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Jucks

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Good Evening,

First and foremost, thanks for taking the time reading this, and I appologize in advance if any of my questions have been previously answered, and I missed it. I scouted through the boards before posting.

I've brewed beer for 3 years, and now I'm venturing into wine making. This will be my first attempt, with an end goal of making an " organic " low sulfite wine. I know... I know. Not my requirements, but it is what the wife wants.

So far, this is what I got.

( 5 Gallon Batch )

12/12oz frozen concentrate, organic
1/12oz blackberry concentrate orgnic
1/12oz tart cherry concentrate orgnic

Hoping this will get me to somewhere between 1.040 and 1.050, and then supplement in the remaining by either sugar or honey. ( sugar always seemed to be a no-no with beer, but is acceptable in wine making? Any drawbacks or better sources to increase gravity? )

I'll be throwing in Opti Red, will use goferm at start and fermaid K when gravity lowers by about 1/3.

I'll be shooting for a starting PH of 3.3 to 3.6, and TA of .6% to .7%.

Due to using concentrate and not actual fruit, I plan to add in tanin. (Tanin140).

I will be adding vanilla bean and oak chips.

My question is in regards to if I seem to have the process down, as there seems to be additional steps not done ( or at least I havent done ) when making beer.

I plan to ferment in a bucket, which I assume will take about a week. After this, I'll rerack into a secondary, add in tannin, vanilla bean, and oak chips. Typically this is my " clearing " phase with beer, and I'd imagine it'll be similar with wine.

Since sediment seems to be alittle more of an issue with wine, should i rerack during that period, say once a week each week?

Degasing; I realize Co2 while great in beer isn't particularly wanted in wine. I'd imagine a good stirring prior to bottling should release unwanted Co2?

I've heard of using fining agents to " clear " the wine. Is this necessary, or should I be relatively good with my ingredients?

Bottling; do I need to add potassium metabisulfate? If I don't, will it not last long once bottled? I noticed there doesn't seem to be any reasonable ways to test sulfite levels outside of buying an expensive tester. Is there a decent chart that'll help with adding Potassium Metabisulfate?

All in all, am I missing anything? Or does it appear to look decent?

Thanks!
 
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montanaWineGuy

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I can comment on potassium metabisulfate. For the most part I've quite using it. I also don't boil my water anymore. IMO both are more about sanitation. I get mountain snow melt water from my well or the nearby river. YMMV
 

montanaWineGuy

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About racking and clearing. Twice for me. 1st after vigorous fermentation stops (about 6 weeks), and 2nd when mostly clear (a month or more). Then Bentonite till perfectly clear and bottle.
 

Ajmassa

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Here's a chart and cheap test kit to check So2 if you need to be particular about your levels. Gives you 10 tests. I use em.
https://morewinemaking.com/products/sulphite-test-kit.html
ImageUploadedByWine Making1498002967.190291.jpg

Also I'll rack as needed. Everyone's different.
And Pretty much depends house much drops out. A week after primary is done. 10 days after that. And maybe another one if needed in 2 weeks. Otherwise 2-3 months.
 

Reluctant Chemist

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Hi, sulfite slows aging and prevents bacterial contamination. If you are clean and want to keep your wines less than a year you can try no sulfite.

There is an error in the chart provided with the reply from Ajmassa5983. The two lines are not for red wines and whites. Less Free SO2, and you are not protected.

Note, too, that when you add sulfite to white wines, what you add is usually what you get. For reds, about half becomes "bound" and unavailable for protection. You'll need to add about double your calculation to get the right level of Free SO2.

Also, Accuvin has a test kit for Free SO2, about $40 for 10 tests
 

Jucks

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Thanks for the fast replies. I'll have to take a look into bentonite.

So provided I do well with cleaning, I should be good provided the wine is consumed rather quickly? So I'd imagine aging it should be kept down to a minimum?
 

Jucks

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As for the sulfite test strips, I had read up on them alittle bit.

Arn't they not really that accurate for red wines? From what I saw on some of them they had red wine as having a possible +\- 30ppm variance from the reading.
 

Scooter68

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Thanks for the fast replies. I'll have to take a look into bentonite.

So provided I do well with cleaning, I should be good provided the wine is consumed rather quickly? So I'd imagine aging it should be kept down to a minimum?

