Losing hope

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Rotorgoat

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Hello wine makers. I’m just about to give up on making wine as my last two red wines have been rubbish and pretty much taste the same. The first was a CC Merlot and the second is in the fastferment clearing (Kenridge trilogy). I’ve followed the instructions to a T and there is a slight sulphur smell and taste. I degassed and kept it at 21degC throughout the process. The CC Merlot finished at about 12% and the Kenridge about 13%. I’m sampling the Kenridge from the sampling port and it’s at day 21. Will it lose the sulphur taste? Why do both wines taste the same? I used filter water in the Kenridge but just campden treated tap water for the CC Merlot. I have done 6 bottles of CC Pinot Grigio which turned out great. I’ve got 30 bottles of that on the go now. I love red wine but I think this is the last one I will do. Any inspiration will be greatly received.
 

joeswine

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Hard to tell went wrong not enough info to start with.
Can you break down you steps along with the starting SG,.and anyother
Info ?
 

Rotorgoat

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I’ve just taken another sample and it’s drinkable and defiantly better than the CCMerlot. I wouldn’t call it a sulphur smell now, just an odd smell, very alcoholic on the nose. The CC mErlot smell bad as soon as you open the bottle and tastes the same as it smells. I think this Kenridge one will be better but just not quite sure on how wine should taste at day 20? The kit says wine ready in 4 weeks but would like to know how wine should smell and taste during the different stages of the process? My CC Merlot started at 1.085 and finished at 996. The Kenridge started at 1.097 and finished at 993
 

salcoco

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rack at the appropriate times and check again in three months.
 

Rotorgoat

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But as per the instructions, it doesn’t get racked again, it’s bottling time in 7 days?
 

purpletongue

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Hello wine makers. I’m just about to give up on making wine as my last two red wines have been rubbish and pretty much taste the same. The first was a CC Merlot and the second is in the fastferment clearing (Kenridge trilogy). I’ve followed the instructions to a T and there is a slight sulphur smell and taste. I degassed and kept it at 21degC throughout the process. The CC Merlot finished at about 12% and the Kenridge about 13%. I’m sampling the Kenridge from the sampling port and it’s at day 21. Will it lose the sulphur taste? Why do both wines taste the same? I used filter water in the Kenridge but just campden treated tap water for the CC Merlot. I have done 6 bottles of CC Pinot Grigio which turned out great. I’ve got 30 bottles of that on the go now. I love red wine but I think this is the last one I will do. Any inspiration will be greatly received.
There are ways I've read to deal with the sulphur or off odors. It needs to be treated before bottling during racking. If I remember right you need to rack back and forth or shake it to aerate the wine a bit to deal with those off odors. And then hit it with sulfite too. I'm sure others know more and will chime in.

I understand that must be discouraging. Like anything there are ups and downs. You could consider using those batches for cooking if you find that they will work out like that. Perhaps cooking will drive out some of that off odor. Although I'm new to the art, I think following the kit instructions to the tee might not be the best way. It's good to start perhaps, but even on my first batch I deviated based on the readings and research I did. The art of wine-making feels much more organic and intuitive even at times, that a step by step process with exact times doesn't really lend itself well to success.

My advice would be: Do you enjoy the wine making process in spite of the disappointments? Or does it feel more like a chore? If you're leaning towards the latter than I'd consider throwing in the towel. Otherwise, dust yourself off and consider those batches valuable experiments. . Do some more research and reading. I'm sure if you do that the chances are very high you will produce a wine you not only enjoy but are proud of.
 

