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Not a question but an observation

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BernardSmith

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You may have heard that when allowed to age wine can improve in flavor and you might have sorta kinda shrugged and nodded and agreed but thought - OK but how much better can a wine get. Well, I just cracked open a bottle of mixed berry wine I made 5 years ago and when I made it I was rather disappointed with the lack of body and the relative lack of flavor. But five years after I bottled this baby the wine is now full bodied and has a delightful fruity sweetness. I cannot believe the difference. It is truly, truly a different wine. In fact one of the reasons I have been making mead rather than fruit wines over the last few years is precisely because of my (relative) dissatisfaction with my berry wines. Five years and my baby is a grown up. Bottom line: be prepared to age your wines. Sadly, this was the last bottle of a very small batch. Gotta make some more.. and in five years I will be .. five years older...
 

cmason1957

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You are absolutely correct Bernard. One of the wines I made my first year of making wines was a peach wine. Both my wife and I found it very blah, some body, but nothing special. No peach flavor to speak of. Fast forward 5 years later and we stumbled upon the last bottle of it, that had gotten hidden away somewhere. WOW, what a difference, great body, wonderful peach taste throughout. We now take 1 case of almost everything we make and put it away, under the basement steps, hard to get at. Wait two or three years after bottling. Lesson learned.
 

Scooter68

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Very true - And that's one of the hardest things to learn as a newbie. Only 3 years in and all my original wine is gone but those that are aged at least 2 years have already turned the corner.

Now I just have to keep that pipeline loaded until I get some truly mature and awesome wines.

In my pipeline (Bulk Aging since)
Peach (July 2017)
Peach Vanilla (August 2017)
Tart Cherry (May 2018)
Sweet Cherry (July 2018)
Plum (July 2018)
Mango Pineapple (August 2018)
I normally bottle at one year unless the wine isn't clear (See Peach & Peach Vanilla)
I have about 85 bottles of various fruit wines of mixed vintages 2106 - 2017
Blueberry, Black Currant, Tart Cherry, Apple, Apricot, Loquat, Peach, Strawberry and then a few Zin & Blush Zin. Strawberry was about to be tossed at 14 - 15 months but I decided to let it sit. It's getting there now 2 1/2 years old and starting to be decent.
 
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Ajmassa

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Couldn’t agree more with everybody here. I’ve mentioned this before but I always refer back to it because it speaks volumes.
Before I joined this forum I made wine from juice buckets in the most basic way possible. Only thing ever added was yeast. We enjoyed it but was never anything special. Usually consumed in a year. Found an old discarded bottle that turned out to be a Cab I made about 4yrs prior. It was hands down no question the most impressive homemade wine we’ve ever had then. Full bodied, balanced, bouquet, finish—the whole 9. No sulphite or no temp control storage either. Learned a valuable lesson that day.
 

mainshipfred

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My first 3 wines are almost gone but it doesn't bother me much. I was learning and chances are they were never going to be that great. From spring and fall I have 11 varietals totaling 91 gallons of mostly all grape wine. Since I only drink a bottle or 2 a week that should allow for some to get some age on them if I could cut down on my give aways. That's kind of hard to do though. Might have to shoot for 150 gallons next year.
Spring 2018
11 Cab Sauv, 7 Carmenere, 6.5 Merlot and 7 Malbec
Fall 2018
8 Syrah, 9 OVZ, 8 Touriga, 12 Tempranillo, 7 PS, 6 Sauv Blanc, 8 Cab Franc and 3 misc topping up wines.
Still in carboys from 2017
3 Syrah, 3 Zin and 5 Barbera
 

balatonwine

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I would say with aging ... Yes it is true. Aging improves wine. But "how long" is more "it depends". On wine making style. Red versus white. Source of the must. Etc. For example, opening some white wines after 5 years may be a disappointment. ;)
 

FTC Wines

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Totally agree!! Like mason put stash cases away for 2 years before we put them on our wine racks, which hold 600+ bottles. It’s just so easy to grab a bottle off the racks or out of the chiller. Roy
 

Stressbaby

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I'm with @balatonwine on this one. They can go south just as easily as they can improve. In 2015 I made a pretty good lychee wine which took a silver at the KC Cellarmasters wine competition at 1 year. Now at 3 years it's already past it's peak and not really pleasant to drink at all.
 

bstnh1

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For red, I agree completely! I made some WE French Cabernet Sauvignon in 2012. I tried a bottle or two every year the and difference after 5 years was amazing!
 

