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Frosty

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I have been making wine kits for 16 years. However I have not had the benefit of other experienced kit makers so I am happy to have found this forum. I would like to ask a few questions so we are all talking the same talk. When people say a wine is say a year old when does the calendar start. Is it when the yeast is pitched or when the wine has cleared or at some other point?

Also I read about many people who modify the process with extra oak, different yeast etc. Great to get exactly what you want and I applaud the initiative however I'm pretty happy with following the directions and not making additions. Do other people feel the same or am I missing out?

I do leave in secondary and clearing phase longer (1 to 2 months) than the kit directions. I bulk age reds for a year before bottling and I don't filter. I rack as little as possible to limit O2 exposure and I top up with similar wine when clearing and bulk aging.

I want to elevate my craft and would appreciate any suggestions. I make mostly top end kits (Eclipse and various limited releases). Of the 11 reds I currently have my favourite is the Eclipse Zinfandel followed by the Shiraz (although it isn't a
fair test as some are not fully mature.)

Any suggestions would be appreciated.
 

jgmann67

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I have been making wine kits for 16 years. However I have not had the benefit of other experienced kit makers so I am happy to have found this forum. I would like to ask a few questions so we are all talking the same talk. When people say a wine is say a year old when does the calendar start. Is it when the yeast is pitched or when the wine has cleared or at some other point?



Also I read about many people who modify the process with extra oak, different yeast etc. Great to get exactly what you want and I applaud the initiative however I'm pretty happy with following the directions and not making additions. Do other people feel the same or am I missing out?



I do leave in secondary and clearing phase longer (1 to 2 months) than the kit directions. I bulk age reds for a year before bottling and I don't filter. I rack as little as possible to limit O2 exposure and I top up with similar wine when clearing and bulk aging.



I want to elevate my craft and would appreciate any suggestions. I make mostly top end kits (Eclipse and various limited releases). Of the 11 reds I currently have my favourite is the Eclipse Zinfandel followed by the Shiraz (although it isn't a

fair test as some are not fully mature.)



Any suggestions would be appreciated.


1. Timing -

I count from the day I pitch yeast.

2. Modification -

The nice thing about wine making - to each their own. I'll mod with yeast swapping, tannin and oak additions. Still trying to figure out what I like. So far the answer is: Wine... I like wine.

3. Aging -

I like doing a bulk aging of 6 - 9 months. I rack and dose in 3 month intervals and minimize O2 exposure with my AIO. It also helps to fully degas the wine. Like you, I top with a similar wine. Though, now they come from my rack instead of a store. I might suggest racking off lees sooner, instead of leaving them sit and risk a bitter flavor making it's way into the wine.

4. Elevating your craft -

Take a look at the threads by JoesWine re: modifications (Thinking outside the box; Tweaking Cheap Kits). Lots of great suggestions to try out.

Once your wines are properly aged, you can gauge how you feel. Lots of people start with kits and move to fresh grapes and juice, and do a combination of both. I do fresh California grapes in the fall, and kits year-round.
 
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Ron0126

30 batches my first year, still learning
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You have a lot of experience so I'd bet you could add a lot to the knowledge base! Here are some links to threads on modifications:

Tweeking cheap kits
http://www.winemakingtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=51904

Making an F-Pack
http://www.winemakingtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=44497

Thinking Outside the Box
http://www.winemakingtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=9155

When Good Wine's Gone Bad
http://www.winemakingtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=14483

There are others, but @Joeswine is the resident guru I turn to. He's very helpful and creative.
 
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