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I bought a couple cans of sun cal grape concentrate when I first started this hobby a few months ago. At the time my tastes had not completely gone to reds yet, and I enjoyed Rieslings. So one of them is a riesling concentrate.

Now, I'd like to go ahead and use it, but I can't say that I like white wines much anymore. I've also heard that the sun cal stuff can be weak. These are 46 oz cans, and the instructions printed on them is for a 5 gallon batch. So, there are a couple things I'm thinking of doing:

1. Only make a 3 gallon batch to try to pump up the body a bit.
2. Maybe jazz it up with some fruit to add. I can get frozen fruit at Sam's pretty cheap.

So questions for the experts would be :

Anyone have experience with Sun cal concentrates?

Any suggestions/things to watch out for when reducing to a 3 gallon batch( I'll surely check SG and acid levels, but I'm not quite sure how to reduce some of the other stuff or if it matters)?

Suggestions for a fruit adder? Strawberry sounds like it might be good, but I'm open to other ideas.

Even the EC Kraus site suggests adding stuff to these (fruit concentrates), now that I have gone back and looked more closely. The other one I bought was a beaujolais, and when I racked it it tasted pretty good, but we'll see this week when I rack it again.

These cans are fairly cheap, and now I'm thinking it may be a good way to add some body to certain fruit wines as well. We'll see once I get the beaujolais done.
 

Wade E

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IMO, thats are they are good for is adding body to fruit wine. The strwberry sounds like a good culprit for a mixer. I think youll have everything under control if you just watch the sg and the acid. Apricot might be another victim that would fit nicely with a Riesling.
 

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Apricot would be an interesting one! I will see if I can find some at sam's. Not really fruit season, so frozen is my best choice. I may be limited to what I can find. Thanks for the reply!
 

Wade E

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You could go with a Vintners harvest fruit base can, they produce excellent results, best thing next to fruit stand fruit IMO. they come with a 3 and 5 gallon recie right on the can also, I always go withn the 3 gallon recipe but if I were mixingit with what you have I think the 5 would be good.
http://www.finevinewines.com/ProdDetA.asp?PartNumber=3302
 

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I picked up 10 lbs of Dole frozen strawberrys at Sam's today, will that be enough to add some body and flavor if I stick to the 3 gallon recipe? I haven't started it yet, so I could get some more.

Adding the vintner's harvest apricot sounds great, but Sam's had these strawberries for just over 8 bucks/5 lbs, so I jumped on it.
 

Wade E

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Strawberries wont add body, but at a 3 gallon recipe and that can of concentrate it should about the needed body, if not some bananas or golden raisons would add the body.
 

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Great! guess I'll start this tomorrow then. Gotta get some spring water in the morning!
 

Wade E

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Do you not have good water? I just use tap water, if you drink drink your own water and like the teaste then it will do fine for your wine.
 

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I've been a bit gun-shy since my first batch. I like the taste of our tap water once it is filtered, and I used it in my first batch of wine, but it turned out pretty bad. Since then I've used spring water and have had better results. I really doubt it is the water (more likely just newbie mistakes), but walmart has spring water for 88 cents/gallon, so it's not expensive. I keep meaning to try a cheap one gallon batch using tap water again, but I haven't done it yet. Once I do that and prove it's not the water I'll switch, but I hate to waste more expensive ingredients.
 

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One more question, the can says it has sulphur dioxide as a preservative, so I think that means no k-meta is needed in the primary? I did not add any for the beaujolais can, but I was not adding any fruit. Should I add more?
 

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Started this on wednesday, I have to say this is one of the most vigorous fermenters I've had. I used Cote des blanc yeast, and I can hear it fizzing through the closet door. Smells great too.
 

BettyJ

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I use the Suncal Reisling all the time, except I use it as an ingredient in my blended fruit white wines. The wines heavier with Pineapple is the best so far - for some reason all of my Mango wine ends up with a very slight metallic taste (others don't taste it, but I do). My "Pineapple Reisling" is the most popular with my friends. I even pulled off a gallon of one batch's must and fortified it for a dessert wine (it is delish!) for Christmas gifts.