BernardSmith

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Oh , I don't know... that might be the moral of your story. The moral of my story is that you need to make enough wine and mead to have a pipeline that is large enough to enable you to crack open bottles at their peak... Scarcity is not always a problem: there is after all, only one Mona Lisa and one Hamlet, and no matter how much you may love a good wine being limited to drink the same wine day after day, month after month, year after year may become a little... um unsatisfying. Give me variety. Give me choice but may the variety all be superlative...
 

GaDawg

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I agree with y’all, but who really believe that a new venter will make his first wine and not drink it for 5 years?
 

BernardSmith

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absolutely... but even if this new wine maker makes wine in single gallon batches and she (or he) puts away 1 bottle, they still will have 4 bottles to open.. and if they make a batch every week (I make mead and country wines rather than grape wines from kits or buckets of juice) then in a year they will have more bottles than they can drink so the pipeline is already well under way... and a batch might be 2 lbs of honey or 6 or 7 lbs of fruit... so the cost is not astronomical.. and the time involved is not imposing... What is a challenge is the space you need to store so many carboys and buckets...
 

Scooter68

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Yep - And for those of use who don't have deep pockets 1 gallon batches let us experiment with a wider variety wines to find the ones we like the best. I make 1 gallon and 3 gallon batches because those provide me enough to give away some and still have plenty age on the shelf. (Granted the oldest I have right now is 2016) I have 4 x 3gallon carboys and about a dozen 4 liter ones so the stuff I know I like I can go to 3 gallons batches. Or if the source for my juice is Vintners Harvest, their 96 oz cans are perfect for 3 gallon batches.
We each have different goals and priorities.
 

GaDawg

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I make wine from kits. No apologies, I like making wine from kits. I only have room to make one kit at a time, and I have room to store about 150 bottles. I try to alternate between early drinkers and wine to age. At the moment I am making a WE Luna Bianca, and on deck is a WE Eclipse Cabernet Sauvignon. My wife likes sweet wine so I have just bottled an RJS Orchard Breezin' Very Black Cherry Pinot Noir.
 

winemaker81

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I make wine from kits. No apologies, I like making wine from kits.
Good! Never apologize, at least not for making wine!

I recall reading Wagner's "Grapes Into Wine" the first time (still have the book). When I got to the end of the second page of Chapter 1, I realized the man was a snob. Continuing to read the book reinforced this in every way. The book is a good primer on making wine from fresh grapes, but the guy was a snob.

This is funny, as he is the guy who introduced French-American hybrids to the US. He had to deal with snobs who thought that wine was only made from vinifera. Yet he states that wine is only made from grapes -- ferment anything else and it's not wine.

I wonder what he would think of kits? :)

BTW: I have a Luna Bianca in production. I made one some years ago, and was highly pleased with the result. It's supposedly WE's most robust white. Although I haven't come close to trying all their white kits, it's the heaviest I've done. I'm thinking I'll put the bottles in cases and stash them in a closet, to help fight the urge to try one before a year is up.
 

Thig

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The moral of the story -- don't make small batches ... they're gone all too quickly!
I started out making 1 gallon batches but soon learned it was just as much effort as making a larger batch so I don't make anything under 3 gallons now.
 

winemaker81

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We each have different goals and priorities.
Absolutely true! We also have different resources, including financial and space.

I'm reaching the limit of my space, which is about 400 bottles. There are more wines I want to make ... but reality is asserting itself, as it often does. On the plus side, when making 5 gallon batches, 400 bottles is 16 varieties so I have choices. Plus enough to age.

Bernard made a great point about aging -- I made 5 gallons of metheglin in 1998, drank the last bottle in 2008. I rationed the last 5 bottles over the final 3 years as they had aged so nicely. At 1 year the mead was very good, but it got better each year. Non-wine makers hear "25 bottles" and freak at having "all that wine". Experienced wine makers understand that 25 bottles is often too little. It takes patience and storage space to keep a wine 1 year, much less 10.

Make enough wine and the patience part is handled (can only drink so much wine). Space is a harder consideration for most people.

Beer making is a completely different paradigm. Aging is months instead of years, and there's no problem reproducing a recipe. After a long hiatus I bottled a chocolate peanut butter porter in August. I noticed I have 1 case left and thought "well, I'll make another one".
On the plus side, it's something to drink while my wine is aging!:b
 

Thig

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This is funny, as he is the guy who introduced French-American hybrids to the US. He had to deal with snobs who thought that wine was only made from vinifera. Yet he states that wine is only made from grapes -- ferment anything else and it's not wine.
I am not a snob by any means but he may be right in a sense. Once you open the door that wine can be anything other than grapes then where do you draw the line? Fermented honey could be wine, fermented corn mash could be wine. I think we just choose to call fermented fruit wine like we call fermented honey mead.
 

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