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FentonCellars

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Hi all, this is Eric from Essex Junction, Vermont. I've started making my own Vintners Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Wine Kit in my basement. I bought a complete kit purchased in Winooski at Vermont Homebrew Supply. FYI, this is the only beer/wine brewery supply store in the state that I know of.

I'm also building a custom wine cellar with a wine rack I bought from beer-wine.com. Link below:

http://www.beer-wine.com/category_page.asp?categoryID=113&sectionID=2

I also am hoping to buy some Oak Barrels also for look only. I'm hoping that I can get some used ones at a local winery in VT. If not, then I will buy new.
 

smurfe

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Welcome Eric. Good luck with your wine kit. You might try adding some extra oak in the secondary for that particular kit for some extra body and mouth feel. The VR Cab kit is a bit on the thin side. I made one and added extra oak and it came out very good. Not as good as the higher end kits but quite a nice table wine.

In regards to your barrels, do your research before you buy used. Can I ask what your plans are for them? Unless you are going to be pressing your own grapes they are really not a necessity. It is not recommended to age 6 gallon kits in barrels as the small barrels will place a larger wood to wine contact area and over oak the wine very quickly. They are romantic, but not really intended for the home wine maker. Now if you are going to do like 30 gallon batches, it is worth checking in to.

Good Luck

Smurfe :)
 

FentonCellars

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Thanks Smurfe for your post! Funny, I did add some oak chips into my wine during the secondary stage. The kit came with wood "dust" but I luckily purchased some chips from my supplier when I bought the kit. I added more during the secondary.

As for the barrels... I understand the issue with the wood to wine contact area issue, but how long are we talking here? How long would one need to have wine in the barrel for before over oaking occurs? Are we talking only 1 month or 3 months before racking back to a glass carboy?
 

smurfe

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I am not really sure on the time for the small barrels. I over oaked a wine using the oak beans after 3 weeks one time. It is a try and see thing. The real issue is the care and maintenance of the barrels compared to the cost of them. Now if you have numerous kits sitting in carboys that you can rotate through a barrel one after another, it isn't a bad idea but I have heard many talk about the barrels and have never found anyone that supports the use of a barrel under 30 gallons. It is too much work to keep the barrels properly cared for, too easy to get contamination and very easy to over oak a wine.

Smurfe
 
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