Fontana Merlot With Tweaks

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Jul 25, 2016
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Inspired by Joeswine's thread I started my merlot tonight and thought I'd share the steps I took.

1. Dissolve bentonite in warm water until completely smooth
2. Add juice from kit
3. Rinse juice bag with warm water to get residual juice.
4. *Added 1 cup of raisins
5. *Added 1 cup toasted oak
6. *Filled bucket to 5 gallons
7. Took Og: 1.108 (13 -14% potential)
8. Sprinkled yeast

Plans for secondary (when SG is 1.000 or lower)
- add 1 tbs tannins
- add 16oz blackberries

* for anything that deviated from the kits directions

Have pictures but I think they are oversized or something. Won't upload.
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And a bonus picture of our cat. How I will hopefully feel after a glass or 4 of this when its finished.

Good luck and keep us posted.

But I fail to understand how the practice of adding oxidized fruit to a wine ever got any traction.
Good luck and keep us posted.

But I fail to understand how the practice of adding oxidized fruit to a wine ever got any traction.

Could you elaborate on this? The raisins are considered an "oxidized fruit"? What affect does that have when introduced to the must?
Good luck and keep us posted.

But I fail to understand how the practice of adding oxidized fruit to a wine ever got any traction.

I understand your concern. But, you aren't adding a 100 pounds, just a cup or so. I never taste the currents...but I think the wine gains something from the skins and from the bit of added sugar. I have missed them when I tried it without.

I think it is the Amarone style wine that also uses dried or partly dried grapes in it's not a completely off the wall idea.
I definitely believe everyone has to figure out what they like and don't like for themselves...what works for them and the people they share their wine with. That being said... I'm with stressbaby. I'll only add raisins to a wine that I want to taste like raisins. I'll add a couple of peeled bananas to a fruit wine or other concoction, to give it some mouthfeel and "stuff" for the yeast to munch on. But that's because most if not all of it will blow off because the flavor comes mainly from aromatics. I've found that raisins add a particular flavor, especially after a few years of aging, that to me comes across as prunes. Everyone tastes differently, so this is just my experience with adding raisins to wine.

I think the addition of the oak, blackberry, and tannin will provide big benefits and a really enjoyable wine. I've had a few red kits with blackberry additions, and they've been outstanding.

I feel bad we've gone off a little on a tangent. I'm sure your wine will be delicious Ambugaton, and glad your cat seems to approve.
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Just wanted to give an update so far... things have not gone as planned necessarily and I did some improvising that may or may not turn out. We shall see. Still have pretty high hopes for this.

So to begin... after I pitched the yeast I had to leave town for 6 days. Wasn't happy about that but when I got home it had fermented dry to .992. I decided to rack it into secondary last night and like an idiot I started racking it into a 6 gal carboy (only 5 gal batch). In order to free up my 5 gal I would have had to do a lot of shifting around that I didn't have time for so I decided on the following:

- Racked to 6 gal carboy
- Added 18oz blackberry fpac
- Added 1 TBS tannins
- Topped up with 1 box of Bota Box Merlot (Approx. 4 bottles)
- Still had some room so I topped it off further with 2 bottles of a recent batch of dragon's blood

So this is not ideal... and if this was a more expensive kit I would not have even considered taking these steps. But hey... who knows... maybe this will turn out delicious.

Thanks for the info and responses above. I will try some banana on my next batch of dragon's blood as I feel it needs a bit more body/mouthfeel.
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Reserve Du Chateau Kit (approx.. $55.00 off

Kate’s Chilean Cabernet Merlot

This is an fairly inexpensive kit we purchased off Amazon. We used Amazon Prime and the shipping was free and arrived in 2 days! (Yes!)
Contents of the kit: All the usual suspects
Our tweeks:
Oak cubes in the primary
Homemade blackberry F-pak
1 ball jar simple syrup (brought our SG up to 1.092 from 1.082)
We will be adding powdered oak tannins to the secondary
Please see the pictures below for the process.

Reserve Du Chateau Kit (approx.. $55.00 off


7 boosted sg.jpg

8 ph reading.jpg




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