Orange Fruit (Mead) Wine with Champagne Red Star© Yeast

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Nov 25, 2008
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The title pretty much says it all. I'm looking for a semi-medium sweet sparkling orange melomel. I have read about using not just the real orange juice filtered, but adding the zest as well.

Any tips would be appreciated, this is a very friendly website! :)
Making a sparkling wine on the sweeter side is a not so easy task to do without loosing some carbonation. Hee is an article on making a sweeter sparkling wine.
Making Champagne
Method One
This method will make any wine sparkle, whether red, rosé or white.
Make a top quality dry table wine, 10 - 11.5% alcohol by volume. This alcohol limit is important, careful use of a hydrometer will ensure that you do no exceed 11.5% AC.
When the wine is stable and very clear, probably six months old, rack it and add 1 1/2 ounces - NO MORE - of sugar per gallon.
Immediately bottle in champagne bottles (This is essential as ordinary bottles won't stand
the pressure) with plastic stoppers properly wired down. You can purchase plastic
stoppers at wine supply stores.
Stand the bottles upright and store for 12 to 18 months.
This gives you a dry, sparkling wine with about 28 lbs. per square inch pressure. Each bottle will have a slight sediment. Chill before serving, handle the bottles gently, and the sediment will give you no trouble. This is by far the simplest method. If you measure carefully, you should have no explosions and no flat bottles.
Method Two
This method is a bit more troublesome, but yields a sweet, sparkling wine without sediment.
Make a basic dry table wine, 10 - 11.5% alcohol by volume, finished, clear and stable.
Take two ounces of sugar for each gallon of wine and make it into a syrup with a little water. Thoroughly mix the wine and syrup. (DO NOT try adding more sugar to get more sparkle!).
Be sure of a good second fermentation, add one packet of Champagne Yeast or good all-purpose wine yeast to the mixture and 1/4 teaspoon per gallon (NO MORE) of yeast energizer.
Siphon the sweetened wine into Champagne bottles and cap with crown caps. Store at 65º to 70ºF. Once a month pick up each bottle, turn upside down and then put back upright. After three months all the sugar should be converted to Carbon Dioxide and alcohol. Yeast deposited on the bottom will show you that the sparkle is there. When you think the wine is ready, taste one bottle. Cool it in the refrigerator, open it and see if the wine really sparkles. If so, proceed as follows, ( by the way, this test is a delightful excuse for sampling your wine early).
Next, place your bottles in a freezer and chill the wine to about 25ºF. This usually takes two to three hours. You may see a little ice within the bottles when they are ready. Now get an equal number of champagne bottles. Put into each of these bottles one ounce standard sugar syrup and one tablet of wine stabilizer (Crushed and dissolved potassium sorbate), and put these bottles into the freezer along with the wine. The stabilizer is essential to inhibit the yeast and prevent a third fermentation and possible explosions.
When the wine is cold enough, bring out one bottle of wine and one champagne bottle. Uncap the wine and siphon it gently into the cold Champagne bottle, taking care to leave the sediment behind. Since the wine is cold, it will loose very little gas. Now insert the plastic stopper and wire it down. Then invert the bottle several times to mix the syrup and wine.
This wine will be very palatable almost immediately after bottling. Note, that one ounce of syrup gives brut (Slightly Sweet) wine. If you want a Sweet wine, use two ounces of syrup per bottle, plus the wine stabilizer tablet.
* Sugar Syrup 2 cups of sugar per one quart water yields five cups of syrup.
Sparkling Wine by Adding C02

Someone once told me that you can bypass the whole second fermentation thing by injecting carbon dioxide similar to the way it is done in making beer. The trick, I was told, is to get a wine that has a 15% - 18% alcohol level, pour into your pressure chamber, chill the container in a bucket of ice, inject C02 to 20 psi for 24 hours, and bottle straight from the presurized container into Champagne bottles. The taste is supposedly no different than store bought Sparkling Wine and can be consumed at any time.

I don't want to invest in all the gear if this is not true. Do you know of any sources to check out?
I don't know why you couldn't take a stable wine and place it in a corney keg like beer brewers use and attach the CO2 to it to carbonate. The use a Beer Gun or counter pressure filler to fill the bottles and the cork and cage.
You have no idea! I can't count that high! I was lucky enough to have a friend in the liquor store business that gave me for free their old display racks. I fill them all with Mumms sparkling wine. The rest of the whites and reds I have are for gifts or cooking.
when I make sparkling wine I just bottle alittle early and wait for all the corks to shoot out and spray wine all over room. The sparkling red really sucks to clean up :)
I don't know why you couldn't take a stable wine and place it in a corney keg like beer brewers use and attach the CO2 to it to carbonate. The use a Beer Gun or counter pressure filler to fill the bottles and the cork and cage.
I took Smurfe's advise and got me a corny keg and a counter pressure filler. It took some experimenting, but I finally worked out a procedure that makes a great sparkling.

1. Fill the corney keg to about 3/4.
2. Place in the refrigerator and get the temperature as cold as it will go; preferrably just close to freezing.
3. Place your empty bottles in the freezer.
4. At its coldest, place 30psi of C02 on the corney, lay it on its side, and shake like hell until you don't hear the gurgling. This takes about 10 - 15 minutes.
5. Using your pressure filler still at 30psi, slowly fill your bottle. I usually flush out the oxygen first with a blast of C02. With plastic champagne cork in hand, remove the filler and quickly insert the cork. You only have a second or two before it foams out of the bottle. If too slow, you'll end up with a face full of sparkling wine.
6. Attach your wire support and wait a day or two before labling. The bottle will swet until it gets to room temp, so most lables won't stick during that time.
7. Store away in a dry cool place as you would any wine. It is ready to drink any time so aging is not a factor with sparkling as it is with regular wine. Still, some do get better with time.

I have conducted taste tests at parties comparing my sparkling whites against expensive Champagne. Many of my guests cannot tell the difference to my $1.50 per bottle to that of a $30 bottle of French Champagne. I seldom bottle anything else these days.