The less you age it the sharper/harsher the wine will be on the palate. Wines mellow with age by not using any Sulfite you back yourself into a corner - Bottle and drink too early and you have harsh sharp wine and that masks the taste of the wine. Wait to long and that no-sulfite wine can turn on you.

The amount of sulfite used can be limited but using none is a gamble.

A lot of comments have been made and in the end most folks agree you can make wine without sulfite, but you limit yourself in aging and storage time as well as having to be very careful with sanitation. The only time you will taste any sulfites is if too much is used. Finally I've heard of people finding "organic - no sulfite" commercial wines, but I've never heard anyone talk about how great the are - apparently they are lacking in some regards.
 

Johnd

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There is an error in the chart provided with the reply from Ajmassa5983. The two lines are not for red wines and whites. Less Free SO2, and you are not protected.

Note, too, that when you add sulfite to white wines, what you add is usually what you get. For reds, about half becomes "bound" and unavailable for protection. You'll need to add about double your calculation to get the right level of Free SO2.
Please explain why you believe this chart to be wrong, and why you contend that the lines labeled red and white are not for reds and whites.
 

Julie

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Jucks, welcome to winemakingtalk.

First you really should add more concentrate, the amount you are using will give you a very weak tasting wine. Go for at least 4 cans of concentrate per gallon. Bring your sg to around 1.080 and add sugar to get it there. Adding honey would be good but to be honest, I think you need to get a couple batches under your belt before venturing off with honey. Fermenting in the bucket is good, do not snap down the lid until you are roughly around 1.010, you can place a towel over the loose lid and stir daily. You really need to add the amount of sulfite that is required, going without is a huge gamble! The amount you need to add I believe is less than what you get in a commercial wine.

Good luck and let us know how it comes out.
 

Smok1

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I just did some reading on the titrets tests are possible to be out +/- 30ppm as well. Seems like kind of a large margin of error after looking at that test chart. Seems like a pricey test for such inaccurate results (for the small batch home wine maker, if i made as big of batches as some of you im sure my mind would change). Ill stick to the 1/4 tsp every 3 month method. Havent had any wines spoil yet.
 
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Noontime

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Kind of re-hashing what others have said... kmeta (So2) helps protect your wine from spoilage organisms, and prevents oxidation. Since you're using canned juices and inoculating with a wine yeast (I'm assuming... I'm interested in hearing what you plan on using), spoilage really isn't much of a concern as long as everything is clean. It's the oxidation that will prevent your wine from aging well (think apples going brown, and that's basically the same thing that happens to your wine). Without the anti-oxidative properties of the So2 your wine will start to take on nutty/sherry like flavors eventually. Most wines can use a year or so in the bottle before they really become integrated and mature, so not using the So2 will limit the life of the wine... it won't "spoil" but will start going downhill as far as flavor (it's a bell curve). Not using sulfite is a hot topic on the forums and I won't presume anything, but a good test for anyone worried about sulfites is to eat golden raisins which have magnitudes more sulfite than wine. If there's no ill reaction to golden raisins then there's no worry about sulfites (it's the histamines in wine that usually affect people). Cane sugar works great for sweetening, and I'd recommend using a 2 part fining agent like SuperKleer.

EDIT: degas before adding sugar or any other granular substance, or you'll get a volcano eruption (the sugar creates nucleation sites for the CO2 like Mentos and cola)
 
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Scooter68

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Julie has it right Jucks - Wine making and beer making are similar but that's it.

Honey imparts a flavor to the wine. If you have had a mead perhaps you'd like the flavor of honey in the wine.

One other thing - You list 12 cans of Concentrate but don't say what type.
Are you just going for a mixed berry wine? Think you'd have better sense of the wine flavor if you stuck with a specific berry type for the first batch. Cherry and Blackberry make great fruit wine but it seems a waste to mash them together with whatever those other fruit is in those 12 cans.

To add to what Noontime said, the amount of suflites in wines made correctly is a lot less than in most store bought dried fruits. Great example is dried Apricots. The ones in the store that are all pretty are great in one aspect - they have great color - BUT they are heavily treated with Sulfur Dioxide and Sodium Bisulfite and/or Potassium Sorbate. Way more preservatives than in wine - because they are not packages in bottles but plastic bags that are all that well sealed.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Mariani-Mediterranean-Apricots-16-oz/34217405?wmlspartner=wlpa&selectedSellerId=0&adid=22222222227022642000&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=c&wl3=40891457312&wl4=pla-78821463512&wl5=9026085&wl6=&wl7=&wl8=&wl9=pla&wl10=8175035&wl11=online&wl12=34217405&wl13=&veh=sem
 
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Jucks

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I was wondering if I should use more concentrate. So around 20 cans for a 5 gallon batch?

