OK. Time for some direction. Advice?

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vinny

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Soooo, this afternoon I was working on a project and hopped up into my storage area in the shop. I found 3x 1 gallon jugs and 2x 1/2 gallon jugs.

It was a moment. For a second I was excited! Hell ya! Then.. I thought this is getting out of hand. I fired up the malt hard lemonade the other day, so I WAS officially out of vessels.

I have every intention of doing another batch, but I was thinking I would try a kit 5-6 gallon kit. Red; Merlot, shiraz, whatever.. is something that is always on hand for sipping and cooking. So, I thought I would try a kit with this in mind. Safe, simple, something I know won't go to waste. Now, I can continue to experiment with some smaller batches, too, but I have to get organized first.

I wasn't aware of degassing, but I happen to have a vacuum pump. I'm going to do an sg read to make sure everything is finished dry, then I'll degas and let the Skeeter Pee, DD, and Raspberry clear, back sweeten, bottle, drink.. etc.

The White and Triple Berry I plan to let bulk age. I have 2 gallons of TB and 1 of White. I want to leave 1g of TB pretty well as is and maybe split the other gallon, play with acid blend and other flavors to learn to identify them. Reading through this forum ingredients like grapefruit, pepper corns, zests, and a few others have me intruiged. Any suggestions for additives that really make a fruit wine interesting, and how much to add?

I left the white basic. 1/8 tsp acid blend, sugar, water, nutrient, etc. Should I just leave it be and revisit later? Better to make adjustments now?

I wanted to try the quick recipes and if I like 1 or 2, get larger batches going to have some easy and interesting offers on hand for summer. If any of the above recipes are keepers I'll mix up a 5-6 gallon batch once I get a taste.

Other than that is a kit a logical next step? I would likely get it going after bottling in a couple weeks, which will give me time to find something suitable.

This afternoon I thought I could throw a couple more gallons into the mix, but unless anyone has an interesting suggestion, I'm thinking it's time to commit to a full batch and get started on some real aging. I can use all this experimentation to decide where to go with future batches, and I will have more ingredient choices in the coming seasons to do something more elaborate.
 
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Yup, seriously addicted. I regret to inform you there is no cure -- all you can do is treat the symptoms by making more wine. But don't worry too much, many of us have dealt with this for decades and we (outwardly) resemble respectable adults.

For the first large batch? Purchase a FWK Tavola kit with no skin packs. It doesn't matter which one. Use 1 oz medium toast for bulk aging. This wine can be bottled in 6 months, drinkable a month later. It will get better with time, but will be drinkable.

If you have a second carboy, buy the same variety in a Forte kit, and make it according to directions. Bulk age this one 9-12 months. Make sure you hang onto 3 bottles of the Tavola, so you can compare 3, 6, and 9 months after bottling the Forte.

This will get you a red drinkable in September, while you experience the differences the extra oomph provided by the skin packs and more oak provide.
 

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* gas is your friend as long as you are in the carboy
* next batch, the first place to look is the freezer, we are looking toward spring and we need to get it ready for 2022 gardening. Kits are a good place to practice if there aren’t any more raspberries in the freezer.
* additives, I look at pie recipes to see how flavors blend. This weeks pie has 1/8tsp white pepper in it, just to see how it would blend out, (I don’t taste it but I do pick out ginger) The food lab at work uses “model systems” since months in a carboy ties up the hardware. Me I try flavors out in pies, ,,,, making wine follows the same flavor rules as all cooking.
aware of degassing, , , , Any suggestions for additives that really make a fruit wine interesting, and how much to add?, , , . Other than that is a kit a logical next step? I would likely get it going after bottling in a couple weeks, which will give me time to find something suitable.
 

vinny

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gas is your friend as long as you are in the carboy

Thank you, I was only intending to degas those I want to clear, I'll leave the white and TB for now.


Purchase a FWK Tavola kit with no skin packs. It doesn't matter which one.

Doesn't matter which one? Just meaning pick my preference?

