Planning for first from grapes wine

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hawkwing

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I have 23 L car boys. Would 3 lugs be sufficient or would 2.5 fill them too?

Is there any pint to getting the Alicante for color if I have Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Merlot?
 
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I have 23 L car boys. Would 3 lugs be sufficient or would 2.5 fill them too?
I *think* 3 lugs will fill a 23 liter carboy, but not much leftover.

Is there any pint to getting the Alicante for color if I have Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Merlot?
IMO, yes. At this point, you don't know what you want, so giving yourself more choices expands your knowledge. Also, if any of the others are a bit short, you can use Alicante for topping. [This is coming from a guy who doesn't blink at blending, so take the advice with a grain of salt.]
 

hawkwing

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Ok thanks. While
I’m not sure about blending yet I’m assuming most of the wines I’ve purchased are probably blends and not pure varietals. So I’m not scared of blending but I do want to try each in the pure form as well. I might end up with two different supplier ls of zin and can as well so that’ll be interesting.
 

hawkwing

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Well I missed out on the Alicante as someone else got them. Regardless I have probably gone way overboard anyway.

Between two suppliers I’ll have 6 Cabernet Sauvignon, 6 Zinfandel and 3 Merlot. I’ll have to start drinking more wine.
 

Jim Welch

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Well I missed out on the Alicante as someone else got them. Regardless I have probably gone way overboard anyway.

Between two suppliers I’ll have 6 Cabernet Sauvignon, 6 Zinfandel and 3 Merlot. I’ll have to start drinking more wine.
Let some age! I repeat, let some age! It can be difficult but many red wines improve a lot with a year or two, or three under their belt. First kit wine I made was in spring 2015, a Cellar Craft Showcase Zinfandel was “drinkable” at 9-12 months, I wasn’t impressed and forgot about it in the basement. Around thanksgiving 2018 one of my adult daughters stopped by and asked for a bottle. She was back the next day for another. She told me it was good, I just said thanks. She replied, no Dad it was really really good, have you tried it? We’ll I had and did again and I was simply blown away. I could not believe how much it had changed. I entered that wine in the 2019 Wine Maker Mag amateur competition and won a silver medal. Not trying to brag just trying to make the point of what aging might do for a red wine so don’t drink all of what you have too fast!
 

hawkwing

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Well I definitely won’t drink it that fast lol. Will have 30-36 gallons likely. Probably take me a decade or two. I have some 20 year old chokecherry wine still. But I started making beer again too so I have to spread it out.

Honestly the reason it’s still around is probably because it’s packed away and not easy to get to. I need to remedy that.
 

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Well I definitely won’t drink it that fast lol. Will have 30-36 gallons likely. Probably take me a decade or two. I have some 20 year old chokecherry wine still. But I started making beer again too so I have to spread it out.

Honestly the reason it’s still around is probably because it’s packed away and not easy to get to. I need to remedy that.
that's a year's supply for me
 

hawkwing

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I was reading back a bit and come across the cold soak idea. Is this of any benefit when using enzymes? How much dry ice is needed to do this?
 

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I was reading back a bit and come across the cold soak idea. Is this of any benefit when using enzymes? How much dry ice is needed to do this?
The use of enzymes is kind of a substitute for cold soaking. If this is your very first grape wine, just concentrate on making a nice vintage. I would not overthink things and use a lot of technique that carries a degree of risk. You will be pleasantly shocked by how good your wine from grapes will be, just using normal winemaking procedures.

Regarding your amount of wine-you'll drink it earlier than you think, just to re-evaluate it, and see how it's changing over time. That's a big part of the fun of wine making. If your amounts are correct, you will yield 12-14 cases. I think you could easily drink that in 2-3 years. You gotta make room for 2023! My own evaluation process is bulk storage for a year with tasting only when racking. Then bottle. I taste a bottle per month for the next year, then typically give a bunch away if I'm pleased with it, and drink the rest over 3-5 years.

How do you plan to bulk store 36 gallons? That's a fair amount. I'll re-read your thread to see if you've answered that. Best of luck with your upcoming vintage.

edit: Nevermind. It seems you have demijohns which should work just fine. Consider putting them on a dolly on the floor, so they can be moved around when full.
 
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hawkwing

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The use of enzymes is kind of a substitute for cold soaking. If this is your very first grape wine, just concentrate on making a nice vintage. I would not overthink things and use a lot of technique that carries a degree of risk. You will be pleasantly shocked by how good your wine from grapes will be, just using normal winemaking procedures.

Regarding your amount of wine-you'll drink it earlier than you think, just to re-evaluate it, and see how it's changing over time. That's a big part of the fun of wine making. If your amounts are correct, you will yield 12-14 cases. I think you could easily drink that in 2-3 years. You gotta make room for 2023! My own evaluation process is bulk storage for a year with tasting only when racking. Then bottle. I taste a bottle per month for the next year, then typically give a bunch away if I'm pleased with it, and drink the rest over 3-5 years.

How do you plan to bulk store 36 gallons? That's a fair amount. I'll re-read your thread to see if you've answered that. Best of luck with your upcoming vintage.

edit: Nevermind. It seems you have demijohns which should work just fine. Consider putting them on a dolly on the floor, so they can be moved around when full.
Thanks for your advice!

I have quite a few 23L carboys and a few 11-13L and some 3 and 4 L jugs. Plus it’s usually not hard to find more carboys. I could also bottle something if I need an extra few. I picked up a whole bunch of used carboys and jugs in spring for cheap. Something like $50 for 8 carboys and a dozen 3 L jugs and another mini jet pump and whatever miscellaneous supplies he had.

I do have some 54 L demijohns in storage but I think I’m going to avoid them for ease of moving.

