Planning for first from grapes wine

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hawkwing

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Good numbers overall. I would add at least 1g/L of tartaric(and maybe 2g/L) to your Zinfandel, but I've become pretty fearless about acid additions. Good work running all the labs. That represents a lot of work.
Oh man the lab work is almost as bad as the crushing and destemming. Not worried about total TA outside of my test kits range for reds?
 

CDrew

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Oh man the lab work is almost as bad as the crushing and destemming. Not worried about total TA outside of my test kits range for reds?
Probably not. Excess tartaric acid tends to fall out. The commercial guys don't seem to stress on this. They measure pH and act accordingly. You want your pH a bit lower. So I'd lower it a bit, without being too focused on a specific number. At pH 3.7, I'd likely do nothing. Good luck, all of this is a bit of an art, meaning you need to adapt on the fly to what you have.
 
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@hawkwing, be cautious of putting too much focus on exact numbers. I see @CDrew just said pretty much the same thing.

If your pH is in a good range (and it is, although the Zin is iffy IMO), ferment it and see what it tastes like in 3 months. Keep in mind that your test equipment will not be drinking the wine, so after 3 to 6 months of bulk aging, focus on taste. Use your senses.

A lot of folks prefer to use numbers, as it feels like an exact answer. Trust your senses and if the wine tastes good, you have succeeded.
 
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would you use the Avante yeast on the white muscat or should I use something like 1118 that I have on hand?
I'd use Avante. I'm not sure it's the right yeast for white Muscat, but it will give more of something than EC-1118.

I keep a packet of EC-1118 in the fridge. It is the perfect emergency yeast - fast starter, stomps out competition, high alcohol tolerance. But it provides little character to the wine.
 

hawkwing

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Well on Monday I got my remaining 9 cases from the other supplier. 3 Merlot, 2 Zinfandel and 4 Cabernet Sauvignon. Got them crushed and destemmed on Monday. Too bad I missed the crusher destemmer with motor I saw for $150. They took quit a bit of tartaric acid especially the zinfandel. I got the pH down below 3.5 and in the morning it was back up above 4. I got the yeast pitched and am waiting for them to take off like the others. I considered transferring a portion of the active must rather than re-pitching but they should be fine.

Merlot SG 1.108

Zinfandel SG 1.122

Cabernet Sauvignon SG 1.130

I was expecting the Zinfandel to be the highest from what others were saying so was surprised by the Cabernet.

The Italian gentleman at the store told me I shouldn't believe everything I read. Told me to not add anything such at tartaric acid. The grapes are the ideal fruit and have enough enzymes and let the natural yeast do their thing. Well I don't want vinegar and I prefer to get the best results I can.

As an after thought maybe next year I'll make a white wine for cooking and possibly champagne.
 
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The Italian gentleman at the store told me I shouldn't believe everything I read. Told me to not add anything such at tartaric acid. The grapes are the ideal fruit and have enough enzymes and let the natural yeast do their thing
Grapes are the closest to being the perfect fruit for winemaking ... but sometimes Mother Nature needs a helping hand.
 

hawkwing

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Grapes are the closest to being the perfect fruit for winemaking ... but sometimes Mother Nature needs a helping hand.
They are but they were too expensive to risk having not so good wine or vinegar. Maybe I’ll take a little sample and make vinegar.

I helped the guy load pails of juice to customers when he got a semi load in. Almost 700 pails. He gave me a free pail. I picked a Nebbiolo. I was told to just let it ferment naturally but I gave it some Avante.

I also took a jar of juice and put in the fridge. I’m going to try making a yeast starter and harvest the yeast for freezing like I do for beer. Might try the same with the malolactic bacteria.
 

hawkwing

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I’m going to start pressing today. I have many fruit flies around. Hundreds and hundreds. While they probably came with the grapes or bananas they stayed for the tomatoes. Are they going to be a problem when pressing the grapes? I have some wine last night and got swarmed. I have to cover my glass. I have several traps out. But in worried about making vinegar if they get in. Also I still have to do MLF so not sure now much sulfite I can add.
 

hawkwing

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That would make me a tad anxious, especially at this stage where the wine is vulnerable. Can you set up a large fan next to the press that essentially blows them away?
I can do that. I’ve already dealt with the tomatoes but I can’t really wait any less than a week if I don’t press now.
 

hawkwing

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I got everything pressed. It sure was a lot of work. Ill have to keep watching for a larger press. Maybe one will eventually come up in my areas some day some year. I had to get another 11.5 L carboy and a bunch of one gallon jugs I was lucky enough to find used.

