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Chinook

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WineXpert has changed the description of their Island Mist series -- in the past they included the base grape variety, but that was not in the descriptions when I purchased a kit last month.
I made a Black Cherry with the New VineCo line Kit, Niagra Mist Series. I saw that none of the descriptions had the base grape variety. However through net research I found the base for this was Pinot Noir. I think I got the information from a reseller site. I found the base for Green Apple was Sauvignon Blanc in another site. However I have been unable to find a site that gives a comprehensive list. I was unable to find the base for the Green Apple Kiwi Pear Special Edition Mix.
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I always boost the ABV to about 12 percent for these F-Pack Kits and put 20 percent of the F-Pack in the primary. . . I think the F-pack is the reason for buying these kits. It's something I can't imitate though I have tried frozen fruit juice etc.
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I am now trying a Chardonay (Australian) from the Vinco series (Wineexpert) It was the higher grade at about $115 Canadian. Yeah I was surprised that a high end 6 week kit had only 15 litres.. I was also surprised to see two oak packs (one granular , one chips) in the kit. I put them both in the primary I had thought oaking was only for Reds. I think I saw comments preferring RJS kits, but the I think the store I deal with only has only VineCo and Mosti Mondiale.
 

Chinook

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The Green Apple used to be Green Apple Riesling. I made it many times.
Maybe it still is. I don't have a verifiable source.
Green Apple is my favorite of all the fruit wine kits. I just tried a limited edition Green Apple-Kiwi-Pear. This one I experiemtned at using 40 percent of the F-PAck in the primary Maybe too much, I'm not sure - an experiment. I usually use 20 percent to lessen the final sweetness. I boosted the SG to 1.094 for a final ABV of 13.995 which becomes 13.45 after factoring in the addtion of the F-Pack.
 

winemaker81

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The Green Apple used to be Green Apple Riesling. I made it many times.
I chaptalized the Green Apple / Riesling to 11% when I made it in 2011. In 2018, when the last 2 bottles were consumed, it was going strong -- still had that nice, crisp apple taste.
 

Lwrightjs

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So it's been a few months and I've seen these on the shelf at the LHBS. What's the verdict so far? Does anyone have a kit aging? I know that kits arent good until 2 years, but surely there's some experience with them so far.
 

sour_grapes

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So it's been a few months and I've seen these on the shelf at the LHBS. What's the verdict so far? Does anyone have a kit aging? I know that kits arent good until 2 years, but surely there's some experience with them so far.
I have been plowing through a 14L Chardonnay (Sonoma Dry Creek Valley). I think it is as good as the 16L Chards I have made before.
 

Swedeman

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I have been plowing through a 14L Chardonnay (Sonoma Dry Creek Valley). I think it is as good as the 16L Chards I have made before.
Out of curiosity, you haven't done the 18 liter Eclipse Sonoma Dry Creek Valley Chardonnay before? If you noticed any difference between the new 14 liter vs its 18 liter predecessor.
 

winemaker81

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What's the verdict so far?
I started 10 liter Australian Chardonnay and Australian Cabernet Sauvignon at the beginning of September. Both taste & smell what I'd expect from a green wine, and I don't see any quality issues.

Without tasting side-by-side with the older kits, I don't believe anyone will be able to definitively spot a difference between the old and new kits.
 

sour_grapes

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Out of curiosity, you haven't done the 18 liter Eclipse Sonoma Dry Creek Valley Chardonnay before? If you noticed any difference between the new 14 liter vs its 18 liter predecessor.
No, sadly, no apples-to-apples from me...
 

Lwrightjs

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No, sadly, no apples-to-apples from me...
Grapes-to-grapes? :)

Thanks for the follow up. I know everyone is io in arms about it, but kits do keep getting better every year, so it makes sense that they've learned at least a little bit since these kits were introduced several years ago.
 

