Other Tweeking Cheap Kits

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Digger

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I added a can of frozen apple juice concentrate to backsweeten my 5 gallon Chardonnay kit. It turned out to be more like a Riesling which was fine because my wife and her friends love it but I’ll skip that step next time. I did add a half a grapefruit worth of zest in secondary as well.
 

joeswine

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That should have read great food test and lemon zest. Couple of tablespoons each how much more. Yes let's just say you went through your whole process and just before bottling you did a little taste and it wasn't quite to your liking anyone's a little more brightness or zest that's time to add it then let it sit for two weeks and then clear and bottle. I understand now?
 

Bohemiana

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FYI--we took a bottle of our newly bottled cheap chardonnay (tweaked with 1 T. of grapefruit zest and dried apricots in primary) and we added 1/4 tsp. of glycerin to the bottle...it was much better! Prior to the glycerin experiment, the taste was too tart for a chardonnay. And, since we didn't put any oak in it, it was a little too light. Well, that tiny bit of glycerin did make it taste more complex. Any more than 1/4 tsp in a bottle and it would have been too sweet for us. Actually, it still doesn't taste like a chardonnay but it's good anyway--better than without the glycerin.

Today we started another new cheap chardonnay kit. I put 1 T. fresh grapefruit zest and double the apricot (this time I used 10 dried apricots). I reconstituted the apricots with 1/4 a sweet apple (cooked just about 5 minutes and then put in the fridge to cool). So I put the fruit and zest in the primary this a.m. Our thinking is to split the 6-gallons into two 3-gallons--one with light "oak," and the other with medium French toasted oak.
 

Khristyjeff

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FYI--we took a bottle of our newly bottled cheap chardonnay (tweaked with 1 T. of grapefruit zest and dried apricots in primary) and we added 1/4 tsp. of glycerin to the bottle...it was much better! Prior to the glycerin experiment, the taste was too tart for a chardonnay. And, since we didn't put any oak in it, it was a little too light. Well, that tiny bit of glycerin did make it taste more complex. Any more than 1/4 tsp in a bottle and it would have been too sweet for us. Actually, it still doesn't taste like a chardonnay but it's good anyway--better than without the glycerin.

Today we started another new cheap chardonnay kit. I put 1 T. fresh grapefruit zest and double the apricot (this time I used 10 dried apricots). I reconstituted the apricots with 1/4 a sweet apple (cooked just about 5 minutes and then put in the fridge to cool). So I put the fruit and zest in the primary this a.m. Our thinking is to split the 6-gallons into two 3-gallons--one with light "oak," and the other with medium French toasted oak.
I like your creativity. Can't wait to hear how this turns out.
 

joeswine

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Tweaking cheap kits can be fun as well as a good learning experience so that when you move on to better kits you'll better understand the compounds in it and how to adjust them to make them your own put your own individual stamp on and pass the learning experience forward.
 
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joeswine

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Lets talk about my style of Fpacs, and why I use them.
I always say what is your wines taste profile? let that be your guide as to what to enhance your wine with, after all it's your wine.

Next have a plan, do i have everything ready to start this process with you don't have to get overboard with it but a basic plan, try not to over think it, got it!
Now Fpacs, as most of you know i like sautéing my fruit to me it brings out the sugars in the fruit as well as the tannins in some or the tartness .then once their softened up place them directly into the base wines ( you don't have to let t hem cool).
Berries, hard fruits almost anything you can think of ( within reason) the rest of the process doesn't change.
Using grapefruit zest and lemon zest adds acidity when added to the primary but can be also added to the secondary ,fruits like grapes and peaches may require an addition of pectin enzyme to aid in clearing which can add more time to the process so also add a pinch add patients.
Below are some of the Fpacs I.ve used.
 

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joeswine

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Additionally
believe me it doesn't matter what the price point from adding body to a flavor profile Fpacs work.
 

