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How do you define age?

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Doug’s wines

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Sorry if this has been answered, but I couldn’t find it. We all talk about how old our wine is or “wait x time to drink”. When do you start that counter? While this may seem like a silly question, I have found there isn’t a clear answer as even in a group of friends we are different. Some start when they pitch the yeast (0), others when fermentation is done (+10), some when the instruction period is over (+30-42), others when they bottle(+1800-260).

My take is when fermentation is complete and the wine is below .996, although a friend just uses the day he started the kit as he doesn’t keep very detailed logs.

What do you use?
 
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Boatboy24

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The day I pitch the yeast. But the longer I'm in this hobby, the longer I'm aging my wines. So when you're talking years, a few days or even a couple months doesn't really make a difference. As you mentioned, everyone does it a little differently and there is no real standard.
 

Johnd

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Like Jim, I just use the date that yeast is pitched, whether it's a kit or grapes, and also age in years, so a few days don't make a difference. I date my bottles differently today than I did in the beginning when I was doing a lot of kits, kit bottles get dated with the month and year they were started, since you can get / start a kit any time of the year. My kit bottles have a little date at the bottom corner of the label, 6/15 would indicate a wine that was from June of 2015. Now that I just do grapes, the date is just a year, typically displayed prominently on the label, much like a commercial bottle of wine, and I know that it was either a fall wine or a spring wine based upon the wine. I know that a 2016 Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon was from Spring of 2016, and a 2016 Montsant Tempranillo or 2016 Koch Cabernet Sauvignon were from Fall of 2016. It's the same way commercial wineries date their vintages, just using a year.
 

Boatboy24

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Like Jim, I just use the date that yeast is pitched, whether it's a kit or grapes, and also age in years, so a few days don't make a difference. I date my bottles differently today than I did in the beginning when I was doing a lot of kits, kit bottles get dated with the month and year they were started, since you can get / start a kit any time of the year. My kit bottles have a little date at the bottom corner of the label, 6/15 would indicate a wine that was from June of 2015. Now that I just do grapes, the date is just a year, typically displayed prominently on the label, much like a commercial bottle of wine, and I know that it was either a fall wine or a spring wine based upon the wine. I know that a 2016 Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon was from Spring of 2016, and a 2016 Montsant Tempranillo or 2016 Koch Cabernet Sauvignon were from Fall of 2016. It's the same way commercial wineries date their vintages, just using a year.
But what about frozen must? ;)
 

balatonwine

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Most wine is aged in years as the base time frame, based on harvest time. And there is no decimal point.

But there is indeed an issue here, with kits or frozen grapes. For example, if you kept 2016 grapes in the freezer until 2017, started in Dec but finished in March, what year?

In general, I would say a one year old wine is one year, 365ish days old, after the primary was done, because only then, IMHO, is it really "wine". But others may disagree. In which case, we have slipped into the Ship of Theseus quandary.

So, frankly, I would just make a note, be transparent, and put it all on the label when the grapes were harvested, when you started and when you finished and let the drinker decide.

Ergo, date the wine as you like, and who cares what others think.
 
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GaDawg

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The day I pitch the yeast, and that day it is technically wine.
 

facn1989

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I define age starting on bottling day. I bottle as instructed (usually day 42 of the manual) since I don't have space for multiple carboys. That said, I label my bottles with month and year so I know when they reach the 2 year mark.
 

Ajmassa

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Just like my old philosophy college midterm “When is abortion permissible?/At what point does life begin?” Actually really similar when I think about it.
No wrong answers as long as you have logical reasoning behind it. I go by yeast just because it’s easier.
If getting super technical I probably wouldn’t call it ‘wine aging’ until out of primary and then racked off gross lees. —->Yup. That would be the theme of my 10 page report on “at what point is wine ‘born’/what point starts aging?”
1. Grapes growing in the vineyard =heavy petting. Getting a feel for each other.
2. Harvest and crush= foreplay and clothing removal
3. Yeast = adult relations.
4. Fermentation = the pregnancy
5. Pressed and racked = baby born but still is hospital
6.Racked off gross lees= baby is safe at home to raise and you pray doesn’t become a screwup as an adult.
Kits would be slightly different. Steps 1 and 2 become “getting hooker” then immediately into pitching yeast.
*Your reports may vary.
 

Ajmassa

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Been burnin the candle at both ends- with no end in sight. Maybe I’m becoming delirious.
Was it the “hooker” reference? Or the entire baby-making analogy? Lol
This is a topic that doesn’t have a definitive answer. Pitching yeast/post AF/post gross lees/in the bottle— they all have their own valid points. And that’s how I chose to explain mine.
Tho I still like my analogy of kits being the “working girls” of winemaking.
Took the day off tomorrow to party all day with 3 million people at the eagles parade. Somehow the city finagled free beer for everyone too. So I can’t guarantee there won’t be any more strange turns.
 

jgmann67

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Been burnin the candle at both ends- with no end in sight. Maybe I’m becoming delirious.
Was it the “hooker” reference? Or the entire baby-making analogy? Lol
This is a topic that doesn’t have a definitive answer. Pitching yeast/post AF/post gross lees/in the bottle— they all have their own valid points. And that’s how I chose to explain mine.
Tho I still like my analogy of kits being the “working girls” of winemaking.
Took the day off tomorrow to party all day with 3 million people at the eagles parade. Somehow the city finagled free beer for everyone too. So I can’t guarantee there won’t be any more strange turns.
I think we had the same philosophy class. I did my final paper on the propriety of fetal tissue research. It was titled "Barbarians at the Uterus."

As for the date, I use the day I pitched the yeast. But, like philosophy, there is no singular "right" answer.
 

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