I like the idea of doing a Tavola and Forte for the taste comparison. Unfortunately off the hop the site wouldn't take my shipping address so I have reached out to see if delivery is available in my area.

I stopped into the local shop today and they carry WinXpert. A decent selection too. Thoughts? Brutal honesty is preferred, I'm not making it for the point of making it. I want this one to be enjoyable.

Otherwise, I have Amazon. Cellar Master, Wild Grapes, Argentia Ridge, and Cru seem to be the most readily available.
 
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Doesn't matter which one? Just meaning pick my preference?
Yes. They're all equivalent for this purpose, so make what appeals to you.

I stopped into the local shop today and they carry WinXpert. A decent selection too.
Go with the Reserve line, picking one that doesn't include skins. If it includes aging oak, use only 1 oz.

I started the WE Australian Chardonnay and Australian Cabernet Sauvignon in Sep 2020, bottling in March 2021, and served at my son's wedding reception last Oct. These wines tasted good at bottling time, and were a hit at the reception.
 

vinny

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I have no Idea what is happening to me.

I made a mistake. I checked Kijiji for an idea of wine supply costs, I found a gold mine. I am planning to drive hours to the city tomorrow to pick up a ridiculous amount of wine equipment for pennies on the dollar.

What is the deal? I can't remember the last time I wanted something enough to drive to the city for it.

I haven't got a finished product. Nothing to sample, taste, share, enjoy, but I gotta make more. I need vessles to store it, places to put it, bottles, racks, and supplies to make it.

So off I go...

There is a wine supply store MOSTLY on my route. They carry Mosti Mondiale. I like the idea of a bucket of straight juice, but thought I would ask for your thoughts before I head in so I have a little to consider while I am perusing their selection. Their site shows they have kits and pails of juice. Should I stick with a kit, should I try both.

5 of each? 10?

Is this an Invasion of the Body Snatcher's kinda thing? Has something taken over my mind and it needs wine to survive?
 

Rice_Guy

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in my journey the vinters club has been an excellent source for stuff, ,,, the local store resells buckets from the vinters club at twice the price, ,,, red grape buckets work well, white grape buckets tend to have a risk of VSC (H2S, assorted volatile sulfur compounds) so learn about yeast nutrition before doing a white.
f wine supply costs, I found a gold mine. I am planning to drive hours to the city tomorrow to pick up a ridiculous amount of wine equipment for pennies on the dollar. . . . . a bucket of straight juice, but thought I would ask for your thoughts
I do more country than grape, possibly a sin that comes from gardening.
 

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I do the majority of my fermentation using buckets of juice. Kits when they are on sale to the point of being economically equivalent. Kits also have more variety, flavorings, sourcing, blends, etc. than juice buckets. So it’s good experience to start with one or two of each. Make your mistakes and decide if you want to go down one path or both.
 

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in my journey the vinters club has been an excellent source for stuff, ,,, the local store resells buckets from the vinters club at twice the price, ,,, red grape buckets work well, white grape buckets tend to have a risk of VSC (H2S, assorted volatile sulfur compounds) so learn about yeast nutrition before doing a white.

I do more country than grape, possibly a sin that comes from gardening.

I too am an avid gardener. Several years ago I started picking wild blackberries at the back of the property to give my youngsters fresh fruit for dinner. After a few days in a row they said, “no thanks, we’re good”. So I put them in the freezer. By thanksgiving I had enough to do a few gallons that I turned into a port. Now I make a batch every year.
 

vinny

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white grape buckets tend to have a risk of VSC (H2S, assorted volatile sulfur compounds) so learn about yeast nutrition before doing a white.

I didn't make the wine shop in the city, but I ended up finding a new store in town. I got 2 kits. A Vineco Pinot Gris, and Winexpert Shiraz only to realize after the fact that they are both the same parent company. I will have some time to research nutrients while these are fermenting, Then I'll see what is available for grape buckets. Thanks for mentioning that.

I do the majority of my fermentation using buckets of juice. Kits when they are on sale to the point of being economically equivalent. Kits also have more variety, flavorings, sourcing, blends, etc. than juice buckets. So it’s good experience to start with one or two of each. Make your mistakes and decide if you want to go down one path or both.

