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First kit started tonight!

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Well, I finally got the time to start my very first home made wine!
I started with a Fontana Premium Merlot kit.My primary is a Big Mouth Bubbler. I followed all of the directions except instead of filling it to 6 gallons, I only took it to 5.5 gallons. The other change I made was in pitching the yeast.(EC-1118) instead of re-hydrating as the directions instructed, I simply sprinkled the yeast in on top. I also added a 1/2 cup of oak chips.
My starting SG came in high at 1.092 (directions said should be between 1.07 - 1.08) I'm guessing the lower water volume effected the SG. If I'm looking at my conversion numbers right, the Brix is 21.99 and ABV is 12.9%. Does that sound about right?
Hopefully I've done everything correctly and all will go as planned. I'm open to any and all comments, suggestions and ideas!
 

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Johnd

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Well, I finally got the time to start my very first home made wine!
I started with a Fontana Premium Merlot kit.My primary is a Big Mouth Bubbler. I followed all of the directions except instead of filling it to 6 gallons, I only took it to 5.5 gallons. The other change I made was in pitching the yeast.(EC-1118) instead of re-hydrating as the directions instructed, I simply sprinkled the yeast in on top. I also added a 1/2 cup of oak chips.
My starting SG came in high at 1.092 (directions said should be between 1.07 - 1.08) I'm guessing the lower water volume effected the SG. If I'm looking at my conversion numbers right, the Brix is 21.99 and ABV is 12.9%. Does that sound about right?
Hopefully I've done everything correctly and all will go as planned. I'm open to any and all comments, suggestions and ideas!
You’re on pretty safe ground, all air locked and covered up. Try not to spend too much time gazing blankly into the side of the Big Mouth watching the bubbles appear out of nowhere, or the bubbles burping rhythmically through the airlock, I’ve heard some people do that...........
 
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I have some tannin and considered putting some in the primary. Any thoughts if I should do that now or wait until secondary?
 

Johnd

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One of the benefits of adding tannins in primary, it that it helps bind the color in the wine. Since you’ve added oak chips, I see no reason to add tannin too, the tannins in the chips will do the job for you.

If down the road you decide you’d like a more tannic structure, there are finishing tannins made for just that purpose.
 

tjgaul

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Ditto JohnD's thoughts. Great start! I'm still hypnotized by bubbles burping through an airlock. Could watch them for hours (possible exaggeration). Next best sound to a cork emerging from a bottleneck.

Good luck. Be Patient.
 

Ajmassa

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The waiting is the hardest part. BUT... to quote your LA neighbor who once said,

“Just buy more carboys, make more wine, and overwhelm yourself to the point where your wine ages simply because you don’t have the time. Procrastinators: this is your hobby!”

I can officially say I’ve fully reached this point too.

(Quick Tip- Buy a 2nd hydromter. Because you WILL break yours. 100%)
 

Johnd

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The waiting is the hardest part. BUT... to quote your LA neighbor who once said,

“Just buy more carboys, make more wine, and overwhelm yourself to the point where your wine ages simply because you don’t have the time. Procrastinators: this is your hobby!”

I can officially say I’ve fully reached this point too.

(Quick Tip- Buy a 2nd hydromter. Because you WILL break yours. 100%)
Scott's going to have the opportunity to start where I wish that I would have, aging good kit wines in barrels. My first barrel, now neutral, is wineless, sitting in the cellar, full of sulfite water waiting for his first entry.......Lodi Ranch Cab.
 

dcbrown73

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The waiting is the hardest part. BUT... to quote your LA neighbor who once said,

“Just buy more carboys, make more wine, and overwhelm yourself to the point where your wine ages simply because you don’t have the time. Procrastinators: this is your hobby!”

I can officially say I’ve fully reached this point too.

(Quick Tip- Buy a 2nd hydromter. Because you WILL break yours. 100%)
This is what I did, then another demon of the hobby perked it head up. All those carboys lead to a lot of bottled wine.....then you have to move! Movers (at least mine) won't move liquids. It's a good thing I was only two years and 25 cases of wine (still in boxes, not in racks!!!!) into it!
 
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Scott's going to have the opportunity to start where I wish that I would have, aging good kit wines in barrels. My first barrel, now neutral, is wineless, sitting in the cellar, full of sulfite water waiting for his first entry.......Lodi Ranch Cab.
John, you're the master wine maker in our parts! I got lucky and found out how to contact you. My wife thought I was crazy for reaching out to you out of the blue. But I told her that it appeared you were passionate about the wine making and passionate people always like to discuss things they really care about! I certainly appreciate your kindness in helping out a rookie! Can't wait to get the Lodi Cab going!
 

