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My First Fruit Wine experience...

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JDL

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Below is my story of this experience so far...to put the questions first so people do not have to read the entire story of my experience are..

I did not add the ascorbic acid in the beginning and plan on adding it at the end..is this a show stopper or is it still ok?

Can I bulk age this in a 6 gallon carboy if it only makes 3.5 - 4 gallons?

How long should this recipe sit before it is at peak drinking? What is the shortest time you would let it sit?

Ok, onto the story.....

I am half way through my first fruit wine from scratch and it is much different then the 5 week kit wines...at least for me it has been...

I will describe the process I used so others can at least maybe learn from my mistakes and people can post if there is something crazy I did wrong...

I followed Wade's chocolate strawberry port recipe. The only difference is I did not realize he used ascorbic acid and did not put it in with it. I was told it will effect color and maybe some oxidation issues but hopefully adding it at the end might help that out some...

I put it all in a 6.5 gallon bucket and set the lid on it. I was not ready for the experience of turning the cap over twice a day or how much the yeast actually does, it still amazes me. Up until this point I just left the kit wines covered and when I opened them for first rack they were crystal clear on top, it had all settled...

I started it on a Thursday and pitched the yeast 24 hours later on friday, a starting gravity of 1.095 is what we got and we crushed the strawberries not realzing the pectic enzyme would do the work.

I checked it on sunday night and it was down to 1.035 and then checked it again monday night (today) and it was already down to 1.005 and we strained the fruit out with a paint strainer and racked it in a new 5 gallon bucket. The color at this point is a clay or reddish chocolate color, the taste still seems sweet but I think after the back sweetening it will be very good.

We ended up with just under 5 gallons but still have another racking and then the bottling so I am thinking it will end up closer to 4 gallons, a 1/2 gallon more than the recipe said it would. I think this might have been caused by crushing the berries but maybe not, we followed the water amounts exactly.

I am amazed the yeast worked this fast but it must be the energizer and nutrient you add to the process. It took 72 hours to go from 1.095 to 1.005, so that is pretty fast...

At this point I plan on leaving it in the secondary bucket until this sunday, which will give it 6 more days to finnish fermenting and then settle some. I am then going to rack it to a glass carboy and add the rest of the ingredients.

I have some fining agents, I just copied what the kits have given me but am not sure if I am going to bulk age it or bottle it. Any suggestions on this? Is it safe to bulk age 3.5-4 gallons of wine in a 6 gallon carboy?

Hopefully I did not screw up the wine to the point where it is undrinkable...I do not think I did that.

Sorry for the long post, but it is awsome to make your own wine, and a little sick when you watch it bubble like a swamp with a thick layer on top twice a day.
 

Torch404

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I did not add the ascorbic acid in the beginning and plan on adding it at the end..is this a show stopper or is it still ok?
I belive that the asorbic acid should be added at the end. While it is in primary fermentation the CO2 protects the wine from oxygen. After it done the wine will not have the protective CO2 layer and will need the Asorbic acid to protect it.

Can I bulk age this in a 6 gallon carboy if it only makes 3.5 - 4 gallons?
If you know what to do with 3.5 gallons of port vinager. In bulk ageing you want as little head space as possible, to reduce oxydation and contamination from vinager bacteria.

How long should this recipe sit before it is at peak drinking? What is the shortest time you would let it sit?
Don't know about this one.
I'm pretty new to this all so anyone feel free to correct me thanks :D
 

cpfan

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4 gallons of wine bulk aging in a 6 gallon carboy? Well it may not make vinegar, but it probablky will make oxidized wine. Get a 3 gallon carboy and a half gallon jug or two.

Ascorbic acid? For what purpose? It is not used in the kit world and I don't know why Wade used. My favourite wine chemist (from the kit world) recommended ascorbic acid be added prior to bottling for unsweetened unoaked whites only. Said to reduce bottle shock or bottle sickness.

Steve
 

Luc

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There used to be a theory that ascorbic acid would reduce oxidation in a wine.
That theory is obsolete now due to new research.

The research showed that at first ascorbic acid would indeed slow down oxidation, but afther a while it would actually speed up the oxidation process.
There was a detailed article in Wynboer magazine (south african wijnemaking magazine) about this some years ago.

For preventing oxidation you should have as minimal headspace as possible, and add sulphite to the desired level.

Luc
 

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