My 2nd Go at Winemaking...

Wine Making Talk

Help Support Wine Making Talk:

FunkedOut

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2019
Messages
160
Reaction score
59
My first attempt winemaking is not over yet and I have already decided to do it again!
Mainly because I consider my first go around a success, even though I have not bottled that batch yet.
The Malbec kit tastes great already and can only improve from here on out.
I owe all of my perceived success to the advice (and patience) I received here. Thank you.
:b

For my second effort, I plan to make two kits worth of Eclipse Three Moons Cab.
One kit with D254 yeast and one kit with D80 yeast.
Then try and figure out how to blend the two batches to make the best wine.
Probably keep some D254 bottles, some D80 bottles and the blended bottles.
Sounded like a fun way to drink more wine!

Both kits will receive and extended maceration of 2 months.
I purchased myself a single 7gal fermonster just for EM.
I plan to ferment these kits back to back to avoid buying a second fermonster.
It's not the $30, its the space to store it that I am avoiding.

At any rate, I wanted to set the stage because I know I will have some questions.
But first, let me contribute what little I can so far...
 

FunkedOut

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2019
Messages
160
Reaction score
59
I took the fermonster and began to add measured water to it to mark off the different volume levels. 932g of water at ~75*F is what I consider 1 quart for all my markings. Might as well make the wine stuff that way as well.
I found that the 5 gallon mark on the fermonster is right on,
but the 6 gallon mark is about a pint too high, and the 7 gallon mark as well.

First thing I did was dump the juice bag from this kit into the cleaned and sanitized fermonster:
6D68DACC-61B7-4DB7-B4DF-8FEC13B233FD.jpeg

Then I added the bentonite which I put in the blender with a pint of boiling water.
It did not dissolve as well as the RJS kit did.
There was a solid clay layer under the blender blades that I had to free up with a spoon to get it back.
It took me quite a few tries to get this stuff blended and added to the fermonster.
Then I topped up to the 6 gallon mark, per the instructions.

I read on the instructions to place the muslin bag over a pitcher and pour the grape skins in.
Sounded like a great idea and it did work out well.
However, the problem came when it was time to get the bag into the fermonster mouth.
It did not fit and I had to squeeze the bag into a skinny enough shape so it would slide it.
I made a pretty decent mess of things and lost maybe a cup's worth of the rinsed pack juice.

Here is a shot after getting the skins and oak in there:
C79D3D4D-32E7-4A73-8899-50D43E918E52.jpeg
 
Last edited:

FunkedOut

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2019
Messages
160
Reaction score
59
At first, the gravity measured 1.091 and I was worried I had lost too much sugar.
After an hour and a good stir, it measured 1.095 which is on track for the advertised 13.5% (if it dries to 0.995).

This is the D254 batch.
I used an 8g pack that I rehydrated with GoFerm Protect.
I plan to use Fermaid-K again at the start of fermentation and 1/3 sugar break.

The cap is on lightly now.
Plan is to stir/punch down once a day.
I obsessed with the stirring on my last kit, but the skins were only going to be in contact for a week.
With this 8 week maceration, there will be plenty of contact time.
 

FunkedOut

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2019
Messages
160
Reaction score
59
My first questions come about how to adapt the instructions to the EM schedule.

The kit instructions say to squeeze and remove the skins and rack the wine into a carboy when the wine is dry, add the sulfite, degas and stir in one of the packs of kieselsol.
I do plan to make use of all the clearing agents that came with the kit; bentonite (already added), kieselsol and chitosan.

The kit instructions continue on:
Wait a day, then stir in the chitosan.
Wait an hour, then stir in the second pack of kieselsol and the oak cubes.
Wait 39 days, then rack into a carboy, adding 1/4tsp of sulfite if aging for longer than 3 months and bottling in 2 days.


My EM adaptation plans are to:
Perform the same regimen at 8 weeks as recommended by the kit instructions when the wine is dry:
"squeeze and remove the skins and rack the wine into a carboy...," "add the sulfite*, degas and stir in one of the packs of kieselsol."
"Wait a day, then stir in the chitosan."
"Wait an hour, then stir in the second pack of kieselsol...."

I plan to hold the oak cubes back at this point.
Also, above the asterisk next to sulfite is because this kit came with a combined package of sulfite/sorbate; not using it.
Instead, I plan to use 4.8g of sulfite (based on my first RJS kit) which aims for 120ppm.

After ~30 days, I plan to rack to a fresh carboy for another 60 days.
Then rack to a fresh carboy, adding a maintenance dose of sulfite and the oak.

90 days out, rack & sulfite.
repeat every 90 days....


How's that sound?
 

pillswoj

Canadian Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2017
Messages
461
Reaction score
244
Next time put the muslin bag in / over the top of the fermonster, pour the skins in then tie the bag - no mess.
Use the cubes for a 90 day cycle after clearing.
I never liked the WE clearing instructions, I always did Kiesol - 1 hr - Chitosan - 1 hr kiesol. That said, if bulk aging a red with skins I no longer use clearing agents.
 