I tasted everything and I’m happy with the results so far on such a young wine. I got pretty close to two and a half carboys from the 6 lugs of Cabernet and Zinfandel. I got one and a half carboys from the 3 lugs of merlot. And about half a carboy from the Alicante. I ended up using maybe a couple bottles of Zinfandel to top up the Alicante and the Cabernet 11.5 L carboy then put the rest in gallon jugs. The half case of muscat go me just shy of 7 liters. I had to transfer some cider and goose berry wine to jugs so I could used the 11.5 L carboys. So in the end from the 600 lbs of grapes in 16.5 cases I got over 7 carboys of wine. Should be easily 7 after the sediment is gone. I didn’t have time to start the MLF. Will do that Thursday. I was up until 2 am two nights in a row. And spent most of the day on it too.

All said I plan to keep making wine from grapes instead of kits. Next year I’ll probably make a little less and pick what I like the most. Also will probably do a blend and make a port.

Anyway the messy work is done. I should get a clean pail and cut the bottom off to place over the press so it doesn’t spray everywhere.
 

hawkwing

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I got the MLF and nutrients in about 2 weeks ago. Absolutely no sign anything is happening. There is no bubbles or anything the plastic pieces in the airlocks have sunk. I have no way of testing so it is what it is.

I’m going to add some oak cubes and leave for a few months. Is 2-3 oz the correct amount? Can I leave that amount in until I feel like racking? I was thinking of sterilizing them in my oven on low temperatures.
 
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I got the MLF and nutrients in about 2 weeks ago. Absolutely no sign anything is happening. There is no bubbles or anything the plastic pieces in the airlocks have sunk. I have no way of testing so it is what it is.
MLF doesn't necessarily show much, or any, evidence that it is working. AFAIK, chromatography is required.

It just occurred to me that a bottle of wine should be reserved prior to inoculation with MLB. In 3 to 6 months, that wine can be compared to the inoculated batch for comparison. It doesn't help you today, but an idea to keep for future reference.

I’m going to add some oak cubes and leave for a few months. Is 2-3 oz the correct amount? Can I leave that amount in until I feel like racking? I was thinking of sterilizing them in my oven on low temperatures.
I recommend 1 to 1-1/2 oz per 5 or 6 gallons of wine. Any more and your wine may taste more like the wood than wine.

I leave cubes in for 3 to 12 months. While the oak flavoring is extracted by the end of month 3, it hurts nothing to leave the cubes in. @cmason1957 and I, in a recent discussion, have formed the belief that leaving the wood in longer "smooths" the wine. IME, putting cubes (or any oak adjunct) in just to extract oak character leaves the wine harsh. This is an observation we've both had -- I can't point to any factual description, just anecdotal.
 

Flufnagel

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Find a magnifying glass and peer carefully at the top of the wine, just below the surface. MLF usually produces teeny bubbles that are very hard to see with the naked eye, especially one whose acuity is compromised by the ravages of middle/old age!
 

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I got the MLF and nutrients in about 2 weeks ago. Absolutely no sign anything is happening. There is no bubbles or anything the plastic pieces in the airlocks have sunk. I have no way of testing so it is what it is.
It's usually easier to hear MLF rather than see it... stick your ear next to the top of your (open!) carboy and you should hear a faint crackling. If it's slowing down, it might be more of an intermittent soft pop-pop-pop. I would expect it to take at least a few weeks to complete, depending on temperature, pH, alcohol % and MLB strain.
 

hawkwing

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Find a magnifying glass and peer carefully at the top of the wine, just below the surface. MLF usually produces teeny bubbles that are very hard to see with the naked eye, especially one whose acuity is compromised by the ravages of middle/old age!
I’ll try that. My eyes aren’t what they used to be either.
 
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