I also use the Cabernet from Suncal (tried several others, but this is their top red, IMO. Sometimes I add raisons, oak chips and peppercorns.

Please note that I always add overripe bananas (frozen first) to every batch and make 5 gallon batches, which makes the Cab taste more like a Pino Noir and even tastes good slightly chilled.
 

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Good to know Betty, I sampled my suncal beaujolais over the weekend as I had some small leftover while racking. It was just a bit weak, but overall very drinkable. I think if I had done a 3 gallon instead of 5 gallon, or had added some fruit to mix with it, it would have been pretty good.
 

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Just an update:

Bottled this yesterday after aging it for 2 months in the basement. I have to say it's pretty darn good even right at bottling. Semi-sweet with good strawberry flavor, plus plenty of riesling flavor. I'm pretty happy with both of my sun-cal wines, although this one is better than the beaujolais. I'll post the recipe if anyone is interested.
 

fuelie

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I am new to this could you tell me what you use for a recipe for your pineapple it sounds delicious.
 

BettyJ

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Sure! This is a modified version of Wade's Pineapple wine:

5 Gallon recipe
10 lbs – Cored, Skinned, and Diced Pineapples*
5 -7 lbs - Over-ripe Bananas (frozen then thawed)
8 -10 lbs (based on SG) – White Table Sugar
¼ tsp – K-Meta
6 tsp – Yeast Nutrient
3 tsp – Yeast Energizer
¼ tsp – Liquid Pectic Enzyme
1 tsp - Ascorbic Acid
2 cups - White Grape Concentrate
1 Sachet – Lavin Yeast 1116
4-5 Gallons (to get to 5 gallons)– Water

*NOTE: I may add fresh lime juice or zest if the pineapple is fairly sweet

Pour 1 gallon of warm water in a 7.9 gallon primary bucket or bigger.
Add K-meta, Yeast Energizer, Yeast Nutrient, Grape Concentrate, and Ascorbic Acid and stir well. Put all fruit in fermenting bag and squeeze over primary to extract most of juices and then put bag in primary. Pour the 1 gallon of boiling water with all dissolved sugar over fruit. Fill the rest of the way with remainder of room temp water and check SG, it should have a SG of around 1.085 give or take a little, if more then add a little more water, if less then add a little more dissolved sugar in small amount of water as sugars from fruit can vary a little. Let sit for 12 hours with lid loose or with a cloth covering bucket with elastic band or string tied around so as that not to sag in must. After those 12 hours add your Pectic Enzyme and wait another 12 hours while also adjusting your must temp to around 75 degrees. After those twelve hours, pitch your yeast either by sprinkling yeast, dehydrating yeast per instructions on back of yeast Sachet, or by making a yeast starter a few hours prior to the 12 hour mark. At this point either leave primary lid off with the cloth again, place lid on loose or snap the lid shut with airlock. Punch down cap twice daily to get all fruit under the liquid level. When SG reaches 1.015, rack to 5 gallon carboy and let finish fermenting with bung and airlock attached. When wine is done fermenting, (check a few days in a row to make sure SG does not change and SG should be around .998 or less) you can stabilize by adding another ¼ tsp of k-meta and 3 tsps of Potassium Sorbate and degas your wine thoroughly. You can now sweeten your wine if you like by using simple syrup which consists of 2 cups of sugar and 1 cup of boiling water or by using a juice or frozen concentrate. I typically take 2 quarts of an alike juice and simmer on stove at medium heat with lid off until its 1/3 its original size and let it cool to room temp and then add slowly to taste. Be careful not to over sweeten. At this point you can use a fining agent or let it clear naturally. Once clear, rack into clean vessel and bulk age more adding another ¼ tsp of k-meta at 3 month intervals or add ¼ tsp k-meta and bottle age for at least 3 months and enjoy.
 

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