Newbie here from San Diego

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Jul 13, 2009
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Hello everyone!

Newbie here from San Diego. I've been brewing beer for a couple of months now and decided to try my hand at winemaking.

I enjoy a good glass of wine but my wife, she is the enthousiast.

She has been my right hand through the beer making process, but really doesn't enjoy the end product.

Her birthday is coming up and I ordered her a Cabernet kit from Brewmasters Warehouse called the Selection Cabernet Sauvignon Wine Kit. I am hoping for the best. My wife really loves an "oakey" cabernet, so if any of you have any advice for me there, it would be much appreciated. Even if the advice is to just stick with the instructions on the kit for our first go at this.

I also haven't see much written about proper wine fermentation temps. Are the fermenting temps not as much as a factor as with beer? (creating esthers with higher ferm temps?)

We actually did do an Apple Wine with Motts apple juice, dextrose and Mantrechet. Super simple but came out great, all of our friends enjoy it.

Thanks for creating and participating in this great site!

Glad to have you here. As far as oaking goes most kits do not come with the strong oak I like in a big red wine so I usually add more. How much more depends upon your taste and should be determined at the earlies after your wine is all clear and at that point I would add oak cubes or spirals or staves as it will not make a mess of your wine again. As far as beer making goes, do you do AG, full boil extracts with some steeping?
Thanks Wade, I can get some oak chips fairly easily. I'll search around here and figure out the process but do you boil the chips or soak them in a solution prior?

I am doing all-grain batches after a few months of doing extracts. I just bottled up a Cherry Blonde Ale that I think will turn out awesome.
Nubz, I'll be here - lurking away :)

I'll also be asking a few questions I'm sure from time to time.

I've been to Long Island a couple of years back and had a really great time wine tasting there. They are producing some excellent wine.
Welcome aboard. If you are wanting to make the kit per directions you should use the oak shavings, powder or ships that come with the kit. If you wish to enjoy a more refined oak level you will need the cubes, spirals or staves as Wade suggests. You will have to leave the wine on oak longer though and check it regularly. I rarely use the oak that comes with a kit but then again I have made dozens of kits and take full responsibility if it don't come out as I planned.

Some more advice on the kits. You will read the directions that say "this" should be done at or by "this" time and "that" should be done by "that" time. These are merely guidelines and not specifics. Use your hydrometer to tell you when to move to the next step. In regards to fermentation temperatures, wine is much more forgiving that beer and will not reveal the off flavors various temps can do to beer. Basically ferment somewhere in the recommended range of the yeast you use. I try to ferment wine around 68-70 or so. Just try to keep the temps steady. At higher temps you will get faster fermentations and can at times get some off flavors. The important thing is to try to keep some consistent temps.

One last thing about these kits. Be prepared to wait over a year or more to get a wine that you expect. I normally never open a bottle from a kit until it's 2 year anniversary. The particular brand you bought can give a specific off flavor that they call Kit Taste. It is sometimes referred to as a Jolly Rancher candy type of flavor/aroma. It does go away with time though and many can never detect it. I unfortunately can with every red kit from this brand. Some of the best wines I have made were from Wine Expert though. Just be prepared to give it time to mature and develop.
Smurfe, thanks for that great information. Boy, it's gonna be tough waiting it out while the wine comes to mature!

Waves hello to you too Allie
If you like white wines as well, make up some of those as well. They mature a whole lot faster. You can make the less expensive white kits as well and make a pretty fine wine. Stick with the more top end kits in the reds though. You will be thankful in a year and a half to couple years when you pop that bottle open.
Hello newbie, i'm just a little south in TJ

I'll be tracking your post to see how it goes

Sounds like your on the right track PHAT, if you like brewing beer you will enjoy making wine as we.. Lot of experienced fruit wine makers in here if you decide to go in that direction. Check out the recipe section in here, there are some good ones in there. Some of them are more simple than others.

Keep in touch.


What are you looking for in the forum? Hope you find it here. This place has been a big help to me. I hope you get a lot out getting to know everyone here too.

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