Old wine kit -What to do with this??

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three_jeeps

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A number of years ago (12?) had a flood in my basement and in the mad dash to arrange things, I took a unopened expertwine Merlot kit, put it in a plastic container, sealed it and put it on a shelf in my re-arranged basement. Time went on, family events increased and I forgot all about the kit. I recently discovered it (sorta feel like Indiana Jones).

My first reaction was to discard it, but...got to thinking about it.....maybe usable??? Thought I'd look for some advice here. Try to make the 5gal as is? create a fpac? employ some doctoring techniques to it and see what happens?doc
If this is salvageable, best approach to use it?

Guidance much appreciated.
Thanks
j
 

cmason1957

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That number of years thing makes me think toss it. If it were 5, maybe 6 or 7 years, then maybe I would make it, but after 12-ish years, I would certainly open it, smell it, look at it and probably throw it away. Casting a tear or four.
 

VinesnBines

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What harm is there in making the kit? Isn’t everything there? I loathe trashing anything. I might try fresh yeast but I might try the included yeast just for the heck of it.
 

my wine

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All you would lose is your time and labor. I would try it unless, as cmason said, if it smelled bad, toss it.
 

Rice_Guy

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From a food perspective, the juice in the kit was processed to produce a shelf stable package. It is an aqueous system therefore painty/ oxidized oils will not be an issue. The sugars in a shelf stable package won’t go away, the minerals are there, the vitamins will have had some degradation, but probably less than what was lost in the initial package. The peak aromas probably have degraded so fruity notes are reduced. ,,,, ie as a calorie source it is good.

As @cmaison1957 open it and smell it, if it has reacted producing off aroma it probably has leaked and become infected , :s ,infected food needs to be tossed! ,,,,,, I however will bet that the quality is reasonable, ,,,,, if I look downstairs I know that I have strawberry jam from 2001 which is ok, not nice and red any more, but tastes ok. Likewise in the old days I could go in mom’s basement and find ten year old canned beets, beans,apple butter, ,,, and even twenty year old wine. All were healthy foods, some of the wine was a nice flavor vinegar which mom decided to use as salad dressing, and some was a nice flavor wine which I bottled for her grand kids. Again look for leakage since that lets air into the product which lets molds grow.

Merlot is a red, therefore started with a good antioxidant load. ,,, Reds tend to be run hot (a hot ferment kills aromatics) and have flavors built back by oaking or extracting tannins from the skins. I would run the kit and plan from the start that it would get oaked. The color likely has some brown, sorry other than running it on activated charcoal I can’t change it (but you don’t want to pull fruit notes out). A second direction might be to add in a pleasing spice producing a wassail not the oak note.
 

winemaker81

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I've made kits that were 3.5 years old, and the juice bag seemed just as fresh as a new one. I agree that 12 years is a bit extreme ... but nothing ventured, nothing gained. Open, sniff, and if you don't gag, proceed!

Many moons ago I had a WineArt kit (anyone remember that brand?) that I stored in my attic for a couple of years. Summer in NC is hot and my attic was hotter -- that kit was really nasty when I opened it. But storage in the basement is a totally different situation, so I have some hope that it will work out.
 

salcoco

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toss the chemicals and yeast resupply. I had a method for taking the brown out of oxidized wine but I have misplaced it. I believe you use dry milk add water and add to wine will stirring the wine. the milk has to be infused into the wine not just placed on surface, I believe it would be once ounce of milk to one liter of wine. possibly Google for caring of oxidized wine and you can find it.
 

winemaker81

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toss the chemicals and yeast resupply
Agreed -- yeast, sulfite, and sorbate have limited shelf lives. Skip replacing the sorbate -- if the wine is dry it is unnecessary. Kit vendors include sorbate in all kits to avoid problems when the customer fails to ferment the wine all the way.

I could not find information regarding the shelf life of kieselsol/chitosan, so I'd replace them as well.

The only one to keep is the bentonite, which to my knowledge has as very long shelf life. It's clay -- unless the package is no longer granules (e.g., clumped together) it's fine.
 

three_jeeps

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Thank you all for your insight. When I did the post, my thinking was to toss all the chemicals, get fresh ones, add some nutrients, and use only the juice and add oak. Reading your comments, aided by some doctoring articles I’ve recently read, I think I am going to make it after checking for any bad odors. Yes will update.

I’ll look into the milk ingredient, never heard or done that before.

Any specific doctoring for a red that I should try with a juice this old? Maybe throw in a 750ml bottle of cab or Malbec to give it a little better feel a week before bottling?
 
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VinesnBines

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I would say add some oak chips in the primary, perhaps pump the SG a little (not over 1.100), try an Fpack of black cherries or plums (Merlot flavors), you could try some chocolate syrup after primary to make a chocolate Merlot - threads around on chocolate. Let taste be your guide.

If it seems oxidized a bit, I'd play with making a Madeira. Pack it in a carboy and stuff it in a hot attic for the summer. You have a chance to play with it without much investment. Have fun and don't sweat it.
 

winemaker81

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Maybe throw in a 750ml bottle of cab or Malbec to give it a little better feel a week before bottling?
That's hard to say until you know what the juice is like. @VinesnBines's suggestion of an F-Pack is a good idea if you want it off-dry. Given my own tastes, I might add cherries or other fruit with pectic enzyme before fermentation, then ferment dry.

Before bottling, if the body is thin, add glycerin.
 

fuzzmeister

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This is my opinion! To make good tasting wine it takes time and fresh grape juice! If you use old grape juice you will get old tasting wine! It’s like taking a 12 year old steak out of your deep freeze and hoping it will taste good!
 

winemaker81

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To make good tasting wine it takes time and fresh grape juice! If you use old grape juice you will get old tasting wine!
Nope. I've made kits that were 3 years old that came out fine -- the juice bag was as bright and purple as a new kit. Some folks are buying 3 yo frozen juice buckets and producing good wine from them. The preservation system and storage conditions make the difference.

12 years old is pushing it - I don't have high expectations. But if the juice/concentrate in the bag is good, the wine will be fine. As I already said, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
 

fuzzmeister

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I know a guy that bought a wine kit and some how forgot about it! He sold his house and was in the process of cleaning it out and found it! He estimated he had it for 5 or 6 years he thought he would try fermenting it, so he got new yeast to add to it when he opened the juice bag it was brown but proceeded to try it! It fermented and the SG was down to what it was supposed to be on the instructions! So he got some new sulphite, sorbate and kiesol, chitosan, he ended up pouring it down the drain because he could not clarify it! Every wine kit has a expiration date on it! And it is a guideline that can be exceeded! But 12 years I would not waste my time.
 

heatherd

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You'll need to toss your chemicals and yeast and get new ones.
 

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