Thin light bodied wine from grapes problem

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Jan 15, 2016
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I have made wine the past two years, and both times the outcome was that the wine was very "light" in color and body. I'm making wine this year, and I'd like to make a more full bodied age worthy wine. What can I do differently? Here is what I've done.

2014 - California Zinfandel - Primary fermentation on the skins for 12 days, after which I pressed. I reached a max temperature of 95 degrees. Brix went from 25 to -1

2015 - California Cabernet - Primary fermentation on the skins for 11 days, after which I pressed. I reached a max temperature of 82 degrees. Brix went from 24.5 to -1

Both times, I'd punch the cap three times a day, once before work, once after work, and once before going to sleep. They were fermenting in big 44 gal buckets (very big trash cans). I used a colander to punch down the cap. For the entire surface area, I pushed those skins down to about my mid-biceps. I would kind of try to bring up the submerged skins to kind of rotate which ones got on top.

That's all I can think of. My understanding is that color/tannin extraction is done with (a) time on the skins, (b) heat of fermentation, and (c) punching the cap. Am I missing anything? I'm getting Syrah grapes this year and I want to make it really rich, full, and inky.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!


Junior Member
Sep 19, 2014
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Have you ever added pectic enzyme to your must. This helps break down the fruit and also brings more color from the skins.


Aug 31, 2016
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I just did my first batch and I'm working on a second. The first is Lodi Zinfindel, it is inky purple, I won't know about the body until its done, but here is what I did.
crushed then I added Lallzyme EX, the next morning I added Tannin FT Rouge, and Booster Rouge. I re hydrated Rockpile yeast in Go Ferm and added it. On the second day of active fermentation I added Fermaid k. I pressed on the 8th or 9th day I can't remember exactly. but its inky purple.


slowly going nuts
Supporting Member
Feb 15, 2015
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Southern PA
I second the Lallzyme EX usage or pectic enzyme (I think the Lallzyme acts like the pectic enzyme but then helps bind the color in some way or another so it is retained in the wine). I'm hopefully close to pressing some Zin grapes and about 2 hours after I added Lallzyme EX and before adding the yeast, the color turned dark enough purple you could tie die t-shirts in it. And to boot I'm doing a very cool ferment (never reached about 80*F, ambient temp 70-74*F).

For body enhancement I use Opti-red. I think some of the yeast strains add elements that enhance the body as well. I suggest you read the listings on yeasts pairings for grape variety, or go to the Lallemand site and look at the descriptions of different yeasts there, if you haven't already.