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Getting back into it - Another guy in PA

Wine Making Talk

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Hoxviii

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Hi all,

I've made wine in the past, and in the last couple months have really gotten back into it. I'd call myself well beyond a beginner, but no where near advanced or an expert - there's so much good information out there that it's getting hard to screw up any more :)

In the scheme of things I mainly do fruit wines from fresh or frozen. There are so many good grape wines that I can't really justify the effort, but for fruits it's definitely worth it.

I'm a third-generation wine tinkerer, so I came into the hobby well equipped (two presses, crusher, carboys, airlocks, hydrometer, bottles, and a wine journal going back to the '30s). this really lets me focus on making a better product instead of fretting over supplies.

I'm just south of Pittsburgh and am here to take full advantage of the knowledge base, and hopefully be able to provide input to others on their journey to a nice wine :)

Big press


Last batch partially bottled


Raspberry from fresh fruit ran last september and just coming around for drinking
 

jburtner

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Wine journal back to the 30's. that sounds v.cool and I hope you can add some notes and recipes to it for next generations.

Good luck and cheers!
-johann
 

Hoxviii

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Wine journal back to the 30's. that sounds v.cool and I hope you can add some notes and recipes to it for next generations.

Good luck and cheers!
-johann
that's the goal; to produce a book of well documented and well reproducible results. My SO is a trained lab biologist, so our notes are particular and our measurements are run 3 times for verification.

we're doing our first recipe replication/scale-up, and so far all of our estimated numbers for the 5 gallon batch have been dead on from our initial 1-gallon batch. the first batch was great, so we'll see how good our notes really are once the second batch comes around! (it's sitting in a pretty intense secondary right now, and the whole room smells like fermenting cherries - it's fantastic.)
 

bkisel

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Welcome to WMT!

So you use the press in making some of your fruit wines? I do fruit wines also but just cut, freeze, thaw and mesh bag. Squeezing and pectin enzyme in primary gets the good stuff out.
 

Hoxviii

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Welcome to WMT!

So you use the press in making some of your fruit wines? I do fruit wines also but just cut, freeze, thaw and mesh bag. Squeezing and pectin enzyme in primary gets the good stuff out.
Yes, I press for fruit wines. It gives me an idea of how much juice the fruit is going to yield to make a better water addition estimate.

So i'll press, measure volume, then add water to my target yield and do all of my adjustments, then throw the solids back in (in a mesh bag) and pitch yeast.

That raspberry in the first post was pressed, primaried, then pressed the mesh bag lightly, sent to secondary, and allowed to clear before bottling. no pectic enzyme, no clearing agents, just time - it sat in secondary a month and cleared right out.
 

bkisel

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Yes, I press for fruit wines. It gives me an idea of how much juice the fruit is going to yield to make a better water addition estimate.

So i'll press, measure volume, then add water to my target yield and do all of my adjustments, then throw the solids back in (in a mesh bag) and pitch yeast.

That raspberry in the first post was pressed, primaried, then pressed the mesh bag lightly, sent to secondary, and allowed to clear before bottling. no pectic enzyme, no clearing agents, just time - it sat in secondary a month and cleared right out.
That's awesome! Looks like you've got a great process/methodology for making your fruit wines.

What is the advantage of putting the solids in as opposed to just adding them to the compost pile? I'm thinking that with pressing you're still getting pulp in the juice, no?
 

Hoxviii

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That's awesome! Looks like you've got a great process/methodology for making your fruit wines.

What is the advantage of putting the solids in as opposed to just adding them to the compost pile? I'm thinking that with pressing you're still getting pulp in the juice, no?

Because it's what I do, but it depends. For raspberry i primaried on the solids just to try to get more color. Did it? No idea, but it makes me feel better.

I'll pull the solids out when going to secondary and referment the solids with half the water to make a seconds wine. The solids having active yeast from the primary keeps it cooking along when i add more sugar water.
 

geek

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That raspberry wine looks very nice, do you back sweeten and if so how much?
 

Hoxviii

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That raspberry wine looks very nice, do you back sweeten and if so how much?
Without backsweetening the raspberry would have been undrinkable, wayyy too tart.

It's sweetened to taste using a peach juice concentrate at around 8 parts wine:1 part concentrate. I don't like saying exactly how much i sweeten since everyone's tastes vary so much, as do sweetening methods but i will say it isn't a sweet wine. More off-dry - just enough to take the super tart bite off of the front.
 

geek

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peach juice concentrate, interesting combination.
 

Hoxviii

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peach juice concentrate, interesting combination.
Every time I make wine, the first question is "what do i want this to taste like", so before anything I decide what I'm going to backsweeten with. It's almost always a juice concentrate, but the idea is to complement your main flavor with the flavor of the sweetener.

raspberry peach; awesome. blueberry apple; awesome. pomegranate grape; too close to one another (or i didn't add enough water - port like), cherry apple and cherry white grape; awesome.

It's all about deciding your goal and working towards it, from yeast to fruit, to sweetening. They all tie back in together.
 
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