Johnd

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John, you're the master wine maker in our parts! I got lucky and found out how to contact you. My wife thought I was crazy for reaching out to you out of the blue. But I told her that it appeared you were passionate about the wine making and passionate people always like to discuss things they really care about! I certainly appreciate your kindness in helping out a rookie! Can't wait to get the Lodi Cab going!
If you weren't a little crazy, you wouldn't be starting this hobby!! I wish I'd had someone to lean on in the beginning, and was lucky enough to find this forum, with so many knowledgeable and helpful people. They helped me take the big steps from kits by the book all the way to crushing fresh grapes and making my own wine aged in barrels.

If you want it, you're in line for the crash course, for less than the cost of an Eclipse kit, you can make 6 gallons of wine from fresh grapes this fall. This is my first year really having the supply chain on track and all of the tools needed to make it easy...............just say the word.
 

mainshipfred

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If you weren't a little crazy, you wouldn't be starting this hobby!! I wish I'd had someone to lean on in the beginning, and was lucky enough to find this forum, with so many knowledgeable and helpful people. They helped me take the big steps from kits by the book all the way to crushing fresh grapes and making my own wine aged in barrels.

If you want it, you're in line for the crash course, for less than the cost of an Eclipse kit, you can make 6 gallons of wine from fresh grapes this fall. This is my first year really having the supply chain on track and all of the tools needed to make it easy...............just say the word.
So did you get your C/D? I remember from another post you had justification. Was kind of surprised you didn't already have one. I agree, I have 2 all grape batches under my belt which are far superior to any kit or juice bucket I've made. Maybe with an occasional juice buckets it's all grape for me.
 

Kraffty

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First off, welcome to an awesome hobby/lifestyle. Second, I love reading someone's first experiences, ESPECIALLY when they've taken the time to get a little knowledge before opening the first kit up. It so improves your chances of success and in turn how great good you can become at winemaking. Lot's of good advice to be had and I'd put John D up there on the list. Keep us updated!
Mike
 

Johnd

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So did you get your C/D? I remember from another post you had justification. Was kind of surprised you didn't already have one. I agree, I have 2 all grape batches under my belt which are far superior to any kit or juice bucket I've made. Maybe with an occasional juice buckets it's all grape for me.
Selected, but not purchased just yet......
 

Boatboy24

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This is what I did, then another demon of the hobby perked it head up. All those carboys lead to a lot of bottled wine.....then you have to move! Movers (at least mine) won't move liquids. It's a good thing I was only two years and 25 cases of wine (still in boxes, not in racks!!!!) into it!
I moved 3 years ago. Never gave a thought to any movers touching my wines. I moved ~22 cases of bottled wine and 6 or 7 full carboys (barrels were emptied for transport, then refilled upon their arrival). We had the new place for about 6 weeks before we actually moved, so I did most of this ahead of time.
 
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If you weren't a little crazy, you wouldn't be starting this hobby!! I wish I'd had someone to lean on in the beginning, and was lucky enough to find this forum, with so many knowledgeable and helpful people. They helped me take the big steps from kits by the book all the way to crushing fresh grapes and making my own wine aged in barrels.

If you want it, you're in line for the crash course, for less than the cost of an Eclipse kit, you can make 6 gallons of wine from fresh grapes this fall. This is my first year really having the supply chain on track and all of the tools needed to make it easy...............just say the word.
I'd love to do that, but I'll need a lot of hand holding! If you think you can stand all of my questions and lack of skills, I'm in.
 
Joined
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First off, welcome to an awesome hobby/lifestyle. Second, I love reading someone's first experiences, ESPECIALLY when they've taken the time to get a little knowledge before opening the first kit up. It so improves your chances of success and in turn how great good you can become at winemaking. Lot's of good advice to be had and I'd put John D up there on the list. Keep us updated!
Mike
Thanks Kraffty! I was excited to find JohnD here in our little small town, I'd always had an interest in trying to make my own wine, but really wasn't motivated enough to do it. When I found out about John and approached him about asking some questions, he was open and very generous with his time (and his wine!). After spending over an hour listening to his stories and asking some questions, I knew I was going to give this a try. JohnD seems intent on continuing to help me out....so I'm going to let him!
 

mainshipfred

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I'd love to do that, but I'll need a lot of hand holding! If you think you can stand all of my questions and lack of skills, I'm in.
With not knowing you except from your posts and what appears to be your interest in gaining some knowledge before you got started I think you will be very happy with your first wine. But as John said the cost of an all grape batch is the same or cheaper then a quality kit. All grape is a little or maybe a lot more work but for me the fun in it is unmatched not to mention the quality you will get.
 
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