Chinook

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Vineco, The Green Apple - Kiwi Pear (Special Edition) had labels inside. The Green Apple did not. I suspect the rest of the Niagara Mist Kits do not have labels.
I just bottled the Special Edition about 10 days ago I chaptalized the ABV to 14 percent (ABV 1.096) , and I added about 40 percent of the FPack to the must thus reducing the level of final sweetness. Final ABV taking into account adding the FPAck calculates as 13.6
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Interestingly, I think the fermentation may have stalled or who knows. I ended up adding some yeast nutrient and yeast energizer for a number of days going way over the usual one week fermentation period - about 12 -13 days. I hope that was benign. Maybe the temperature dropped as the weather changed or perhaps something about adding the FPAck to the must.
It had the kind of lees that don't settle easily to a solid. I racked the carboy once before final racking and filtering.
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I tested 10 ml of the result as I was bottling - Sweetness level and taste seems quite alright. I think I drank the over extra as well which was a very small amount.
I was concerned I reduced it too much Sugar is needed to bring out any fruit taste. Usually I use 20 percent of the F-PAck in the must. This was an experiment. The F-Pack here was a little smaller 1050-1100 ml, usually it is 1200 ml, in thee kits according to my measurements. ... but maybe more concentrated. My measuring instruments/cups are not perfect but they are standardized in relation to constant use.
 

bstnh1

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I just bottled one of the new WE "Classic" California Moscato kits. I have not made a Moscato of any kind before, so I can't compare it to the older version. The ABV came out a bit higher (9.4) than stated on the WE site (8.5) with no changes and it tasted fantastic - very smooth at bottling.
 

Chinook

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Vineco, The Green Apple - Kiwi Pear (Special Edition) had labels inside. The Green Apple did not. I suspect the rest of the Niagara Mist Kits do not have labels.
I just bottled the Special Edition about 10 days ago I chaptalized the ABV to 14 percent (ABV 1.096) , and I added about 40 percent of the FPack to the must thus reducing the level of final sweetness. Final ABV taking into account adding the FPAck calculates as 13.6
...
Interestingly, I think the fermentation may have stalled or who knows. I ended up adding some yeast nutrient and yeast energizer for a number of days going way over the usual one week fermentation period - about 12 -13 days. I hope that was benign. Maybe the temperature dropped as the weather changed or perhaps something about adding the FPAck to the must.
It had the kind of lees that don't settle easily to a solid. I racked the carboy once before final racking and filtering.
..
I tested 10 ml of the result as I was bottling - Sweetness level and taste seems quite alright. I think I drank the over extra as well which was a very small amount.
I was concerned I reduced it too much Sugar is needed to bring out any fruit taste. Usually I use 20 percent of the F-PAck in the must. This was an experiment. The F-Pack here was a little smaller 1050-1100 ml, usually it is 1200 ml, in thee kits according to my measurements. ... but maybe more concentrated. My measuring instruments/cups are not perfect but they are standardized in relation to constant use.
OK, looking at my notes, I definitely had a stuck fermentation. After doing some reading here, I'm pretty sure it was because the F-pack probably had sulfides.
Usually my Fruit wines and F-packs just race to .990, so this was unusual. I used more of the Fpack in the primary than usual and the nature of this Fpack may have been different in this Special Edition. So perhaps I needed to watch it more carefully adding more yeast nutrient or adding the Fpack quantity bit by bit.
So that was interesting, it never happened before.
 

Chinook

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What was the FG? Also, which yeast were you using?
Same kit yeast as usual the EC1118. I would not want to change it
Found it stuck on the seventh day, I am so used to everything racing to .990 I usually don't even bother taking the SG til day 6 or 7.
On day 7 I found the SG far too high, didn't log it, However I do keep a detailed notebook logging every batch details. I thought perhaps the room had chilled with weather change - immediately added yeast stuff and put heater in room.
Day 8 it was 1,024 ,
It went down thereafter in slow decrements. I added yeast energizer and nutrient every day after I found it stuck and kept the room heated.
Day 13 transferred to carboy SG was .999 , TWO WEEKS! day 22 SG was .992 Three Weeks , was same the next day as then I did the stabilization.
So that is quite a long one. Four week kit became almost 7 weeks.
Never had such a long one before , I sampled 10 ml as bottling, taste seemed good.
 

winemaker81

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@Chinook, I would not expect the F-Pack to contain enough sulfite to significantly impact EC-1118, as the fun wines I've made include the normal sulfite package. But the F-Pack isn't designed to be fermented, so you may be on the right track in suspecting it as the source of the problem.

