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RichBrewer

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Hey there.
I'm a long time home beer brewer who has been kicking around the idea of making wine for quite some time. I would like some advice on how to proceed. I would think that I've got most of the equipment to make wine but maybe there are some specialty things I don't have. What are the basic things needed to get started?
Also, can anyone recommend a good wine kit for my first attempt?
Thanks!
 

kc_lupo

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Your first wine that would be easy to make is 100% juice concentrate. Check out your local grocery store's froze juice section. Pick any juice that is 100% juice and has no preservatives. The great part is that you can get your feet wet in wine making without a wine press (which costs around $300.00 for a decent one). I use old orchard juices

 
C

conboss

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Hey there.
I'm a long time home beer brewer who has been kicking around the idea of making wine for quite some time. I would like some advice on how to proceed. I would think that I've got most of the equipment to make wine but maybe there are some specialty things I don't have. What are the basic things needed to get started?
Also, can anyone recommend a good wine kit for my first attempt?
Thanks!
I think that a kit wine is the best way to start you get step-by-step instructions. You already have the skills you just need to learn a new procedure.
Winexpert is a good kit wine, I've done 3 and had good results.

Greg
 

RichBrewer

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I think that a kit wine is the best way to start you get step-by-step instructions. You already have the skills you just need to learn a new procedure.
Winexpert is a good kit wine, I've done 3 and had good results.

Greg
Thanks!
I think I will hint around and see if I can get a kit for Christmas.
 

RichBrewer

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Your first wine that would be easy to make is 100% juice concentrate. Check out your local grocery store's froze juice section. Pick any juice that is 100% juice and has no preservatives. The great part is that you can get your feet wet in wine making without a wine press (which costs around $300.00 for a decent one). I use old orchard juices

I've actually thought about that but to me it seemed like the boons farm approach. Do those juices actually make decent wine or cider?
 

smurfe

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Wine Expert makes great kits. I have made around 30 of them with out a failure or disappointment. Go for the 15 liter kits if possible. makes a much better wine. Just remember though that most beer equipment like carboys are 5 gallon and wine kits make 6 gallons meaning a different size carboy is needed. Also, it is not recommended to use a beer fermenter to ferment wine or vice versa as the aromas of each leech into the plastic and can be transfered back and forth.

Smurfe
 
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A kit is usually the best way to start. You should probably pick a style of wine that you already know you like the first time. Also, don't use the same plastic bucket for beer and wine, the wine may pick up any beer aromas in the plastic. Glass can be used for both.

Another good thing about kits is they come with all the additives you need.

Hope this helps
 

RichBrewer

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I've actually have 6 1/2 gallon glass carboys so I should be good to go. As a matter of fact, If I get a wine kit like I have been hinting about for Christmas I might go buy another carboy.
Thanks for the info!
 

Luc

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I've actually have 6 1/2 gallon glass carboys so I should be good to go. As a matter of fact, If I get a wine kit like I have been hinting about for Christmas I might go buy another carboy.
Thanks for the info!
You certainly have the right attitude for a winemaker: patience :)
You started this thread in october and now it is december , and you still have not started fermenting anything that is what I call patience and that is what I winemaker needs most. :rolleyes:

Peronally I stick to what someone once mentioned on another forum:
There is nothing so depressing as an empty carboy.

Luc
 

RichBrewer

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You certainly have the right attitude for a winemaker: patience :)
You started this thread in october and now it is december , and you still have not started fermenting anything that is what I call patience and that is what I winemaker needs most. :rolleyes:

Peronally I stick to what someone once mentioned on another forum:
There is nothing so depressing as an empty carboy.

Luc
I've done a couple batches of beer so my fermemters have been busy.

I would have started the wine sooner except those kits are expensive. I've got a pretty good idea that I'm getting one though. I was talking about one of the guys at the home brew shop and my wife knew who I was talking about. She supposedly has never been there before.:D
Keeps fingers crossed.
 

RichBrewer

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Whoo Hoo! I got my kit for Christmas. It's a Winexpert Selection Estate Series White Zinfandel.
Now I have some questions.

The directions say I need a 30 Liters/ 8 gallon fermenter. When I talked to the guy at the home brew shop he said I didn't need a special fermenter. I've got a 6 1/2 gallon carboy. Is this big enough or am I going to need to get a bigger primary?

The directions also say I need a 6 gallon carboy for the clarification stage and I need to fill the carboy with water or a similar wine to within 2" of the bung. Is this normal?

Everyone told me that wine was easier than beer but the directions make me think that it is involved and I don't have all the equipment I need.
Any comments would be appreciated.!
 

cpfan

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RichBrewer:

Congratulations...should be a very good blush wine.

I prefer using a 46 litre (12 US gallon) primary. A smaller primary would be OK but I would recommend against using a carboy.

The instructions are definitely normal, even though many do not follow the topping up unless planning to age in carboy for a length of time.

What is easier wine or beer? Have you been making beer from scratch (boiling, cooling, etc?)? If so, then wine is easier. Have you made beer from a wort kit (Brewhouse, Brewers Spring, Barons, ...)? Then beer is much easier. Otherwise it's point of view.

You might wish to visit winepress.us. There is a first timer's thread 'sticky'd' in the Kit Wines Discussion Forum.