I think I will give this a shot. If I can find buckets locally I might try a white and red as a side by side comparison to these kits.

Nope. Situation normal. You've been bitten by the winemaking bug -- it will either run its course and leave you behind, shaken and bruise, but quite alive. If not, treat the symptoms by making more wine.

Not passing by yet. I've already pitched these kits. I Got a 160ish bottle wine rack on my run, so I'll aim to fill that with the next few experiments and then when I have enough aging I'll hopefully be able to pull it back and try to uphold the respectable adult thing..

------

In my original post there were a lot of replies about multiple year aging, minimum a year for a white. Does this apply more to fresh grape wines, berry wines, and grape buckets over kits, or do many of you age your red kits two years and whites a year at least?

I get it is going to taste better over time no matter what, just wondering if 2 years is a general minimum for reds, kit or not. I'm not going to get there with these first batches, but it takes the concern of making too much out of the equation until I get way backed up.

Is there any notable difference with bottle aging. More possibility for oxidation based in headspace per bottle vs a single carboy? I am just considering bottling some at 8 weeks and racking to a 3 gallon carboy to continue bulk aging.
 

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* a general statement,
a 10,000 gallon stainless tank has less oxidation risk > than a 7gallon PET which is about the same as a 5 gallon glass carboy > and a 1 gallon has more risk of oxidation > and a 750ml has faster oxidation. ,,,, with a larger volume you spread the contaminating oxygen/ head space over a larger volume. Looking in details if you flush with nitrogen or vacuum cork you can reduce the oxidation risk significantly.
A red grape wine with polyphenols (tannic) will age better than a rose/ quickly pressed red juice and that will age better than a white which has low polyphenols content.
A fruit wine as a high tannin bitter sharp apple or choke cherry or aronia will age better than an eating apple (<5 mg/ L polyphenols) or a strawberry or peach. ,,, And worse yet would be an extremely low solids (LD Carlson chemical recipie) dandelion wine.
Any wine with a metal cap/ Saran liner will age better than a Nomacork Reserva which is better than natural cork and about the same as 600 grade Nomacork (which is etched to mimic natural).
As a home wine maker you can’t really control oxygen in process,,, racking, or pressing off the skins or bottling. The primary tool you have is to run high/ over 50ppm SO2 if your intent is to increase shelf life.
In my original post there were a lot of replies about multiple year aging, minimum a year for a white. Does this apply more to fresh grape wines, berry wines, and grape buckets over kits, or do many of you age your red kits two years and whites a year at least?
,,, I get it is going to taste better over time no matter what, just wondering if 2 years is a general minimum for reds, kit or not. I'm not going to get there with these first batches, but it takes the concern of making too much out of the equation until I get way backed up.,,, Is there any notable difference with bottle aging. More possibility for oxidation based in headspace per bottle vs a single carboy? I am just considering bottling some at 8 weeks and racking to a 3 gallon carboy to continue bulk aging.
The AWRI has put out some data which pushed Australian wines to metal caps.
 
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vinny

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* a general statement,

I love that the answers are never just yes/no or I think. It's always here's more than you ever thought you would know about oxidizing wine. You're welcome!

I've mentioned in earlier posts that I am doing my own research, it wouldn't be fair to just pick your brains for knowledge, but I like to hear the experienced responses to clarify what info I am finding.

I actually came across this info on Australia. I was trying to figure out if I wanted to cork or cap, but decided corks because it seemed simpler, at least more common. Screw top bottles don't fit corks, corking bottles are readily available at local stores, reds can benefit from a corks ability to breath, and so on, so I figured pick the standard. Is it worth considering doing both? Cork reds, cap whites?

I have CO2 for carbonating. I have seen that people will flood their carboys with CO2 when racking, obviously to force out O2. It was noted that this is more important with a white, specifically the grape I am using. Is this a common quality/safety measure for the home wine maker or is this a little over kill unless I plan to store for a long time?