Rotorgoat

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Thanks very much for your reply. I very much enjoy the process and love wine!!! I just feel I need to know if I’m doing something wrong for me to get off smells? I’m just a bit confused with taking advise from forums which conflict with instructions. I thought the wine kits should have enough yeast nutrient in to not add it? If you follow the instructions then why get these off smells? Is it the temperature or water quality? As I’m using a fastferment for this one, racking doesn’t happen, you just change the bottle. I’m tempted to empty the fastferment into a bottling bucket with a few campden tablets (to reduce oxidation) splashing to get rid of sulphur smells then bottle?
 

purpletongue

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Thanks very much for your reply. I very much enjoy the process and love wine!!! I just feel I need to know if I’m doing something wrong for me to get off smells? I’m just a bit confused with taking advise from forums which conflict with instructions. I thought the wine kits should have enough yeast nutrient in to not add it? If you follow the instructions then why get these off smells? Is it the temperature or water quality? As I’m using a fastferment for this one, racking doesn’t happen, you just change the bottle. I’m tempted to empty the fastferment into a bottling bucket with a few campden tablets (to reduce oxidation) splashing to get rid of sulphur smells then bottle?
I know the feeling as a beginner. Your mind is filled with questions. Mine too. I would recommend buying or loaning a book on wine-making at home. It's nice to have and in conjunction with forums it will prepare you to be critical of what your read online. You may not be doing anything "wrong" and still get off odors. From what I've read it's one of the issues that can happen and has to do with the chemistry of the wine and everything else. You need to catch those odors that are off and not simply "yeasty" while you're testing your wine throughout it's life-cycle. When you start smelling something that worries you, that's when to spring in action. Again I really recommend reading or skimming at least part of a book. It will give you more confidence in your decisions as well. Chances are you can loan an ebook through your library too.
 

Rotorgoat

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Thank you ever so much mate. Since lockdown here in the UK, I was put on a 12 week isolation. So I took up home brewing. I’ve made 30 bottles of red (CC Merlot) which is just about drinkable but will I probably end up cooking with. I then made 6 bottles of Pinot Grigio for my wife and she LOVED it. I’ve got 30 bottles of that bubbling away. I then spent a bit more getting the Kenridge Trilogy which is the one im nearly bottling but a bit worried about. I’ve also done loads of beer, mostly gone well and bloody strong! Let’s hope this red turns out ok as I love the whole process. I will try and research a bit more and keep going. Thanks again for your help. I hope lockdown is going ok for you and look forward the that pub opening for a nice pint of IPA. Cheers
 

salcoco

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MoreManuals! Winemaking Guides | MoreWine visit this page and download the manuals on wine making. first the instruction of the kit are not all locked in stone they are day guidance but you should always sue a hydrometer to determine fermentation progress. second if you have off odors or taste they can be from stressed yeast or even the yeast in its normal function. yeast nutrient helps here regardless if it a kit or not. third the wine is very very young it doesn't resemble wine yet so any flavors or off flavors detected now are of no large consequence. wait until the wine especially red has gone thorough some semblance of aging at least three months before any tasting should be taken to heart
 

Rotorgoat

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Thanks very much. One last question. I did a CC 6 bottle Pinot Grigio and the instructions stated to rack after 1.010 SG into secondary. The 30 bottle CC Pinot Grigio doesn’t have secondary, just straight through to degassing??? Very confusing.
 

tradowsk

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Now that you've made a few kits, my recommendation here would be to start throwing out the instructions right away on new kits. At the core, wine is just juice + yeast + time. All these different kit instructions are just guidelines based on whoever made the kits. You will also see manufacturers using the same instruction sheets on several distinct varieties of wine too.

With regards to the pinot gris racking at 1.010. You can rack it right then, or you can wait until 1.000, or wait until 0.996 or rack it right now. I doubt it would change anything in the final product. As long as you avoid certain bad conditions (too high temp, too long on the lees, too much oxygen), you don't have to follow the instructions to a T to make great wine. In fact, I think many people on here would say you might make better wine by not following them. So I wouldn't fret over differences in instructions. If you want to rack it, then do so. If you don't or can't, it can wait.

You mentioned off smells/flavors. What temps are you fermenting at and what yeast are you using?
 