Steve
 

RichBrewer

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A smaller primary would be OK but I would recommend against using a carboy.
Why is that? Will I be OK if I get a large plastic bucket for the primary?

The instructions are definitely normal, even though many do not follow the topping up unless planning to age in carboy for a length of time.
How long can I age if I don't top off? Can I purge the head space with CO2?

What is easier wine or beer? Have you been making beer from scratch (boiling, cooling, etc?)? If so, then wine is easier. Have you made beer from a wort kit (Brewhouse, Brewers Spring, Barons, ...)? Then beer is much easier. Otherwise it's point of view.
From where I am beer is harder on the first day. I 'm an all grain brewer so it takes me about 5 or more hours to get the wort into the fermenter. There seems to be more to do with wine after primary fermentation. It doesn't seem too complicated just more steps. I can't wait to get started!
You might wish to visit winepress.us. There is a first timer's thread 'sticky'd' in the Kit Wines Discussion Forum..
Thanks! I'll check it out and thank you for the fast friendly reply.
Cheers,
Rich
 

smurfe

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With that kit you could probably get by with the 6.5 gallon bucket but you will be cutting it close. I have made that kit many times and it is low foaming during fermentation. In regards to the carboy and injecting CO2, I know nothing about that.

Basically you top up when the SG gets to a certain point per kit instructions. First you stabilize and degass. After you have stabilized you have topped fermentation and there will be no production of CO2 to blanket the wine from oxidation. You drive off the CO2 by degassing to eliminate the fizziness in the wine and drive of the odors the wine will hold from the CO2.

As I said, I know nothing about injecting CO2 into the carboy but it still seems like it is defeating the purpose of degassing the wine. I have heard wine makers say they do it though. If you only have a 6.5 gallon carboy you could add up to one liter of water and then finishing topping up with a cheap commercial White Zin but that will add up in cost.

I can still only recommend that if you feel you will enjoy making wine to invest in the proper equipment. It is not recommended to ferment wine in the same primary beer is fermented in. Is your 6.5 gallon carboy a primary fermentation device or a secondary device? If you do not have a plastic fermenter bucket, you really should get one. They are fairly cheap and a 6 gallon carboy is fairly cheap.

If you have to rack a kit and only have one carboy you can rack to the primary bucket, clean the carboy and rack back to the carboy. I do this all the time when I am short on carboys. BTW, if you like White Zin, you picked a fantastic kit. This wine will be a darker color than the average commercial White Zin and much more flavorful.

Smurfe :)

 

RichBrewer

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smurfe,
I wasn't thinking about injecting the wine with CO2 just purging the head space. I figure this will drive out any oxygen and keep a layer of CO2 over the wine to protect it.
I'm thinking about making due with what I have now and see how I like wine making. Someone suggested to me that I can place sanitized marbles in the carboy to take up space. I might give that a try.
I'm going to the store this morning to see what they have.

Oh-by the way, those wines are beautiful! Wow!
 

Todd

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Smure that does look good.

Does anyone know how much fluid the 6 gallon carboy holds? My 5 gallon carboys actually hold about 5 gallons and 1.25 quarts. Is it the same with the 6 gallon?
 

RichBrewer

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I really like the clear bottle. It shows off your wine. Is there any disadvantage to clear. I'm used to beer where everything has to be in brown bottles to keep it from getting skunky.
 

RichBrewer

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OK. It's in a 6 1/2 gallon carboy. I'm going to take my chances. The SG is 1.090. Is this about right for a WZ?
The only problem I had was I didn't shake it up enough at first and the gravity was low (1.068). After I Really shook it I got 1.090.

That was very easy!
 

cpfan

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I really like the clear bottle. It shows off your wine. Is there any disadvantage to clear. I'm used to beer where everything has to be in brown bottles to keep it from getting skunky.
All beer & wine should be stored in the DARK. I don't know if brown beer bottles are actually dark enough. Since I store wine & beer in closed storage (often just boxes), the colour of the glass dosn't matter.

Steve
 

smurfe

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OK. It's in a 6 1/2 gallon carboy. I'm going to take my chances. The SG is 1.090. Is this about right for a WZ?
The only problem I had was I didn't shake it up enough at first and the gravity was low (1.068). After I Really shook it I got 1.090.

That was very easy!
The SG of 1.090 is on the money. As you noticed, you had a lower SG at first. You really need to stir the juice and water to mix it all up. You can not merely dump in the water and call it good. The concentrate is much more viscous and will not blend well with the water without a little help.

In regards to the sanitized marbles, that is the route I would go and I totally forgot to mention that in a previous post. That is a common tool many of my wine making acquaintances use. If purging the head space with CO2 works and will not mix with the wine, I say go for it. I have heard of it done but as I said, it goes against everything I have been taught. I have always been taught to get rid of all of the CO2 at the appropriate time. It will leave an off flavor in the wine.

I have never used a carboy for a primary with a kit wine. I have a couple times with a Mead but will never do that again due to all of the foaming. I am sure you will like this wine if you follow the directions. The White Zin in my picture is the particular kit you are making and one of the favorites I have made. I don't care for it as I like very dry wines but everyone else raves about it. I received a true compliment today from a local commercial vineyard/winery owner that he likes my White Zin as well as anything he makes in his own winery. Keep us posted on the progress and feel free to ask all the questions you need. We are here to help.

Smurfe :)
 
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