Other If you had one yeast for bold reds

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When adding the nutrient to the must do you mix it with water or just sprinkle it on top like you do the yeast? Does it matter if you add it before or after the yeast?
Nutrient instructions often say to dissolve in a small amount of water. Honestly, I sprinkle the nutrient on top in a very thin layer so it doesn't clump, then stir well. I use a drill-mounted stirring rod, and it works great.

I add the first dose of nutrient before yeast. The second dose is added in a similar fashion, just before a punch down/stir of the must.

In the past I've used various methods for inoculation. Kits often say to sprinkle the yeast on top and don't stir. I've also rehydrated the yeast with warm water and a bit of sugar, letting it set for up to an hour. This work successfully, although fermentation can take up to 72 hours to kick off.

Very recently I made Finer Wine Kits, and followed their instructions (mostly). Assemble the must on Day 0, including nutrient. Make a starter with yeast, their starter nutrient, and 1 cup water in a wine bottle

On Day 1 (roughly 12-14 hours later), pour the starter slowly along the inside of the fermenter so the starter doesn't spread much. This has produced a ferment start within 6 hours (no visible activity, but I could smell it).

The kit instructions state to wait 18-24 hours before inoculating, but doing it the following morning worked out well. This has been at low temperatures (below 65 F).
 

CDrew

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I ordered Avante from Lodi Wine Labs. Based upon @CDrew's advice, I purchased 500 g (which is a LOT of yeast) and split the order with one of the guys in our local grape purchase group. I used some and have the remainder in the freezer (his advice was that it freezes well).
Just a slight correction-I vacuum seal and store at 35F in the refrigerator. No freezing. I have used the same yeast 3 seasons and I know it stores well over this period and likely longer. But the key is to vacuum seal. Remember it comes vacuum sealed from the factory. I was told specifically by the nice folks at Lodi Wine Labs not to store in the freezer. I don't know if it makes any difference.

Another bit of info-I have already purchased a new brick of Avante for fall 2022. The reason is it was on the shelf at Lodi wine labs, and the expiration date was 2026. So I figured it would be smart to have on hand, and I would not be looking for a new supply next year at the last minute the way I usually am!

Also, others have mentioned smaller amounts of Renaissance yeasts can be purchased from Bosa grape. I have no direct knowledge of this, but usually buy from Lodi wine labs and "The Beverage People" in Sonoma.
 
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Just a slight correction-I vacuum seal and store at 35F in the refrigerator. No freezing. I have used the same yeast 3 seasons and I know it stores well over this period and likely longer. But the key is to vacuum seal. Remember it comes vacuum sealed from the factory. I was told specifically by the nice folks at Lodi Wine Labs not to store in the freezer. I don't know if it makes any difference.
That's a significant correction -- one I appreciate!

I don't have a vacuum sealer ... looks like that's on my purchase list! I'll move my yeast from the freezer to the fridge. If a vendor says to not do it, I'll take that on faith.
 
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Ok, been making wine for a while and just now came across this site(wow, am I thrilled!!). So many questions that I’d like to ask of so many of you, but I’ll start with this one. I pretty much only buy premium kits (RJS RQ and EP, WE PR, Mosti Meglioli and Masters and now FWK Forte). Predominately make heavy reds (cab, Merlot, Nebbiolo and Super). Have always used the kit yeast and I am wondering.,,,,if you had just one yeast option to use with these kits, what one would you use (substitute)? PM4x4, EC1118, NC212? Thanks for the replies..

ps- I do want to start playing with GoFerm, Fermaid K, FT Rouge, Llalzyme and Opti Red additions as well so hope there are some threads on using these in kits
Just my opinion, there is no harm in using GoFerm and Fermaid K with kits. FT rouge as a sacrificial tannin might help retain color. Though I think a kit wine wouldn't get much benefit from Llalzyme or Opti Red even if they included a skin pack.

As far as yeast goes, why limit yourself to one yeast. With a Zinfandel you might want a yeast that offers a spiciness, Merlot on it's own is typically limited to only a mid palate so you might want to try one that can extend the finish. You may prefer a more fruity or aromatic wine, perhaps structure or mouthfeel is what you are looking for. What different yeasts offer for a certain wine is a personal choice and in my opinion one size doesn't fit all.
 
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She’sgonnakillme

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Understood, just trying to educate myself on how to use wine kits and get them elevated to a point that I enjoy drinking them as much or more than commercial ones. Those of you who compete and win competitions using kits clearly have shown that it’s possible. While I know those individuals are not eager to give up their secrets, I am hoping to learn enough to really enjoy my kit wines at home. Making them to the kit directions has been ok, but it’s not blowing me away.
 