Rotorgoat

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Thanks. The temperature has been controlled by an inkbird 306 probe and heat belt. Set to 21degC. The yeast in all so far has been Lalvin EC118.
I will stick to a bit of instinct in the future and rely on the hydrometer.
 

wineview

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Thank you ever so much mate. Since lockdown here in the UK, I was put on a 12 week isolation. So I took up home brewing. I’ve made 30 bottles of red (CC Merlot) which is just about drinkable but will I probably end up cooking with. I then made 6 bottles of Pinot Grigio for my wife and she LOVED it. I’ve got 30 bottles of that bubbling away. I then spent a bit more getting the Kenridge Trilogy which is the one im nearly bottling but a bit worried about. I’ve also done loads of beer, mostly gone well and bloody strong! Let’s hope this red turns out ok as I love the whole process. I will try and research a bit more and keep going. Thanks again for your help. I hope lockdown is going ok for you and look forward the that pub opening for a nice pint of IPA. Cheers
To begin with, my experience has been white wines are much more forgiving, easier to make and can be bottled quicker. The longer you store in your carboy, the clearer your wine will be. Having said that you can still make good red wine. Don't get stuck on the instructions. I'm sure your kits included a couple of clearing agents and it's ok to use them. But making good red wine in 4-6 weeks is impossible. Learn some basic wine making principals and use them. I don't even think about bottling for at least 9 months and in most cases 12 months racking every three months or so making periodic additions of kmeta and potassium sorbate. These chemicals will preserve your wine for the long months in bulk storage. Time is your biggest friend when it comes to making wine. Patience can be your worst enemy.
 

Rotorgoat

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That was my thought. The white wine was very straight forward and tasted good before it was finished clearing. I think I over thought the red and rushed it! Patience wasn’t on my side. I do love red wine so will persist and learn from my mistakes. It’s difficult not to worry when some of the kits are quite expensive and trying to persuade my wife that it’s cost effective is difficult. I hope this white will be as good as the last and keep her happy for some time. Is it recommended to always use yeast nutrient at the start? Again the instructions don’t mention it anywhere. Is there much difference between potassium metabisulphite and Sodium metabisulphite? Can I rack the red wine splashing it a lot to try and release some smells and then add campden tablets to stop oxidation before re-racking? I want to make sure these smells are gone before bottling.
 

wineview

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That was my thought. The white wine was very straight forward and tasted good before it was finished clearing. I think I over thought the red and rushed it! Patience wasn’t on my side. I do love red wine so will persist and learn from my mistakes. It’s difficult not to worry when some of the kits are quite expensive and trying to persuade my wife that it’s cost effective is difficult. I hope this white will be as good as the last and keep her happy for some time. Is it recommended to always use yeast nutrient at the start? Again the instructions don’t mention it anywhere. Is there much difference between potassium metabisulphite and Sodium metabisulphite? Can I rack the red wine splashing it a lot to try and release some smells and then add campden tablets to stop oxidation before re-racking? I want to make sure these smells are gone before bottling.
Using a yeast nutrient is fine. It will feed the yeast and insure a good fermentation. Potassium Metabisulphate and Sodium Metabisulphate are not the same. I use Sodium Metabisulphte to sanitize. Some use 1/4 tsp. in wine to kill wild yeast but risk a sodium taste in the wine.

When racking I try not to splash but I do degass the wine to eliminate any co2. Remember, don't rush to bottle.
 

Rotorgoat

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great thanks a lot. Looks like I will have to start liking white wine for a while then.
 

Rotorgoat

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Do you have any thoughts on copper to get rid of off smells? Mixed opinions about it being poisonous etc. I see there is a very mild copper sulfite solution you can add? Don’t want to add unnecessary chemicals.
 

joeswine

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Here's my thoughts,🤔 instructions are there for a reason here's how it goes.

Kit manufacturer don't know who's going to make their products and under what conditions,yet alone experience, temperature conditions and what tools are in the tool box. Got it?

So they provide the instructions for those of us who are short on one or the other of those things we .

Until you can process a kit blindfold ,you need the instructions, sometimes just sometimes the manufacturer changes up on us so you need to be aware of the changes and or process changes.
I always glance over the instructions just in case ,you should to.
Yes if all went according to plan bottle age your wine this way you can sample as you want, there is no correct way of aging whites young or middle aged ,reds old and stuff, it's all subjective to each and every wine makers taste ,always remember that your the winemaker and until you understand the instructions and outs the instructions will keep you out of trouble, and what people don't talk about enough is sanation. That's the real aging factor along with patients.
Stay the course.
 
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