Another question how much oak and or tannin powder do you add if any when using grapes? I’ve read that tannins helps stabilize the color?
 

CDrew

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Another question how much oak and or tannin powder do you add if any when using grapes? I’ve read that tannins helps stabilize the color?

I use small amounts of FT Rouge sometimes, but I use less than more wine recommends. I don't think it's 100% needed especially with enzyme use. I also add a bit of Opti-red. I think that's a yeast hull product, not a tannin, but I do feel it benefits most red wines. In 2017 all of my wines were light in color, and since then, I have used enzymes(every time) and the FT Rouge(most times). I have gradually been using less and less of the tannin. I don't use any oak during fermentation.
 

hawkwing

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I use small amounts of FT Rouge sometimes, but I use less than more wine recommends. I don't think it's 100% needed especially with enzyme use. I also add a bit of Opti-red. I think that's a yeast hull product, not a tannin, but I do feel it benefits most red wines. In 2017 all of my wines were light in color, and since then, I have used enzymes(every time) and the FT Rouge(most times). I have gradually been using less and less of the tannin. I don't use any oak during fermentation.
I have natural grape tannin and some from a wine store that probably isn’t grape tannin. No idea how much it matters. I recall reading something about being cautious of synthetic tannin.

Should I be aiming for an SG that would support an PA of 13-14.5 or just go with what they have naturally? I’m hopeful that the Zinfandel are high in sugar beyond that point.
 

hawkwing

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I think I’m going to try a 2-3 day cold soak.

In addition to that I was wondering about fermentation temperature. I’ve read and seen videos discussing that 85F or so will help extract color etc. so do I want to wrap a fermentation belt around the whole time? Or just for part of the fermentation? I was watching a video that said as alcohol increases the higher temperature will extract more tannins from the seeds.

I was also considering an extended maceration. What’s the best strategy for fermentation and maceration?
 
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@hawkwing, a higher temperature ferment will extract more color, but at the cost of fruit and aroma. I suggest a maceration enzyme enzyme for color extraction -- I use Scottzyme ColorPro and folks on this forum use other enzymes, all with good results.

Be careful of what you ask for with regard to tannin extraction. It's very possible to over-do it.

There's isn't a best strategy for anything in wine making -- it all depends on what you want. I can tell you what I do, but that may not produce the results you want.

For EM, when the SG is between 1.020 and 1.010, give the wine a final stir and seal the fermenter. Leave it as long as you want. FWK recommends a 14 day ferment/maceration, unsealing the fermenter on Day 14 from start. Folks on this forum have done EM up to 8 weeks.
 

hawkwing

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@hawkwing, a higher temperature ferment will extract more color, but at the cost of fruit and aroma. I suggest a maceration enzyme enzyme for color extraction -- I use Scottzyme ColorPro and folks on this forum use other enzymes, all with good results.

Be careful of what you ask for with regard to tannin extraction. It's very possible to over-do it.

There's isn't a best strategy for anything in wine making -- it all depends on what you want. I can tell you what I do, but that may not produce the results you want.

For EM, when the SG is between 1.020 and 1.010, give the wine a final stir and seal the fermenter. Leave it as long as you want. FWK recommends a 14 day ferment/maceration, unsealing the fermenter on Day 14 from start. Folks on this forum have done EM up to 8 weeks.
I have lallzyme ex-v so I should be ok. So you would recommend fermenting around room temperature then. Makes it easier.

So the extended maceration isn’t done by taste or anything like that? I assume you don’t want to keep opening it? I was things two weeks anyway. Not sure about 8 weeks. What would happen in 8 weeks over two?
 

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@hawking - I will give the same advice as previously. You are more likely to harm your wine with advanced technique than improve it. At least the first time. Carbonic maceration done commercially and done at home are two different things. Get a good first wine under your belt and then worry about advanced technique. Or, just break out a small amount of your main fermentation for a separate fermentation and a trial of say, carbonic (extended) maceration. Then do a taste test blind at 6 months and see what you like better.

I promise you will be super pleased with the Enzyme addition, and will likely find there is no reason to do more.
 
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So the extended maceration isn’t done by taste or anything like that? I assume you don’t want to keep opening it? I was things two weeks anyway. Not sure about 8 weeks. What would happen in 8 weeks over two?
Definitely no -- do not open the container. The process works because the wine continues to emit CO2, which pushes the air out through the airlock. This provides a cushion to protect the wine during EM. If you open the container, the wine loses protection and is subject to oxidation.

Color, flavor, and aroma are extracted from the must during the first 2 to 5 days of fermentation, then the rate drops off dramatically. I found several sources that said the same thing. OTOH, tannin continues to extract over a longer period -- weeks or even months.

In Burgundy, EM last up to 90 days, producing a long aging wine. This is great if you want to wait 5 to 10 years to drink the wine.

Sources in the USA state the tannin mellow over an extended period (let's say 8 weeks), so initially harsh tannins soften, and folks on this forum back that up. However, I'm cautious in jumping on the EM bandwagon (or any bandwagon for that matter).

During a 2 week fermentation period the wine completes fermentation and the gross lees (grape solids) drop, and there is a short EM, pulling some tannin from the skins and seeds. Note that FWK does the same process for whites, where the fermentation simply completes.

IME so far, this enables me to cut a racking out of my process, since I'm not racking right after fermentation and then racking again in 1 to 3 weeks.

I agree with @CDrew, in that it's not necessary to throw the kitchen sink into winemaking. For reds I add fermentation (medium toast shredded) oak and ColorPro, which extracts great color, flavor, and aroma, and maintains the color. I use aging oak for flavoring, but generally don't do anything else, as I don't feel the need.

Note that there's nothing wrong with trying every technique, but IMO there are diminishing returns. Keep it simple.
 
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