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She’sgonnakillme

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Ok thanks for the tip. White wines seem to come out pretty good just following kit directions, it’s just the reds that are underwhelming me so far (even though I buy the premium ones)
 
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I think you will find most have the same opinion with white kits. The juice extraction process for kits is really similar the making wine from grapes. They are crushed then within reason immediately pressed. Reds is a different story and I don't really understand how they can mimic a true maceration of the skins. This combined with most red wines go through MLF when kits recommend against it. So you will be tasting malic acid which is something most commercial red wines do not have.
 
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In the wine club I am a member of in Missouri, we had a member who only made wine kits. Made them totally and completely by the directions and time-lines of the kits. Won medals fairly often in wine competitions, many golds, many best of show or best of class. His secret and one he freely gave to anyone, time in the bottle aging. He would never enter a wine that was less than two years old and many were four or five years old.
 

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Interesting…my oldest at this point is 9 months, and I did suspect it was still to early to judge it, but this is encouraging. I just noticed from this website that so many are tweaking them and assumed there was a reason. I wonder if this approach is a unique situation or if most wine kit competitors would be similar. I’m not wanting to win medals, just enjoy wine I made. Where I live, getting fresh must and grapes isn’t an option.
 
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My favorites for big reds are D80, D254, but I've mostly used Avante (previously named Andante Renissance) when it came out in 2016 just avoid issues during fermentation. I dabbled with some non-saccharomyces yeast (Prelude) this last season in the Petite Sirah, I can't say I see a noticable difference and probably will not use it again in the future.
 
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While I know those individuals are not eager to give up their secrets, I am hoping to learn enough to really enjoy my kit wines at home.
You must be thinking of a different forum. As Fred said, we discuss techniques openly and share freely. 🙂

Check this thread -- it's LONG, but full of great ideas.


Aging is key -- many reds need 2+ years to mature.
 
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Just my opinion, there is no harm in using GoFerm and Fermaid K with kits. FT rouge as a sacrificial tannin might help retain color. Though I think a kit wine wouldn't get much benefit from Llalzyme or Opti Red even if they included a skin pack.
I used Scottzyme ColorPro with FWK Forte Rhone blend (my blend of 3 kits) and Super Tuscan, and got color extraction that rivals last year's grape wines. Enzymes appear to work just fine on skin packs.
 

She’sgonnakillme

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Everyone on this thread has been great, it’s been other platforms where people are reluctant to share “secrets”
 

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Everyone here is pretty open about what they do. Who would we be competing with? And we want you and us to drink better wine.
For kits, try some things. Yeast is cheap at a local wine supply, and I always get a few packs to go into free shipping territory online. ScottLabs handbook is great reading about 'what does what', and what yeasts to try with your variety. I like spicy, sometimes acidic wines. I have used Lalvin RC212 for Pinot Noir, along with Enoferm Assmanhausen. Mangrove Jack/ Vintners Harvest R56 and Assmanhausen on heavy reds, really liked the results. Used them on blackberry wine as well, and liked that. CR51 I used, have not tried final wine yet as that was only beginning of October. Seemed great on initial rackings for faster drinking. Lalvin 71B and MJ MA33 seemed the same. Not terrifically impressed unless it's with a hybrid grape? Lalvin ICV K1-V1116 I prefer to 1118. Both included in kits, as they are neutral and 'ferment a shoe' type yeasts, pretty bomb proof for the new end user. I did like fruit wines with V1116. Lalvin D47 by mistake- intended for whites but was ok. I don't think anything you try will be awful, just a learning experience and ok wine. If you aren't a fan, blend with something else. One I won't bother with again - RedStar Premier Rouge (was Pasteur Red). Might taste great later, but absolutely terrible at clearing.
 
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Everyone here is pretty open about what they do. Who would we be competing with? And we want you and us to drink better wine.
For kits, try some things. Yeast is cheap at a local wine supply, and I always get a few packs to go into free shipping territory online. ScottLabs handbook is great reading about 'what does what', and what yeasts to try with your variety. I like spicy, sometimes acidic wines. I have used Lalvin RC212 for Pinot Noir, along with Enoferm Assmanhausen. Mangrove Jack/ Vintners Harvest R56 and Assmanhausen on heavy reds, really liked the results. Used them on blackberry wine as well, and liked that. CR51 I used, have not tried final wine yet as that was only beginning of October. Seemed great on initial rackings for faster drinking. Lalvin 71B and MJ MA33 seemed the same. Not terrifically impressed unless it's with a hybrid grape? Lalvin ICV K1-V1116 I prefer to 1118. Both included in kits, as they are neutral and 'ferment a shoe' type yeasts, pretty bomb proof for the new end user. I did like fruit wines with V1116. Lalvin D47 by mistake- intended for whites but was ok. I don't think anything you try will be awful, just a learning experience and ok wine. If you aren't a fan, blend with something else. One I won't bother with again - RedStar Pasteur Red. Might taste great later, but absolutely terrible at clearing.
You're the first person I've noticed that uses R56. It was my first go to for big reds and I always have a few packs on hand.
 

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