It does seem to me that it would be beneficial to rack off to a smaller carboy. Because I am curious and excited to see what I am making as well as how things progress with time, a smaller amount of bottles to spread over a few months would be excellent for comparing while allowing the rest to bulk age.

Could it be interpreted that bottle aging is an excellerated aging process with the quantity ratio of air to wine, or is it moreso that bottling is the beginning of degredation.
 

vinny

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These kits have the same instructions, basically mix, lid, and leave undisturbed for two weeks. I have seen comments from people saying they followed instructions to the letter at first and then moved back to what they know is good wine making practice to create a better product. Should I follow instructions or stir every day until the sg drops?
 

vinny

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Go with the Reserve line, picking one that doesn't include skins. If it includes aging oak, use only 1 oz.

I did as instructed, sir!.. Mostly. I had it in my mind that you recommended only 1 package so I added an oz and a half of the 3 ounces included in the kit.

I am just wondering why I did this. Do you find it overpowering, or is this so I can experience more fruit flavors than additives?
 
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As a home wine maker you can’t really control oxygen in process,,, racking, or pressing off the skins or bottling. The primary tool you have is to run high/ over 50ppm SO2 if your intent is to increase shelf life.
This is my take as well.

In my original post there were a lot of replies about multiple year aging, minimum a year for a white. Does this apply more to fresh grape wines, berry wines, and grape buckets over kits, or do many of you age your red kits two years and whites a year at least?
The short answer is "every wine is different". As @Rice_Guy said, wines higher in tannin, ABV, sugar, and/or acid are likely to have a longer shelf life, and will correspondingly need more aging. The intermix is complex, and while we can made pretty good predictions based upon the constituents, there are no guarantees.

A lot of white and light fruits are ready to drink at 6 months, sometimes. less. Some whites, such as Chardonnay, are often longer aged due to the grape qualities. Red and dark fruits fermented on the skins will take longer to age, and those bulk aged with oak, longer yet as oak increases tannin. Red juice buckets and lighter kits age quicker, as they do not have the constituents from the skin and pulp that increase tannin and body.

I recently bottled a 5 month old FWK Barbera, made with no skin packs and aged with 1 oz oak. It's drinkable now, bright and fruity. This same kit, made with 2 skin packs and aged with 2 oz oak would produce a totally different wine, as it would have a lot more body and tannin, and I'd bulk age it a year instead of 4 months.

Keep in mind that personal tastes are key. As much as I like heavy reds, I also like bright fruity ones, so making a wine for quicker consumption fills one need while bulk aging another for a year fills that other need. Do what you need to do, to meet your personal needs.

These kits have the same instructions, basically mix, lid, and leave undisturbed for two weeks. I have seen comments from people saying they followed instructions to the letter at first and then moved back to what they know is good wine making practice to create a better product. Should I follow instructions or stir every day until the sg drops?
FWK is changing the landscape in kit winemaking. I never had a lot of trust in the WE and RJS kit instructions, as they were clearly geared towards the beginner with no background and no help. In that respect, the instructions work, but not optimal.

FWK instructions are geared towards the beginner, but @Matteo_Lahm and Matt P of LabelPeelers are also explaining the details in a fashion that makes sense to experienced winemakers.

For a WE kit that contains no skins, I'd ferment down to ~1.000, then rack into a 23 liter carboy and let it go a week to complete fermentation. Although I haven't done this in the past, I'd remove enough wine to degas, add the fining agents, and let it rest 7-14 days before racking.

For a kit with skins, I'd follow the FWK instructions. Ferment down to 1.010-1.020, stirring at least once per day. Seal the fermenter and let it rest under airlock for a total of 2 to 3 weeks, extract as much "stuff" from the skin and pulp. Then move to a carboy.

In the past I used 19 liter carboys and put excess wine in a series of smaller bottles. I'm getting lazier and/or smarter, and put the wine in 23 liter carboys, topping up with a compatible wine. It's a lot less hassle to have a single container to manage, than having 2 to 5.
 

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