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Help with first batch of wine

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jkruer01

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Hello,

I plan on making a Blueberry Wine as my first batch of wine. I found the following recipe:
Blueberry 13 lbs.
Sugar 11 lbs.
Yeast Nurtient N/A
Yeast Energizer 1 tbsp
Pectic Enzyme 3/4 tsp
Acid Blend 2 tbsp
Wine Tannin N/A
Yeast Montrachet
I was also going to use the following instructions that I found:
THE 7 EASY STEPS TO HOME WINE MAKING


Prepare the wine making produce by cutting up larger fruit, busting skins on smaller fruit, chopping up fruits such as raisins, and bruising any produce like ginger root, etc. Also, any large pits should be removed. It is also important to understand that you can over-process the produce. Food processors, blenders and such should not be used for this purpose. Doing so will cause too much bitterness from the skin and seeds of the produce to be incorporated into the resulting wine.
Stir together all of the wine making ingredients called for, EXCEPT for the YEAST, into a primary fermenter. Collect any pulp in a fermentation bag and submerge the bag into the wine making mixture. Add water to equal the batch to 5 gallons. The Campden Tablets should be crushed up before adding. Do not add the wine yeast at this point in the process. Adding the wine yeast at the same time you add the Campden Tablets will only result in destroying the yeast.

Cover the fermenter with a thin, clean towel and wait 24 hours. If no Campden Tablets are called for in the particular recipe you are making then you can omit this waiting period. During this waiting period the Campden Tablets are sterilizing the juice with a mild sulfur gas. After 24 hours the gas leaves the container making it then safe to add the wine yeast.

Sprinkle the wine making yeast over the surface of the juice and then cover with a thin, clean towel. Allow this mixture (must) to ferment for 5 to 7 days. You should start to see some foaming activity within 24 hours of adding the yeast. Typically, 70% of the fermentation activity will occur during this 5 to 7 day period.

After 5 to 7 days remove the pulp from the fermenter and discard. Siphon the wine into a secondary fermenter in a careful manner, so as to leave the sediment behind. You can easily remove the pulp by lifting out the fermentation bag. Wring out any excess juice from the bag. Siphon the wine off the sediment without stirring it up. Get as much liquid as you can, even it some of the sediment comes with it. If necessary, add water back to 5 gallons.

Attach a wine making air-lock and fill it approximately half-way with water. Allow the juice to ferment for an additional 4-6 week period or until it becomes completely clear. You may want to verify with your hydrometer that the fermentation has completed before continuing on to step 7. The hydrometer should read between 0.990 and 0.998 on the Specific Gravity scale. Be sure to give the wine plenty of time to clear up before bottling.

Once the wine has cleared completely, siphon it off of the sediment again. Stir in 5 Campden Tables that have been crushed and then bottle. When siphoning off the sediment, unlike the first time you siphoned the wine, you want to leave all of the sediment behind, even if you lose a little wine.
Since I have no idea what I am doing, I have no idea if these are good instructions/recipes or not. If you have ideas/suggestions on how I should improve the process/recipe I would really appreciate it!

Thanks!
Jeremy
 

non-grapenut

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I have noticed with my blueberry wines that NO tannin is needed...maybe the skins do it all...not sure. Break a leg...though, for a 1st recipe, it's best to start out small, like 1 gallon worth to help build your confidence...it's easier to rack, etc.
 

MN-winer

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Good for you to start out with a tough fruit!! I did a gallon of Blueberry last year. Keep in mind it is notoriously slow to start fermenting. I eventually had to add some raisens and do a starter to get my yeast going after 3 days of nothing. Personally I would start with something easier like frozen concentrate, but have at it.

Good luck!!
 

Sacalait

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Blueberries are sometimes tough to get started but well worth the time. For a 5gal batch I'd use no less than 17#'s of blueberries and run them through a food processor. Add 6tsp. yeast nutrient, 6tsp. acid blend, 1 1/4tsp. yeast energizer, and 32oz. red grape juice concentrate, 7#'s sugar or enough to bring the SG to 1.085. Total batch size should be 5 1/2gals for a finish of 5gals.
 

jkruer01

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Well, two nights ago, I set my blueberries out in my primary to let them thaw. Yesterday, I added all of the ingredients to my primary according to the recipe that was recommended here. Tonight I rehydrated my yeast and added it to my primary. My beginning gravity was 1.080. Now, it is just a matter of time.

I do have a question though. Some places I read recommended stirring the wine every couple of days and pushing the fruit back down into the mix. Should I do this or no? I worry about oxidizing the wine if I were to do this. What are your recommendations?

Thanks!
Jeremy
 

Wade E

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Yes you should punch down the cap(push the fruit under the liquid to keep it all wet so as it doesnt go bad being exposed to 02 too long. It will also help the pectic enzyme extract the color and flavor from those berries as being out of the must it wont have contact with them and also some yeast cells will get caught on top of the fruit so you want to make sure it makes is way into the must. 1.080 is a great sg to have to start so everything is well. You dont have to wrry at all about oxidation at this time as its actually beneficial at this time as the yeast needs lots of 02 for it to multiply properly and also during fermentation it will be loaded with C02 which will protect your wine also. During primary fermentation it is actually advisable to leave the top open for the must to get lots of air, some people just put a cloth over the top so that lots of 02 can get in there but no bugs or rodents can.
 

jkruer01

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Ok, so it has been 7 days since I added the yeast. I have been punching the cap down several times a day. I used a wine thief to take a sample and measure the specific gravity. The sg was .992. I poured the sample from the thief into a wine glass. The color is very very dark and opaque. I could hardly see the hydrometer in the thief. I tasted the wine and it was slightly effervescent and had a very tart flavor. Definitely not a pleasurable taste by any means.

So do I add metabisulfite and then rack to secondary now?

Is it supposed to have a tart flavor?

Does my sg sound right?

Any advice/comments/suggestions?

Thanks!
Jeremy
 

Tom

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Its time to rack . I would then wait for a week and test again. The bubbles may be just traped gas. Then take a gravity reading.
 

Tom

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At this point it will be tart. You should be able to taste flavor since your wine went dry. If you are looking for sweetness then you need to backsweeten after adding meta and sorbate.
 

jkruer01

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Thanks, I'm not looking for sweetness, I like a dry wine but this wasn't a dry wine taste, it was different, the only way I can think of describing it is tart. I didn't really expect it to taste good because afterall, if it was ready to drink after 1 week then why would you wait until 1 year to drink it.

Which, brings up another question, during the aging process, what exactly is happening to the wine? Once you add the meta that stops the fermenting process doesn't it? So, what changes are occuring to the wine during this time while it is in the secondary fermentation vessel? How does the flavor change?

Thanks!
Jeremy
 

jdeere5220

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My understanding is that different acids and tannins in the wine are combining and forming new molecules. So it's not a fermentation process any longer, its a chemical/molecular chain process. That's one reason they don't want the wine to be disturbed, because you can actually break these long chains that are forming.

Disclaimer- The above might be pure BS that I'm just repeating. :hug
 

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