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JohnRingo

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Hi All,

Thanks for hosting this great informational forum.

My first batch of wine has been aging about 3 month or so and it did not turn out very good. I would describe the smell and taste as a little funky at best. It isn't really drinkable unless mixed with boxed or other wine. This was a Master Vintner Wine Maker's Reserve Classic Cabernet Sauvignon kit.

I followed the kit directions as best I could and the process is summarized as follows. If I am reading my notes right the SG was 1.09 at the start. Seven days later the SG was about 1.0 and the wine was racked to the carboy (instructions were followed but some details were left out here for brevity).

After another 2 weeks the SG was about 0.99 and the wine was racked back into the primary fermenter. Chemicals were added per instructions and the wine was degassed with one of those whip and drill type deals. I spent more time degassing than the instructions recommended trying to make sure the process was adequate. The wine was then racked back into the carboy. After another 2 weeks the wine was bottled at SG 0.99.

My guess is that the degassing process was not adequate. I say this because the wine seems to foam some. Also a couple of times a newly opened bottle spit the stopper out sometime during the night.

Would a poor degassing process explain all of this including the poor taste and smell?

Would removing the wine from the bottles, properly degassing, and rebottling save this batch? Or is it more likely this batch is destined for the nearest drain.

Would one of those all in one pumps (or what ever they are called) make degassing easier and better?

Comments are appreciated.
 

my wine

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I say this because the wine seems to foam some. Also a couple of times a newly opened bottle spit the stopper out sometime during the night.
Hard to say for sure but it seems that your wine is still fermenting. But you say you added the chemicals 2 weeks after secondary fermentation (three weeks total fermenting time). I've made several different brand wine kits but not Master Vintner so I'm not familiar with those particular instructions. But they are all about the same.

Exactly what chemicals did you add?
 

JohnRingo

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Looking at notes and instructions: added yeast nutrient around day 4, added potassium metabisulfite, kieselsol, chitosan, and potassium sorbate around day 20. These all came in the kit.

Thanks,
 

G259

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I'm going to say to let it age. I am going to try my first kit (Wild Grapes Chardonnay), and it says that you can drink it after 8 weeks. No, I think I'll wait it out to closer to a year, they WANT a faster turn around, so you buy another kit sooner (I believe). Any other insights would be helpful here.
I have been making Country wines for 3-4 years, and ageing a wine usually helps it.
 
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G259

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Note: This is a white wine, and an earlier time probably is appropriate (yay!) So, 7-8 months would probably do.
 

winemaker81

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@JohnRingo, I'm going to assume the 3 SG readings you mentioned are 1.090, 1.000, and 0.990. When listing SG, use 3 significant digits as it makes the reading explicitly clear. I've seen confusion in quite a few threads regarding the SG reading -- use of 3 digits helps reduce that.

If the final reading was 0.990, the wine was done fermenting. The rule of thumb is if the SG is 0.998 or lower and the SG has not changed for 3 days, fermentation is done. Grape wines typically have a final SG between 0.990 and 0.996. Fruit wines are sometimes a bit higher, but not much. If you let the wine bulk age (see below), the wine being only 99% done won't matter.

It sounds like you degassed properly -- a drill mounted stirring rod needs less duration than the kit instructions specify to do the job, and you did more. Foaming during stirring is expected. How long did the wine rest after degassing & adding fining agents? Typically, you need an absolutely minimum of 2 weeks before bottling, and even with the "4 week" kits, longer is better.

The wine continuing to foam sounds like malolactic fermentation, malic acid being converted to lactic acid via bacteria. This is a good thing in red wines, but doesn't typically occur in kits. However, it is a possible explanation.

If you have CO2 in the wine, that will alter the flavor. Pour a tall glass 1/3 full and stir it well with a spoon, then let it set for an hour. Taste it and compare to unstirred wine. If the stirred wine tastes better, you have the most likely answer.

A few tips:

1) Kit instructions during fermentation are guidelines -- your hydrometer tells you when fermentation is complete, not the calendar. for kits, most on this forum rack between 1.010 and 0.996.

2) Kit time frames after fermentation are minimum values. Longer is often better. I recommend waiting a minimum of 3 months from the start to bottle a wine, even if the instructions say 4 weeks..

3) Let the wine age. While wine is fully drinkable at the end of fermentation, it's not going to taste good. Most on this forum agree with @G259 -- wine needs aging. Other than quality check samples *, I don't open reds for 1 year. Some whites are drinkable at 6 months, but most get better with a bit more age.

4) Unless you have significant sediment in the bottles, I would not unbottle them. If stirring helps with the taste, as you open each one, decant it, give it a stir, and let it breathe for an hour. However, if you see corks being pushed out of the bottles, you have too much pressure and need to unbottle, else you'll end up with wine on the floor.


* Taste your wine at every racking, just a splash in a glass. After bottling, taste every 1 to 3 months, recording notes.

This teaches you about aging and how it affects wine, especially if you compare notes regarding a wine tasted during the first year or two. Some folks bottle in splits (375 ml bottles) and use those as tasting samples.
 
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Old Corker

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After only doing WE and RJS kits for 3 years I have tried a couple of the Master Vintner's brand kits recently. Both are reds, one has fermented to dry and is bulk aging for about a month. The other is almost done (1.010) and will likely get racked this weekend. One was the Wine Makers Select (10L) and the other was the premium Sommelier Select (16L) . I added a cup of currants and 1 tbsp of wine tannin to each. I haven't experienced any off tastes or smells but do think they are a little thinner than the other brands I've done. Especially the Wine Maker's Select. I'm definitely not thinking about pouring them down the drain but may not make them again. Time will tell. One difference with these kits is that they do not include any bentonite. They are a little cheaper than the WE/RJS but not that much cheaper so if I don't like them as much a probably won't venture that way again.
 

JohnRingo

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After degassing, the wine sat for right at 14 days before bottling. I'll try the degas in a glass comparison suggestion that you recommended soon. Thank you all for your responses.
 

Handy Turnip

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I'm going to say to let it age. I am going to try my first kit (Wild Grapes Chardonnay), and it says that you can drink it after 8 weeks. No, I think I'll wait it out to closer to a year, they WANT a faster turn around, so you buy another kit sooner (I believe). Any other insights would be helpful here.
I have been making Country wines for 3-4 years, and ageing a wine usually helps it.
Yes, you're right they do want you to buy another kit - but that said, whites generally are very drinkable after 8 weeks. I bottle mine after 8 weeks normally to free up carboy space, and at that point they are better than an £8-£10 bottle I could buy. So at that point I enjoy the journey of the wine over the coming months, making sure I hold back at least 5 bottles so that I can work out ultimately where the peak of the wine is (which then informs me when to drink the majority if I make again).
 

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