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Khristyjeff

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Additionally
believe me it doesn't matter what the price point from adding body to a flavor profile Fpacs work.
With the berry f-pacs, is there a trick to preventing the berries from being sucked through the auto-siphon into secondary? Cheese cloth and a rubber band over the end?
 

my wine

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With the berry f-pacs, is there a trick to preventing the berries from being sucked through the auto-siphon into secondary? Cheese cloth and a rubber band over the end?
Exactly what I do. Except I use nylon window screen and a rubber band, properly sanitized of course. I think cheese cloth would fold in from the suction but I really don't know since I haven't used it. My screen tool rarely gets plugged and when it does I can shake enough off while in the must to not have to stop.
 

joeswine

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You can put the fruit in a cheese cloth bag before installing it in the wine.
I don't , I used a fine strainer to filter from one bucket to another , however you get their it will take time and racking patience.
Let it settle out in the secondary .The added work will be worth the effort.
 

Bill Pet

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I just had a VERY disappointing experience with a Fontana Pinot Noir kit. Below is my amazon review of what happened in reverse chronological order. Any ideas on what happened other than they changed supplier or I got a bad batch. I'd like to hear about other Fontana experience since 1/21.

3/8/21
Just bottled the kit purchased 1/21. Although it seemed to have very good color when I first started, by the time it finished fermenting it lost most of its color. Now, at bottling time, its color is almost lilac, like the wine has been diluted by WAY too much water. Worse yet, it has almost no flavor other than alcohol and oak. I did everything the same as my last two batches which turned out excellent. I suspect Fontana has a different supplier and they are sending diluted concentrate, I'm very disappointed and will not purchase again unless I see more recent good reviews. I've always liked fontana kits but this was a waste of time and money.
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1/25/21
Bought pinot noir again 1/21 and started the kit 1/25/21. This time the inner box had glossy professional finish. Main label said Fontana but a subtitle said ABC Crafted Series. All the ingredient envelopes were professional-looking branded fancy ones. Apparently they have a new company involved in packaging and shipping, or have upgraded internally. I've just started this batch and again added 5 cups sugar, 1lb chopped raisins, and grapefruit zest. The juice, even when diluted to 6 gallons, had very good, deep color. The only disappointment is the instructions. It is a single sided 8 1/2 x 11 sheet with one or two very brief sentences for each step without further explanation. The box says instructions are online. I'll add more to this later...


12/20/20 update.
Bought a pinot noir kit 1/20 which I made 7/20. It came in a plain, brown, corrugated box without any branding and everything inside looked generic. Everything was included including oak chips. I added 1 lb chopped raisins, zest of a small grapefruit, and 5 cups sugar to bring sp up to 1.100 for 6 gal. Turned out absolutely excellent, best I've ever made.
 

joeswine

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Hi, question: why did you add grapefruit zest to a pino noir? Thats not a part of the taste profile.
Always remember, it starts with a decent base wine 🍷.
Have you learned how to make simple syrup?
 
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Bill Pet

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Re grapefruit zest, I did it just to see how it would taste. In Chardonnay I didn't really taste the zest as grapefruit but it did add brightness and some fruitiness. I've made many cheap red wine kits of various kinds, each a little different. Just wanted to see what would happen. I really like the last pinot kit I made with grapefruit so thought I'd do it again, even if it is not a true pinot flavor profile. I just wanted a full bodied, flavorful red wine. That is what I got last time. Not this time.
 

Bill Pet

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Someone gave us several pounds of pitted prunes. Would a pound or two of chopped prunes instead of or addition to raisins work in a red wine?
 

Swedeman

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really like the last pinot kit I made with grapefruit so thought I'd do it again, even if it is not a true pinot flavor profile. I just wanted a full bodied, flavorful red wine.
Out of curiosity, why did you buy a Pinot Noir if you want a full bodied red? Most Pinot Noir are considered medium bodied. Admittedly there are exceptions to that.
 

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