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WhineMaker

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Hello All!

I currently have 2 paklab kits going.. The first is a Vino Italiano Chardonnay(4 week kit), the second a Reserve Du Chateau Barolo(4 week kit).. The Chard has been in a primary for 12 days.. It started at 1.084 and is currently at 1.030.. The Barolo has only been in the 4 days, started at 1.092 and is already at 1.030. The temp has been steady for both, and the only difference is I used tap water on the chard, and spring water on the Barolo.. Could this account for the difference in speed of fermentation? The chard never really took off, and the barolo has been going like crazy. I failed to write down the type of yeast that came with the kits (now kicking myself), but I assume they both use the same one.. The directions for both are identical.. Bentonite in 2L followed by concentrate, topping up with water, and pitching yeast.. Pitched both at 68F and fermentation temps are steady at 66F. Our tap water is city water and is good quality.. I've used it for some beer batches before and never had a problem. BTW, this is the first wine kit I have done using tap water and never experienced slow fermentation on any others.. I repitched the chard(at 1.036) with a EC1118 starter on friday evening, and it hasn't seemed to speed things up at all. It definatley isn't stalled right out as I am getting a bubble every 3 seconds or so.. Did I ruin it by using tap water? Or can this be considered typical, and just wait it out to 1.020 and transfer.. Sorry for the long winded post, but wanted to be specific as possible..

BTW.. How about a Paklab forum.. They seem to be popular online at Amazon, and a relative newcomer... At least to a newbie like me.. ;)
They make Reserve Du Chateau(4,6 week), Vino Italiano(4 week), Cornucopia(4 week fruit) and Chateau Classico(6 week). Can't comment on overall quality of the kits, but they do come with corks, capsules and labels.. My inlaws got the chard kit for us, and I bought the Barolo a week later.. Has anyone had more experience, good or bad, with paklab products??
 
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Tom

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You have a White and a Red. I'll bet there are 2 different yeasts. That being said each wine will ferment a little different. The most important thing is read and follow the directions.
 

WhineMaker

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Thankyou for easing my mind Tom.. I was just a little nervous about using tap water. I have read somewhere that others have used tap water without issues..
 

Tom

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I say If it's good enough for you to drink it's good enough to make wine. Just don't use distilled water.
 

WhineMaker

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All is good to this point.. Transferred both last night, and they were both at 1.016.. Smell real good, and the Barolo is still bubbling like crazy.. Added oak to secondary on that one, and am adding oak to Chard later today(As soon as I get it from LHBS.
 

WhineMaker

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Using my oak spirals on the Chard, and chips on the barolo.. Going to age the barolo a little more than the chard, and add a spiral to it at next step...
 

Tom

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This from a Tim Vandergrift Blog on Paklab kits. Like he said a good starting point. Remember you get what you pay for.




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While I don't want to denigrate the quality of the kits that Costco offers (afer all, many people like them and find the quality suitable to their taste) keep in mind that Costco dictates price to their suppliers. In order to meet the pricing demands, it's necessary to take as much cost as possible from the kits, so it's unlikely you'll find a super-high-end-premium kit there.

But if price is your criteria, heck, they can't be beaten--any independent retailer who tried to live on an 8% margin (Costco's mandated marginal rate) would rapidly wind up homeless.


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Technical Services Manager, Winexpert Ltd.
Now blogging mercilessly: http://www.timswineblog.com/
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WhineMaker

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Yeah.. Pretty much knew what I was getting into with these.. My wife and I are very easy to please when it comes to wine.. We are setting our expectations low, that way if it turns out good, we will be happy.. The Chard was actually given to us, and we get half the bounty.. The Barolo we purchased on our own... I have actually never tried a Barolo, so I am not sure if I should try a commercial one before ours is done! ;)
 
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Tom

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Wait till you bottle it before you get a retail bottle.Then your expectations will not be to high :D
 

Wade E

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Youll be surprized at the price of a Barolo as they arent cheap.
 

Tom

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The cheapest Amarone around here is almost $50.00 for the youngest wine and its 5 years old !
 

WhineMaker

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Hmmm. When top up time comes what inexpensive wine would be compatible.. Hate to spend as much on the kit as a top up wine..:D
 

WhineMaker

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My Barolo was stable for 2 days at 0.992 with no sign of activity, so I racked and degassed it last night.. Took a couple hours to fully degas with my whip degasser. Lots of CO2 in this one. The Chard is still not done fermanting and is at 0.998 right now with a bubble every 5 seconds or so... This one has lagged behind with a much slower fermentation. The chard was started almost a full week before the Barolo and that one is already clearing. Not overly concerned, I haven't noticed any off smells coming from it..
 

WhineMaker

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Also, had my first experience with a 6 gal better bottle.. Next time I will use this only for secondary fermentation. Discovered something I should have already known.. You can not pull vacuum in one of these very well..
 

WhineMaker

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After I topped up I tried to use my winesaver to see if I could pull any more gas out, and all it did was pull the wine up to the neck and almost into my airlock.. Glass works much better IMO when trying this method..
 

cpfan

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And why not ?
Tom:

I haven't done this with a Better Bottle, but I have with a different brand of plastic carboy. The vacuum causes the sides of the carboy to pull in. You need to be VERY Careful about how much vacuum. If you're not topped up too much, you can pull some CO2 out of the wine though.

Steve
 

Tom

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Oh, I never thought of that.
 

Wade E

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Kind of like trying to pick up a very full plastic carboy, the sides or bottom does give a little and the wine goes up into the airlockand back through the airlock when put back down.
 

WhineMaker

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After a slow fermentation, and over 6 weeks, our Chardonnay was bottled last night.. Got 30.5 bottles, with the .5 being our reward.. This turned out much better than I thought it would, being a cheap kit. It spent 2 weeks in primary, 3 weeks in secondary with added oak spirals(finished at 0.992) and another week clearing(no oak). After spending all that time in the secondary, there was alot of sediment left when I transferred for finning. After 2 days clearing, it was crystal clear, but waited to bottle anyways. This wine has a great nose and an awesome buttery oak flavor.. Very smooth.. Going to get another one of these.. I know wine can benefit from age, but can't imagine this one getting any better than it already is! The Barolo was bottled last week, and although it was very palatable, can tell it needs some time to lose harshness/bottle shock.
 

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