FunkedOut

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2019
Messages
160
Reaction score
59
Next time put the muslin bag in / over the top of the fermonster, pour the skins in then tie the bag - no mess.
For sure. This is how I did my first kit in a kettle and things went great. I held the bag while a second set of hands poured the skins and oak chips in.
This pitcher idea seemed like a good way to do it solo, but never again.
Also, this time, I put the wood chips in loose, because last time the chips were poking holes in the bag as I punched it down.
I'll find out how much more I lose when racking with loose chips in a couple months.

That said, if bulk aging a red with skins I no longer use clearing agents.
You skip the bentonite too?
Why skip the clearing agents?
Is it because they are not necessary and the wine clears fine?
Or is it because you experienced a negative side effect when using them?

Thanks for the insight.

I see you're making once of these kits as well; started 3 weeks ago. Good luck on that kit!
I'm really hoping these kits make a good drinking wine.
Are you performing an EM?
Any other tweaks?
 

FunkedOut

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2019
Messages
160
Reaction score
59
Fermentation has begun!
I saw some action near the bottom of the fermenter last night (clear fermenters are awesome!!!).
But today, the foam at the top along with the floating skin bag leaves no doubt.
18 hours after pitching the yeast, active fermentation is here and I added the Fermaid K.

D254 is listed as having a short lag phase.
Compared to RC212 on my last batch (different must), it was over just a few hours sooner.
 

pillswoj

Canadian Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2017
Messages
461
Reaction score
244
All of my reds with skins get EM now.

The bentonite caused very heavy lees in the primary and a loss in volume, I stopped using it first. I will still use the Keisol and chitosan if I am going to bottle early (6-9 month) but if bulk aging a year they are not needed, some feel they strip color but I have not noticed that.

I free float my skins for EM and for the 3 moons I am using BM4x4 as the yeast. It may also get 6 months in my neutral barrel.
 

FunkedOut

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2019
Messages
160
Reaction score
59
Not a lot of foam from the D254. It is doing its thing, bubbling away.
Exactly 48 hours after pitch9ng the yeast, D254 blew past the 1/3 sugar break.
I’m going to stir in the Fermaid K now at 1.060 (I was aiming todo this at 1.064).
Per my first batch, this is my greatest chance of a volcano over flow....
 

FunkedOut

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2019
Messages
160
Reaction score
59
Late last night, measured a gravity of 1.022 and the temp had finally cooled off from 81*F down to 78*.
Projecting the rate of sugar consumption, I decided the wort would be below 1.010 before lunch time.
So I gave it one final punch down and squeezed the bag of skins with a paddle against the sides of the fermonster.
Tightened down the lid and pushed the breathable silicone stopper in the hole.

This morning, I gave it a good slosh/spin to soak the floating bag of skins and tons CO2 bubbled up.
I plan to keep this up until the bag drops and rack at the 8 week mark.




It is worthy note how hard this yeast (D254) hit the must compared to RC212 on my last batch.
Granted, it was a different must, but both were high end red kits with skins.
The D254 is more than a day ahead of the RC212 schedule and the temperature really climbed up fast and hot!
I did my monkeying around again and chilled the juice/skins so that I pitched the yeast at 54*F, the low end of the D254's listed range.
I kept the house at 69*F around the clock and the must still managed to hit 81*F in just a couple of days.
Maybe the shape and material of the vessel played a role.
The last batch was in an 8 gallon stainless kettle.
 

Johnd

Sanitized Member
WMT Supporter
Joined
Jun 10, 2015
Messages
6,306
Reaction score
6,085
Location
South Louisiana
Late last night, measured a gravity of 1.022 and the temp had finally cooled off from 81*F down to 78*.
I did my monkeying around again and chilled the juice/skins so that I pitched the yeast at 54*F, the low end of the D254's listed range.
I kept the house at 69*F around the clock and the must still managed to hit 81*F in just a couple of days.
No need to fear some moderate temps for a short period of time with a red wine that has skins. The elevated temps help with extraction of the goodies you want out of the skins and pulp. Allowing it to cool back down after a temp spike will help preserve some of the delicate aromas that can get blown off at higher temps. Your ferment sounds to be in pretty good shape.
 

FunkedOut

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2019
Messages
160
Reaction score
59
Agree, 81*F is in the realm of good things.
Could not have planned it better.
I am very pleased with this first experience in the fermonster and EM.
I was just a bit nervous about the fact that D254 has a recommended temp range of 54*F to 82*F.

I will be sure to leave the chest freezer open for the next ferment in case things get hot.
I ordered a two hole stopper for the fermonster, planning on a thermowell to hold the skin bag submerged and an airlock on the second hole.
I could stick this whole setup in the freezer and control the temp of the must directly with an inkbird in the thermowell.
That’s how I ferment my beer.

All in all, close call, but as close to perfect as possible.
 