In addition, a temperature drop may have serious effects. I've experienced stuck fermentation from a 10 degree F drop, so that may be your cause. Or Mother Nature may have simply decided to toy with you a bit. 😋

A long fermentation isn't a bad one, just a bit nerve wracking. If it went into the bottle tasting good, it appears you have a successful conclusion!
 

bstnh1

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I ferment down to .992 and have always found that the time to get there is simply unpredictable. Sometimes it gets there in 7 or 8 days. Other times it can take 2 weeks. As long as it gets there, I don't worry about it. As for the 4 week kits .... I have never had one ready to bottle in 4 weeks.
 

Chinook

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@Chinook, I would not expect the F-Pack to contain enough sulfite to significantly impact EC-1118, as the fun wines I've made include the normal sulfite package. But the F-Pack isn't designed to be fermented, so you may be on the right track in suspecting it as the source of the problem.

In addition, a temperature drop may have serious effects. I've experienced stuck fermentation from a 10 degree F drop, so that may be your cause. Or Mother Nature may have simply decided to toy with you a bit. 😋

A long fermentation isn't a bad one, just a bit nerve wracking. If it went into the bottle tasting good, it appears you have a successful conclusion!
OK thanks for the feedback from your experience.
I've made about 10 or more of these from several different brands all augmented to about 12 to 13 percent ABV and this is the first time ever I had any trouble and my first ever stuck fermentation.
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It must have been the Fall season temperature drop as the primary cause and I wasn't paying attention. It was very weird and worrying. This "Limited Edition" 'Green Apple -Kiwi-Pear" was a test because I also bought the Wine Expert Green Apple which is my favorite of this type.
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I did a 40 percent in the must instead of my usual 20 and I'll wait a bit longer to test the results before I decide how to do the Green Apple.
I'm trying to find the minimal sweetness level that will still bring out the strong fruit flavour. I was reading here and I saw many others use a 50-50 ratio, I think that is too much, it might take away too much of the fruit flavour. I had been using 20-80 which is OK but maybe too sweet to be a crowd pleaser. but I will see how 40-60 works out.
 

Chinook

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I ferment down to .992 and have always found that the time to get there is simply unpredictable. Sometimes it gets there in 7 or 8 days. Other times it can take 2 weeks. As long as it gets there, I don't worry about it. As for the 4 week kits .... I have never had one ready to bottle in 4 weeks.
How do you decide it is not ready? Two weeks is very very unusual for my experience, I cover my primary pails with towels to keep out sunlight and I suppose that also makes it warmer.
I usually have a clarified kit wine ready for final processing by 4 weeks unless I'm busy and don't have time.
...
I usually use the fining agents in the kit (K + C) at the end of the second week but then I will add an additonal fining agent of my own (sparkloid) at the end of week three. Sparkloid , I think does the best job , so I use it to do some extra cleaning.
. Usually I stabilize by the end of week 2. I just stabilized a 6 week Vineco Chardonnay - that was at day 16.
 

Swedeman

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But the F-Pack isn't designed to be fermented, so you may be on the right track in suspecting it as the source of the problem.
I really doubts that's the reason, the temperature drop, as suggested, is more likely the cause of slow-ish fermentation. Or perhaps a bad package of yeast .
Let us assume that the f-pack contains 0,25 g sorbate/liter, i.e. the concentration you will have when you add the sorbate pack to the finished wine. If Chinook added 0,5 liter of the f-pack to 22,5 liter so he would end up with 23 liter, then the sorbate concentration would be roughly 0,005 g/l. And that is a low level.

I have added 2/3 of the F-pack without any signs of effect on the fermentation. I know other have added the entire f-pack without a problem.

And being at 1,024 after 8 days isn't unusual.
 

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