flat taste from juice buckets

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8 year veteran
Nov 25, 2012
Reaction score
West MI
I've made a Chilean Zin (last spring) and two Cali Pinot Noirs (Fall 2016) that have very little flavor. My process was simple, I added some tannin and RC 212 and eventually some oak cubes. I did not check acid content but wondered if acid is what's lacking. Any thoughts?

In my experience that may be typical from using juice buckets, unless you add some sort of grape pack right at the beginning.

Next time you make a juice bucket, for example now in Spring, try to buy an 18lbs. lug of grapes, de-stem and crush by hand and add at the beginning before pitching the yeast. It won't be as good as making wine from only grapes but it will definitely be better wine than plain juice bucket wine.
End result remains ,, "Whatever your tastebuds are happy with!"... I've been using Juice Buckets for some time, simply because they are less labor intensive and are satisfactory for my less-than-haute taste buds at reasonable pricing!!! I too have learned some tweaking tricks to compensate for the occasional lower than usual juice quality. Some distributors have offered their juices pre-adjusted and pre-inoculated but it doesn't hurt to check them. Customizing yeasts can prove to be a very effective enhancement. Post fermentation science/chemistry works the same as if using grapes or high end kits. :b
your acid is the culprit.do a bench trial as follows. dissolve 10mg of tartaric acid in 100ml of water. establish wine sample of 100ml about 2 or 3. add one ml of acid solution to first, two mil to second etc. do taste tests. each ml of solution is equal to one mg/liter in the base wine.
I did 18 gallons of Merlot Chilean juice from last year and so far it is very good. I haven't bottled yet but ive been tasting and im very happy with it so far, and I'm hoping it will only get better! The year before i did the same but only 1 bucket. That bucket came out good too but so far the 18 gallon batch seems much better. There is also more of a fruit taste in this batch, which i like. Someone told me the fruit taste means it is still young.

I used the same yeast both times, RC 212. But the 18 gallon batch i used Go ferm and fermaid k during primary. I also think think it went through malo, but not positive. Im thinking about using a malo culture this year to give it a try.

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