First time wine from juice

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JPVagabond

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Hello everyone. I'm new here and new to wine making.

I'm starting out with an experiment to test the water and see how I go. I have a few questions regarding my specific situation. I've had a look through previous posts to see if I could piece together an answer but I've not had much luck. I was hoping you could help.

Long boring story made short but still boring:

Wife bought me a beginners wine making kit including all basic equipment and concentrate.

Got cancer didn't use kit or concentrate.

Cancer went away. Now stuck indoors. Want wine. Have kit.

My issues are as follows:

1. The best before date on the concentrate is 2014. I know it's a 'best before' date not 'use by' but I don't really want waste 3-4 weeks of my life making poison. I contacted the manufacturer who said not to use it. But Would appreciate thoughts.

2. As a new plan A (concentrate is now plan B) I have bought cartons of juice from the supermarket. 3 Grape, 1 Pomegranate and 1 Cranberry/Raspberry.
They don't contain preservatives. They do contain sweetener. When buying I thought 'no added sugar' was a good idea. I'd failed to consider that that means it's got a healthy dose of sucralose in there.
I need to know what kind of affect this will have on my mix and my future wine.
Sucralose won't ferment, but obviously I need adequate sugar to result in a suitable abv.
Will sucralose affect the specific gravity? If so do I need to make any adjustments to the caculation? And/or will I end up with a very sweet wine because I've got sweetness that won't go anywhere?


3. I have ordered more yeast just incase but I wasn't sure if yeast would expire. I plan to give the old yeast a test run head start in a little bit of warm juice to see how he goes. If it is alive is it fine to use?


4. The yeast I have comes with a tiny little unlabelled tablet. I have no idea what this is. Any ideas? Some kind of steriliser or campden tablet? Nutrient maybe? It simply says 'not to be taken, keep out if reach of children, see carton for instruction'. (No idea what carton, I have no carton).

A few other questions I have are: I have finings and stabiliser from 2014 too. Do these expire? Are they vital?
Do I need yeast nutrient? Does black tea and lemon juice work? I've heard that helps add tanins and bite so two birds one stone? Do I need Campden tablets? What is stabiliser? Is it necessary?

Thank you in advance. I'm hoping your experience will help me get to grips with this.

JPV
 

sour_grapes

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Welcome to WMT.

I don't know what kind of wine kit you got. However, my instinct is to go ahead and ferment the kit (from concentrate) as Plan A. It will not be "poison." Worst case is that it does not taste as good as it should. But I wouldn't be surprised if it is every bit as good as it was intended to be.

I would plan on using fresh yeast. I have no idea what this tablet would be.

I think the finings should be fine. If you are making a dry wine, you do not need stabilizer. Generally, "stabilizer" means something to keep yeast from reproducing; usually this is potassium sorbate, and this has a limited shelf life. Again, you don't need this unless you are planning to sweeten the wine after fermenting.

For a kit, you don't need to add any yeast nutrient. You would benefit from having either Campden tablets or powdered potassium metabisulfite. These are the same thing (in different forms) and keep your wine microbially stable and unoxidized while aging.
 

sour_grapes

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Oh, and here is my suggestion for the sucralose-laden juices: Add to glass over ice on hot summer day, add vodka or rum, put your feet up and rejoice in beating the big C! :hug
 

JPVagabond

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Hello and thanks for the advice. To be honest I'll probably end up doing both now since I have them. It doesn't say how much sucralose is in there, it might be minimal. It's just an experiment after all. How bad could it be?

I've asked the manufacturer about the tablet but I haven't heard back yet. I'll likely disregard it.

Fyi it was a youngs definitive elderberry wine kit. Although that has a packet of yeast inside it. So this yeast and tablet could well be from a different kit. (I was also bought a much more basic kit at the same time).

Thanks again
 

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