Port - Kit conversion to Port

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hawkwing

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I going to give this a try using the Costco.ca Argentina Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon 60 bottle kit. It's $105 CAD with shipping and taxes. I'd rather experiment on a cheaper kit. Then not so much to lose. But I still think I can get a good product out of it. I will probably pick up some black grapes to add the skins. I will also use less water as many on this forum have suggested making a few bottles less and it's less watered down tasting.
 

VinesnBines

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Toss in a cup of Zante/Corinth currants and a cup of oak chips. You will like the added body and tannins. If you go with the currants, you might forgo the store grapes and skins. Alternatively you could toss in a couple ounces of dried elderberries. I would only choose one, grapes, currants or elderberries.
 

hawkwing

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I met an interesting guy today. He's retired and selling off all his stuff. He as a big pump and press but well beyond what I need or want to pay. He had a wine group for years where three guys went together and made 5 barrels/50 cases of grapes worth of wine every year. I got another distributor to get grapes from. It's a food import business. He said that it's better than the other place because they get grapes in late September not the beginning. He had a bad batch of wine due to too many green grapes. Said they had $2000 that wasn't drinkable.
 

hawkwing

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So I finally got around to working on this. So far I'm confused because TA is 0.20-0.25%. pH is around 3 and unfortunately I can't test it better. My pH meter is jumping all over the place and I can't seem to get it to work. The pH strips I have go in increments of 1 so 3 is the best I can do. I've shorted the water and I wanted to see where I was at to see if it's workable but I was expecting the acid to be much higher as a result and wasn't expecting it to be way low.

Does anyone have any ideas? Should I just go with it?
 

hawkwing

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Apparently soaking my meter for a while in the calibration solution was all that was needed to get it working. The pH is 3.40. Still not sure if TA is an issue or not?

What I've done is I've taken the Argentina ridge Cabernet Sauvignon kit from Costco which is two 7L kits to make a total of 60 bottles and added them both to my fermenter. I've added water to get to an SG of 1.150. This ended up with a total volume of about 27-28 L instead of the intended 46 L.

I got a 2 lbs bag of black grapes and I soaked them in sodium meta-bisulfite for 5-10 minutes and rinsed them. Then I juiced them and put the pulp only into the fermenter. I took a couple quarts out to start the yeast to see if it will work and get the culture going strong. Not sure if the SG is too high for them. I switched out the EC1118 for RC212. Will see what happens.
 

hawkwing

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I am going to guess you will have a heck of a time getting the ferment to start. 1.150 is a very high starting SG. I am also unsure that I would swap out the powerhouse EC1118 (abv max of 18-20%) for RC212 (abv tolerance of 16%).
We will see if getting it to start is a problem. If I was to do it over again I would start it with one bag of juice and add the second later. I didn't think it through enough. If I have to water it down a bit more it won't be the end of the world. I'm not worried about the alcohol tolerance. I plan to fortify. I specifically wanted the lower tolerance just in case I couldn't be around at the time it needed fortifying.
 

hawkwing

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Seems to be going. It started slowly yesterday but it's picked up today. I Just thought I should add some pectic enzyme because of the grape pulp and skins I added.
 

hawkwing

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The wine is now down to 1.051 and the yeast has slowed considerably. My target to fortify was 1.049-1.051 so I will likely rack and do this today. So far the only minor downside is it won't fit in one carboy but I have smaller carboys and jugs so no big deal.
 

hawkwing

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I ended up fortifying to 20% abv and didn’t have to sweeten it as it had the right amount. It has been bulk aging. At first it was a little raw but it’s definitely improving a lot.
 

jburtner

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I've got a 3g carboy that I use for an everlasting/solera'ish port batch... I bottle about half when I like it then top up with some of whatever wines I've got bulk aging, oak, sweeten to taste with sugar or possibly unfermented juice and fortify with 120 proof brandy or grappa... Maybe add some fruit like blueberries or whatever at some point as well... Just let it sit under vacuum and by only bottling approximately half at any point. I've got a neutral barrel that would be interesting if I wanted to bump it up to 5 gallons for a year... I don't drink a ton of port so this is easy to keep going long term and has been quite good. The initial port kit was a chocolate raspberry kit.

Cheers!
-j
 

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