Johnd

Sanitized Member
WMT Supporter
Joined
Jun 10, 2015
Messages
6,306
Reaction score
6,085
Location
South Louisiana
Agree, 81*F is in the realm of good things.
Could not have planned it better.
I am very pleased with this first experience in the fermonster and EM.
I was just a bit nervous about the fact that D254 has a recommended temp range of 54*F to 82*F.

I will be sure to leave the chest freezer open for the next ferment in case things get hot.
I ordered a two hole stopper for the fermonster, planning on a thermowell to hold the skin bag submerged and an airlock on the second hole.
I could stick this whole setup in the freezer and control the temp of the must directly with an inkbird in the thermowell.
That’s how I ferment my beer.

All in all, close call, but as close to perfect as possible.
Used some 254 on grapes last fall, got it to 90 F before dialing it back, performed like a champ.
 

FunkedOut

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2019
Messages
160
Reaction score
59
I am getting close to the point where the bag of skins will finally stop floating up to the top. When it floats, I slosh and it sinks. Doing that several times a day.
Today is the first time it has stayed down more than a couple of hours.

While I wait, I plot my next steps.
I have some doubts about the blending process.
Recap: I will finish this EM fermented with D254, and immediately start an EM on an identical kit with D80.
My plan was to sulfite, fine and clear for a month after the 2 month EM.
Then rack and oak for 3 months.
Then rack and sulfite for 3months, rinse & repeat a couple times.

I have read that blending two different wines could lead to some reactions that create a need for additional clearing time.
My thought are the the only difference is the yeast, this should not be a concern.
Unless I settle upon a 50/50 blend as the winner, bulk aging is easier for me if I blend at the end, right before bottling. I only have 6 gallon carboys.

When/where in the process would you perform the blending?
Appreciate the thoughts and insight.
 
Joined
Jun 17, 2019
Messages
32
Reaction score
6
Isn’t blending typically done with finished wine ready for bottling? Just asking, I’m not really sure myself. I went to a “blending party” recently at a winery in Paso Robles where we were given three bottles of finished wine in the bottle. We could blend them in and ratios we wanted. The blends were judged by the winemakers and the winner got their own bottle of their custom blend to take home. I would suppose their real blends they sell are blended after bulk aging is complete before bottling, but not during fermentation or clearing.
 

mainshipfred

Junior Member
WMT Supporter
Joined
Feb 25, 2017
Messages
3,754
Reaction score
2,368
Blending is done both ways. A field blend is when the grapes are blended immediately after crush and fermented together. The other is post fermentation. I usually wait until the wine is at least 10 months old before I blend but some wait until it has aged for much longer. I just don't have the space and need to get it to bottle before the next season starts. Once the final blend is done I like to wait a month before bottling. Lately, except for whites, the majority of my wines are a blend even if it's only 10% of something else.
 

stickman

Veteran Winemaker
Joined
Jun 16, 2014
Messages
1,527
Reaction score
1,356
It really depends on how picky you are about sediment in bottles. If you blend different wines right before bottling there is a possibility of tartrates dropping out, especially if there is a difference in the pH or potassium content, even a difference in ABV can cause tartrates to drop out. Many wineries will ferment and then after a short aging time, taste to determine a general blend percent, blend and put back to barrels, then do a final tweak closer to bottling. It's a fair amount of work and requires experience with the particular grapes and tasting and blending young wines.
I don't have the energy for all of that, so I blend the grapes during primary which trades control for simplicity.
 

mainshipfred

Junior Member
WMT Supporter
Joined
Feb 25, 2017
Messages
3,754
Reaction score
2,368
Why do you wait that month?
Do you find some stuff settles out?
Your blends are different grapes? yeasts? vintage?
Grapes and yeast always, on occasion vintage but mostly spring and fall. I like to wait not for any fallout but to let everything meld together.
 

FunkedOut

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2019
Messages
160
Reaction score
59
Long story, but the bottom line is I ended up with three of these kits!!!
So my plans are to perform an 8 week EM on each kit; D254, D80 and D21.
Three Moons, three regions, three yeasts. Has a ring to it.

Anyway, planning the blending of these three wines, they will each be 2 months younger than the previous. I only have the one fermonster.
To not have this drag on forever, I am planning on tasting and blending when the youngest kit (D21) will be 8 months old.
That's 8 months after pitching yeast.
This will allow for:
  • 8 week EM
  • 4 week clearing stage with fining agents
  • 12 weeks with the oak cubes
  • 12 weeks in a fresh carboy.
At that time, the D80 kit will be 10 months old, and the D254 kit will be 12 months old.

Question is, do you think the D21 kit will have bulk aged long enough to taste halfway representative of its end state?
I may just have to take a leap of faith and blend it at equal ratios and hope for the best.
Plan is to fill a carboy or two with the blend(s) and bottle the rest, as individual yeast wines at that time.
Then let the blend bulk age for another 12 weeks before bottling.
 
2
Top