Other Tweeking Cheap Kits

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Digital-monk

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Ok question time for a vineco original white Zinfandel kit. What tweaks should I be doing. Planning to reduce the volume to 19L, but wasn’t sure about adding any tannins. The kit has a 0.75L F pack, so I was going to put 1/2 in primary as I don’t like sweet wines. Appreciate the suggestions.
 
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Ok question time for a vineco original white Zinfandel kit. What tweaks should I be doing. Planning to reduce the volume to 19L, but wasn’t sure about adding any tannins. The kit has a 0.75L F pack, so I was going to put 1/2 in primary as I don’t like sweet wines. Appreciate the suggestions.
Reduce the volume to 20 liters, not 19, so you'll have enough wine to fill a 19 liter carboy after racking.
 

joeswine

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The fpac is sweetener , you can put it all in the primary . One teaspoon of wine tannins also in the primary will help build the structure of the wines finish.
That’s about it fir a Zin. Keep it semi/dry and it will be itself 🍇
 

Digital-monk

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Ok thanks. Not sure if I was over thinking it. Keep it simple,
20L, fpac in primary, 1 tsp tannin in primary. Here it goes, gotta get it done before summer is over!
 

joeswine

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We’re at 502k views and climbing, hope all the input from everyone has help to make your tweaking cheap wine kits fun
🍇🍇🍇🍇🍇🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷
 

joeswine

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Peach my favorite fruit wine is here,
 

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RogerDoger

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Hi all...

Long-time lurker... this is my first post on WMT. This thread is very educational - so a BIG thanks to @joeswine and to all contributors.

So, I'm about to make my first wine-kit! My background: I'm a reasonably experienced all-grain beer brewer (6+ years; 60+ batches).

My maiden voyage in kit winemaking is to be WinExpert Classic Tempranillo kit (I enjoy Spanish reds from Rioja and Ribera del Duero).

Decisions/approaches I feel reasonably confident about in using this cheap(er) kit:
  • Switch yeast from EC-1118 to something more appropriate.
  • Make an "overnight" yeast starter including the use of nutrient.
  • Discard all the fining chemicals ... and instead let time work its magic.
  • Skip degassing (to avoid unnecessary oxygenation - seems obvious to me)
  • Make use of Potassium Metabisulphite only - i.e. to combat oxygen.
  • To re-rack "as required" with Kmeta doses and top-ups [and tastings - possibly adding more medium-toast American oak-chips for this style].
  • For the secondary, don't stress too much re oxygenation and "keep it simple":
    • Use a silicone bored-bung with an airlock (for me, I can't escape temperature variation due to my house and the Australian subtropics)
    • Top-up with similar wine (easy) as needed.
...do feel free to correct me on any of the above.

What I'm undecided about:
Q1. As grape skins are not included - should I add some?
e.g. after having gently "sauteed down" , say, black table grapes, down in a little white-wine as described earlier by @joeswine ?
-or- should I add, say, Zante currants?

Q2. How long to age this kit?
e.g. bottle it after 9 months in the secondary? [having re-racked it once or twice; with quarterly Kmeta doses].

Thanks for all/any responses.
RogerD
 
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Welcome to WMT!


What I'm undecided about:
Q1. As grape skins are not included - should I add some?
e.g. after having gently "sauteed down" , say, black table grapes, down in a little white-wine as described earlier by @joeswine ?
-or- should I add, say, Zante currants?
It depends on what your goal is. If it's to get one under your belt and make something drinkable, you picked a good kit for that. If you're looking for a meatier wine, then I'd add currants. While I know that folks have no problems doing it, the concept of cooking fruit before adding to wine doesn't compute for me. ;)

One thought is to make this one as-is, then immediately start another kit -- either Classic + additives or Reserve. This gives you an early drinking wine and an opportunity for comparison.

Q2. How long to age this kit?
e.g. bottle it after 9 months in the secondary? [having re-racked it once or twice; with quarterly Kmeta doses].
Bulk age for 6 to 12 months, which is my advice for most reds. One thought is to get a 3 gallon carboy -- at the 6 month mark, fill it and bottle the remainder. This gives you a chance to taste your handiwork, while conducting an experiment in aging. Put aside 2 bottles, one to open 3 months after the remainder is bottled, and the other 6 to 9 months after that. Direct comparison is a great self-teaching tool.

I was taught to rack every 3 months, but have stopped. I rack only if I see benefit, and during bulk aging there is none. You will get fine lees, but that doesn't hurt the wine. Every time you rack you expose the wine to air and lose volume. Search the forum for "sur lie", we have several discussions on the topic.