As for the cans, they are cascadian farms grape juice, listed as blue/black concord grapes.

As for the question on whar yeast I planned to use, my beer yeast wont cut the ABV. I'm going to shoot for something that can handle around 14%, in the 65-75 degree range.

My question on the honey over sugar thing was because I know sugar is frowned upon in beer making. If I recall with beer you dont want more than 1/3 of your alcohol coming directly from sugar. Wasnt sure if there was any issues with wine in terms of sugar. With beer if my gravity is off Id typically add a dash of honey, but I'm guessing with wine that would give me a more mead like taste.

As for the blackberry / tart cherry; I figured concord grapes are on the sweeter side. I prefer my wine to be more on the smoky, acidic side ( merlot ), so I figured adding some more bitter fruit might help balance the flavor.
 
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Ron0126

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I was wondering if I should use more concentrate. So around 20 cans for a 5 gallon batch?

As for the cans, they are cascadian farms grape juice, listed as blue/black concord grapes.

As for the question on whar yeast I planned to use, my beer yeast wont cut the ABV. I'm going to shoot for something that can handle around 14%, in the 65-75 degree range.

My question on the honey over sugar thing was because I know sugar is frowned upon in beer making. If I recall with beer you dont want more than 1/3 of your alcohol coming directly from sugar. Wasnt sure if there was any issues with wine in terms of sugar. With beer if my gravity is off Id typically add a dash of honey, but I'm guessing with wine that would give me a more mead like taste.

As for the blackberry / tart cherry; I figured concord grapes are on the sweeter side. I prefer my wine to be more on the smoky, acidic side ( merlot ), so I figured adding some more bitter fruit might help balance the flavor.
Look at post #8 on this thread:
http://www.winemakingtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=56398

hornpipe2 has a really good calculator you can use if you have Excel
 

Scooter68

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Jucks - I understand the smoke acidic side. Why not go all one direction with a dash of something. White grape for bouquet and blackberry for the main event. Add in some toasted Oak chips for that smokiness and up the tannin a bit for that pucker your face, And some of the wild berries are just naturally acidic without any help. My wines so far have been all pure varities with just a hint white grape at the end.

They are really fun to share with folks. The characters of each is so varied.
Blueberry - Straight up But you could oak it into a smoky wine with dark toast chips.
Blackberry - Wild blackberries with white grape used as my backsweetener The smell was wonderful
Black Raspberry - Very WILD tasting Grabs your tongue gives it a shake -HELLO I'm A WILD BERRY (All with 4 1/2 lbs of fruit for a gallon)
Tart Cherry - Still aging. Made with bottled Tart Cherry concentrate 5 bottles for a 3 gallon batch (4 tart Cherry with one Black Cherry.
Black Currant - Straight out of a can (Vintners Harvet 96 oz for a 3 gallon batch) The first batch ended up with 15.5% ABV. I was looking for 17-18% but it stalled out with an AG of 1.005. A great dessert wine and you'd better respect it with that ABV. Also naturally very tart.

Anyway just some ideas. The reason I suggest all one variety fruit is to learn what that fruit has to offer. I started with 1 gallon batches caus I'm cheap and my sources (Home Grown Wild berries) were limited. Nothing against canned stuff but when you already have it growing on your place OR you have easy access to it Why Not. Those I mentioned are my favorites plus one more -Peach. But peach doesn't meet what you said you were looking for (Smoky and Acidic)

(By the way that sugar prohibition doesn't exist in the Fruit wine world unless you are going ALL wine grapes. ) With fruit you have to do a significant amount of sugar to support the fruit
 
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Scooter68

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By the way since you are talking about a fruit wine have you been looking at the Country Fruit Wine Making forum on this board?
 

Jucks

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Thanks for this breakdown on fruit!! Appreciate it!!

And I'll check out that calculator. Thanks for all the great responses. Appreciate the advice from more skilled wine makers!
 

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