce. It ferments in a closed container, but the ferment is slower. That's a good reason to keep an open container until 1.010.

For many moons I've made kits in 5 gallon/19 liter carboys, with the excess is a variety of containers. Recently I stopped that -- I have one in a 19 liter carboy with the remainder in a 4 liter jug. I topped up with a compatible wine. I just purchased a 23 liter carboy -- my most recent kit is going into that one, again topped up with a compatible wine. It's a LOT less hassle.

If you make a kit according to their schedule, most directions says it's not necessary to top up. Most of us do NOT make according to kit schedule, so topping up is advised if you do this.

@leftiesrule -- I suggest you start a new thread to post your progress. We are up to 50 pages in this thread and your posts will be lost in the chit chat.
 
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heatherd

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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?
I don't tie racking to kmeta additions, so I do one at 0.995, then every three months, and I tend to rack just to a carboy, then to a bottling bucket when I'm ready to bottle.
 

heatherd

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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!
I found that these instructions are way better and much more specific to the FWKs. I augmented with the also very specific videos on youtube done by @Matteo_Lahm to be helpful for folks who are visual learners.
 

katmike57

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Geeez.... I got lucky - I think. Got a FWK Tavola Petit Syrah single skin and started on 12/9. SG was 1.097. In starting the yeast, I neglected to add Packet B with the yeast but I didn't notice and added the yeast 24 hours later on 12/10.... yeah I really paid attention to the instructions ;). Today was the day to add Packet C (2nd dose of yeast nutrient) when I saw packet B sitting on the table. I do have some fermentation, but no foaming like I saw with my Forte Syrah kit I did several weeks ago. I went ahead and stirred in the starter packet anyway this morning. At this point, it probably won't help much, but I figured it coulnd't hurt. I waited a few hours and added the 2nd dose of yeast nutrient. SG is 1.042 and mild fermentation, so I'll assume crisis averted? IF fermention gets stuck, what's the best course of action?
 

Meadini

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Well I broke down and jumped on the bandwagon too, lol. The holiday special was just too good to pass up. I opted for the Forte Series Bordeaux. Gonna keep it in the fridge until Christmas Day and teach my step-son the protocol.
 

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Matteo_Lahm

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If your SG is 1.042, that’s about the perfect time to add the second packet of nutrient. This is a dangerous time for your wine. When the alcohol content increases, yeast activity decreases and it gets more and more difficult to clean up those last percentages of sugar.

Geeez.... I got lucky - I think. Got a FWK Tavola Petit Syrah single skin and started on 12/9. SG was 1.097. In starting the yeast, I neglected to add Packet B with the yeast but I didn't notice and added the yeast 24 hours later on 12/10.... yeah I really paid attention to the instructions ;). Today was the day to add Packet C (2nd dose of yeast nutrient) when I saw packet B sitting on the table. I do have some fermentation, but no foaming like I saw with my Forte Syrah kit I did several weeks ago. I went ahead and stirred in the starter packet anyway this morning. At this point, it probably won't help much, but I figured it coulnd't hurt. I waited a few hours and added the 2nd dose of yeast nutrient. SG is 1.042 and mild fermentation, so I'll assume crisis averted? IF fermention gets stuck, what's the best course of action?
 

jpdflyboy

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I'm experimenting with All-In-One Wine Pump's Headspace Eliminators. Has anyone tried these?
I've used the Headspace Eliminators. They will hold a vacuum on carboys for weeks or more. I recheck and add vacuum if needed.
 

RCGoodin

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Hello, I've received my 2 Finer Wine kits; Sauv Blanc and Red Zin. The Zin has 2 skin packs. I understand that the skin packs require a larger fermenting bucket, such as a 7.9 gallon. Does this sound right?

I froze the skin packs and refrigeratored the juice. How long can the juice stay in the fridge before I have to ferment?

Really look forward to getting started again. Now, to get with Steve and order the All-in-one pump and all the extras. I really like his head space illuminator.
 

Matteo_Lahm

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Hello! 7.9 gallon bucket is correct. you need the extra headspace to account for the activity of fermentation. You can absolutely store the juice in the refrigerator for months. You were correct to put the skins in the freezer as well. Welcome to the finer wine kits family.
Matteo

Hello, I've received my 2 Finer Wine kits; Sauv Blanc and Red Zin. The Zin has 2 skin packs. I understand that the skin packs require a larger fermenting bucket, such as a 7.9 gallon. Does this sound right?

I froze the skin packs and refrigeratored the juice. How long can the juice stay in the fridge before I have to ferment?

Really look forward to getting started again. Now, to get with Steve and order the All-in-one pump and all the extras. I really like his head space illuminator.
 

jgmann67

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Looks like a solution looking for a problem.

The Headspace Eliminators are great. I don’t suggest them for long term (though I know of plenty of winemakers that will leave them for months at a clip).

But, a good example of when I use them: last night I was blending my Cab Franc and a Petite Sirah in a barrel. I pulled around a gallon of the PS into the barrel and then placed a headspace eliminator on the 6 gal carboy (that now only had 5 gallons of wine in it). I’m bottling the remains this week sometime.
 

joeswine

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kit taste ? Don’t know what that’s is ?
Sprinkling yeast on top, towel covered fermentation, adding enhancements all in the primary lettin my hydrometer and time be my guide, seams like a simple process to me, well that’s Old people for you ( less is more)..
 

Sailor323

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It seems to me that lower pressure created by a headspace eliminator would encourage the loss of some volatiles in the wine.
 

pour750ml

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Hello Fellow Winemakers! Does anyone know if the FWK grape packs are 100% respective varietal to the kit that it purchased?

Cheers!
 
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Hello Fellow Winemakers! Does anyone know if the FWK grape packs are 100% respective varietal to the kit that it purchased?

Cheers!

This is from my memory, so someone else who actually has one of those might remember differently, but I believe we asked that question and the answer was that they are not necessarily from the same varietal as the juice. I seem to recall that they are all the same varietal and maybe that was Merlot or Zinfandel, but that part is fuzzier.
 

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