Every 3 months I've been drawing off wine with a large thief, gently stirring in K-meta, and the re-adding the reserved wine. However, for glass and steel containers, there is a question if adding K-meta is necessary if the wine is undisturbed, so I'm re-evaluating that technique as well.
 

joeswine

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Your first half of discarding is not wiser, follow the instructions , fully add your oak , tannins and the grape pack into the primary,
When fermentation is complete but not quit reach
Rack it then and let it settle out for the next two weeks while shaking it a couple of times a day ( or stir ) .
Use the finding agents you should have heavy sediment if you using the grape pack .
Or let it sit for two more weeks then bottle when ready.
Keep it simple ( less is more)
 

joeswine

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The structure is developed in the structure, in the beginning of the wine process, Spanish wines are outstanding and very under rated ,
Once you get in to the secondary add oak tannins , 1tablespoon this kit I’ve made before letting it age 3 mos. Is long enough , then enjoy
 

RogerDoger

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Welcome to WMT!



It depends on what your goal is. If it's to get one under your belt and make something drinkable, you picked a good kit for that. If you're looking for a meatier wine, then I'd add currants. While I know that folks have no problems doing it, the concept of cooking fruit before adding to wine doesn't compute for me. ;)

One thought is to make this one as-is, then immediately start another kit -- either Classic + additives or Reserve. This gives you an early drinking wine and an opportunity for comparison.


Bulk age for 6 to 12 months, which is my advice for most reds. One thought is to get a 3 gallon carboy -- at the 6 month mark, fill it and bottle the remainder. This gives you a chance to taste your handiwork, while conducting an experiment in aging. Put aside 2 bottles, one to open 3 months after the remainder is bottled, and the other 6 to 9 months after that. Direct comparison is a great self-teaching tool.

I was taught to rack every 3 months, but have stopped. I rack only if I see benefit, and during bulk aging there is none. You will get fine lees, but that doesn't hurt the wine. Every time you rack you expose the wine to air and lose volume. Search the forum for "sur lie", we have several discussions on the topic.

Every 3 months I've been drawing off wine with a large thief, gently stirring in K-meta, and the re-adding the reserved wine. However, for glass and steel containers, there is a question if adding K-meta is necessary if the wine is undisturbed, so I'm re-evaluating that technique as well.
Thanks @winemaker81 - much food for thought in those permutations.
 

RogerDoger

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Your first half of discarding is not wiser, follow the instructions , fully add your oak , tannins and the grape pack into the primary,
When fermentation is complete but not quit reach
Rack it then and let it settle out for the next two weeks while shaking it a couple of times a day ( or stir ) .
Use the finding agents you should have heavy sediment if you using the grape pack .
Or let it sit for two more weeks then bottle when ready.
Keep it simple ( less is more)
Thanks @joeswine. Again, much food for thought. I misled you somehow it seems - there is no grape-pack with this (new-style - 8 litre) "classic" WE kit.
 
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Thanks @winemaker81 - much food for thought in those permutations.
I offer slightly different feedback. You are making a WE Classic kit. It's their low end kit, but it's not a cheap kit.

Other than trusting your hydrometer regarding when to do things instead of looking at a calendar (which the yeast do not obey), make the kit according to instructions.

YOU are the target audience of the kit instructions -- a beginner with no experienced help (well, you've got a lot of help, but no one is there with you). If you follow the instructions, you'll get a good result. It may not match the wines you're used to drinking, but it will get you used to the process.

Don't worry about drinking the wine early. I advocate tasting the wine at every racking, and opening a bottle every 3 months. There is nothing like practical experience to teach you about how wine ages. That fact that it's fun doesn't hurt, either.
 

joeswine

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It would be beneficial to buy a grape pack for this kit added to the primary with a abv of around 13 % , nice and smooth finish
 

RogerDoger

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Bulk age for 6 to 12 months, which is my advice for most reds. One thought is to get a 3 gallon carboy -- at the 6 month mark, fill it and bottle the remainder. This gives you a chance to taste your handiwork, while conducting an experiment in aging. Put aside 2 bottles, one to open 3 months after the remainder is bottled, and the other 6 to 9 months after that. Direct comparison is a great self-teaching tool.
Have decided to make an experiment with the WE Classic Tempranillo:

1. 50% - no additives apart from the commonalities below
2. 25% - Zante currants during primary ferment
3. 25% - uncooked, but crushed black table-grapes during primary ferment.

Common to all 3:
  • gonna replace the yeast with Lalvin RC212 Yeast
  • TBD: skip all finings (definitely not going to use the Kmeta/Sorbate blend)
  • Oak - as supplied (suprisingly, it's not listed as "American" ...)

P.S. I'm really surprised that these WE kits (red and white) - I took delivery of three of them today - all come with EC-1118 Yeast.
- Classic Spanish Tempranillo
- Reserve Italian Pinot Grigio
- Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Lodi 11

EDIT: corrected the name of my yeast-substitute; and clarified my finings intention; spelling :)
 
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GretchenR

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Has anyone used a commercial liquid fruit flavoring instead of an fpac in primary? I was on the ABC Crafted site and they have what they call Blackberry Beverage Infusion. It comes in many other flavors as well. It doesn't say what is in it -- I suspect it is artificial fruit flavor and sugar -- but I'm just wondering if anyone has tried it and, if so, what the result was. I'm also wondering (after reading winemaker81) if, instead of cooking the berries for an fpac, you could just mash them and then add them and some pectic enzyme to the primary.
 
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