Other Tweeking Cheap Kits

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RocketBee

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Today I started a quadruple batch of Sauvignon Blanc (WE Vintner's Reserve) under the careful tutelage of Master Tweaker, Joe. This is my first attempt at tweaking a "cheap" kit and I am excited to see how it progresses. The tweaks I employed were adding 4# of white grapes, crushed and cooked down by 30%, the zest of two grapefruit (I know, the picture looks like orange zest, but it is grapefruit), toasted American oak chips and Hungarian oak powder. I did not change the yeast that came with the kit (EC-1118). I have this all in my 32 gallon fermenter, ET 2 Brute. We'll see how it goes!
Of all the kits I've done so far (about a dozen) my greatest success was with a cheap Sauvignon Blanc kit from wineloversonline.com I followed the above-quoted process from @Rocky under the tutelage of "master-tweaker" @joeswine but not to the same scale...just one six-gallon kit. Well the number of available bottles has dwindled...and my winemaking went on a pause after my lovely bride and I moved to another house. Shortly after the move, wineloversonline.com had a nice sale and I picked up two more SB kits (11.5% PABV) and started the process a week ago. I'm doing an A-B test this time, the only thing that's different between the two new batches is that I used QA-23 yeast on one batch and the yeast that came with the package on the other. Incidentally, I was disappointed when I opened the package and found that the yeast was not in the traditional Lalvin EC-1118 package so I assumed that it was still EC-1118, but I don't know for sure because it just says "Yeast" in a pretty four-color printed package. Anyway, primary fermentation has gone well for both yeasts, the QA-23 crossed the 1.000 S.G. line about 18 hours ahead of the EC-1118. It smells amazing and I will be stabilizing soon. I may keep the batches separate, may mix them together, or a little of both. Either way, I'm looking forward to the results. Thanks again to Rocky and Joe.
 

highmileSly

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@joeswine just cracked the WE sauv blanc that I did a peach fpac on. Neighbor said she had a glass (was ok) then corked it and put it in the fridge for 2 days... after two days she finished the bottle and said it was better. Any thoughts on this? Dare I say she thought it was much better after 2 days...
 

Steve Wargo

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@joeswine just cracked the WE sauv blanc that I did a peach fpac on. Neighbor said she had a glass (was ok) then corked it and put it in the fridge for 2 days... after two days she finished the bottle and said it was better. Any thoughts on this? Dare I say she thought it was much better after 2 days...
I've experienced similar. Maybe it required a little space to breathe. Most people uncork and drink immediately. It most likely released some volatile gasses into the empty space in the bottle
 

highmileSly

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I've experienced similar. Maybe it required a little space to breathe. Most people uncork and drink immediately. It most likely released some volatile gasses into the empty space in the bottle
Makes sense.. anything I could have done differently in the process to avoid?
 

winemaker81

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Makes sense.. anything I could have done differently in the process to avoid?
When a bottle is opened, the wine is exposed to O2, which produces oxidation and other chemical changes. This is normally good, as it "opens" the wine, releasing aromas and flavors.

Sounds like an oxymoron, "oxidation" and "good" in the same sentence? In this very limited situation, it usually is.

Swirling wine in a glass opens it, and on a larger scale, this is one reason wines are decanted. I use an aerator to open a wine on a glass-by-glass basis. And of course, the wine sitting in a half-full bottle experiences this as well.

On the down side, aeration can expose faults, and the wine WILL deteriorate if left long enough. But there's no way to determine "how long" is too long. I've had a red sit on the counter for 2 weeks and it was great, while a very good Chardonnay oxidized badly after 6 hours (this is an extreme case, by far the worst experience I've had).

I've found that most wines are ok if a half-full bottle is left for a couple of days. However, I prefer to use a vaccuvin and/or refrigerate to extend the wine's life -- I can aerate manually before drinking.
 

joeswine

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If you look at the flavor profile of SBLANC.ITS herbal glassy.
Peach on the other hand is sweet. And fruity .
Combined it takes on a very different profile unto itself.
Different and that difference is what she's tasting after the first taste, with the second tasting her buds known what to expect .
Remeber wine is a very subjective tasting subject. The question is did you taste it and what did you think?
 

highmileSly

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I really liked it! Too me, it was much smoother then sauvignon blanc that I've had in the past.
 

joeswine

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When we blend fruit and juice we create something different and that difference is what wine making is all about
Have fun being creative. And keep thinking outside the box.
 
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RocketBee

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I'm following up on my A - B test with the WineLovers cheap Sauvignon Blanc kits. I started the primary fermentation 15 days ago with two Sauvignon Blanc 11.5% kits and used the enclosed yeast in one bucket (I assume it's EC-1118) and QA-23 in the other bucket. I racked into carboys today. My lovely bride and I both did a quick taste test and liked EC-1118 best, the QA-23 wasn't bad, but it was a bit more sour and the EC-1118 had a better mouthfeel. That said, what surprised me the most was the bright yellow-orange color of the EC-1118 batch while the QA-23 batch was quite dingy. We have a ways to go for the final analysis...but right now the EC-1118 batch gets the nod. I'm guessing that's why @joeswine almost always uses the enclosed EC-1118 and doesn't mess with trying other yeasts. :)
 

joeswine

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For the most part thats correct the box wine maker's know what's best for their kits.
How ever blending varieties of yeast can also be beneficial when used correctly.
I think you'll find the ec1118 makes a better low end kit wine and is used mostly because the kits manufacturer doesn't know the wine maker's experience or environment that their working and ec1118 is a workhorse.
 

joeswine

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HI THRUHIKE00, on the zest 1/2 of a large grape fruit ,primary is better for the finish it adds acidity or bite balances out the sweetness and makes it a semi dry.
one trick to these kits is to understand there quality and structure ,next one make a 5.5 gallon batch. you notice Ima always add berries an or fruit to the mix that's to beef up the taste profile. This is a necessary STEP IN TWEAKING CHEAP WINE KITS.
WE NOW HAVE 427K VIEWS THANKS .
 

joeswine

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SPAIN #3 Spanish style or wines are always very good to many people don't know what their missing in SPANISH WINES.
 

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joeswine

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MY friend Carol has had me make many a wine kit for her over the years here's just a few.
Prolay around 100 kits so far.
 

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Khristyjeff

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Update on Cheap Kit using Rhubarb F-Pac:
I posted earlier during the planning phase so thought I'd let you know what I did and how it turned out.

The kit was a Wine Lover's Zinfandel Blush 7%. Cost was around $50 with free shipping. This was a 6 gallon kit. I followed the kit directions and used all the packets included.

The Tweaks I made were:
1). I made an f-pac from 2 Cups of chopped previously frozen Rhubarb, heated with a cup of homemade blueberry wine, then added to the juice.
2). I added 2 Cups sugar to 1 Cup water (simple syrup) to the juice.
3) Added water until the SG was at 1.083. That was right at the 5 gallon mark (kit was for 6 gallon).
4). Part way through fermentation I was getting some egg smell so I added a dose of Fermaid K which fixed the problem.
The result was a nice light to medium-bodied rosé with a hint of rhubarb flavor. It tastes young now so could have back sweetened a bit, but decided to just let it age for awhile. I tweaked this same kit last year with raspberries, back sweetening 1/2 the bottles and leaving the rest to age, and it showed me that within about 7-8 months, the unsweetened tasted like the sweetened. IMG_3261.jpeg
 
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