WineXpert Vintage Reserve Merlot

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nywinelady

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I am doing my first wine. Thought I had everything that I needed. JUst moved the wine from the primary frementer to the carboy. THe juice only came up to the shoulder of the carboy. The bunge in in and the air lock is bubbling. I gather from reading the beginners forum I need to do something to fill the air space. Right now I think the co2 is pushing the air out. What recommendations does anyone have?

Please note My starting hydrometer reading was ~1.08. Friday night I read ~1.01 so I waited till this morning and the reading was ~.992. THe drop seemed to radicle. I do have issues with the hydrometer and the wine thief that I am using. THe hydrometer wants to "stick" to the side.
 

AlFulchino

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others are better than me w the kits...but for my two cents anyways and once again the kit pros here will chime in....i think 1.08 is a tad low..i like 1.095 or higher to start

you are right about the co2..you are safe for a bit.....if its a minor headspace between what is perfect and what is not then you can use something like glass marbles to makeup the difference in your aging carboy..but remember you may need some space if you are going to add oak cubes or chips...

as for the hydrometer...well thats what caught my eye in your post...i have seen this phenomenon as well and even presented it to a physicist and he was stumped as to why this happened....i think it must have something to do w pressure being released from the fermentation in the center of the tub going upwards and outwards...towards the ends of the fermentation tub where there is not an equal push back from the wall area
 

Racer

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As long as your still pushing CO2 out of the airlock you have enough in the carboy to protect the wine for now. Keep following the instructions that came with the kit and you'll be fine.

As far as issues with the hydrometer sticking,you need to find a way to get the sample tube perfectly level. When you get it that way you wont have the sticking problem any more. I dont have too many things that are level in my 100 year old house so I do know how much fun it can be to stop the hydrometer from sticking during measurements.
 

nywinelady

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i think 1.08 is a tad low..i like 1.095 or higher to start
So the higher the starting sg the more body and alcohol?

you are right about the co2..you are safe for a bit.....if its a minor headspace between what is perfect and what is not then you can use something like glass marbles to makeup the difference in your aging carboy..but remember you may need some space if you are going to add oak cubes or chips...
I know your not a kit guy but my kit had oak chips that where the primary frementer. I did not move them to the secondary, they did not have much volume anyway. Should the oak be carried over to the secondary? You comment on oak cubes caught my perhaps I could get oak chips to make up the volume.
Where does one buy marbles these days?
 

nywinelady

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As long as your still pushing CO2 out of the airlock you have enough in the carboy to protect the wine for now. Keep following the instructions that came with the kit and you'll be fine.
SO don't worry about the gap untill the clarify stage? It then states to top off to 2-3" from the bunge. That woul be alot of water.
 

Racer

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Yes since its now in a closed carboy your fine. Just follow the steps called out for in the instructions. When it calls to top up with water use a good similar wine that you like to top up with. That way you dont water down your wine if there is too much headspace.
 

gonzo46307

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You don't need to top off until you stabilize. Dont' top off with water, just get some Merlot and top off with that. If you have a huge gap, pick up a boxed wine, or gallon jug. The taste profile won't affect the wine that much, and it's better than using water. Alternatives would include sanitized marbles to bring the volume up, using a 5 gallon carboy, instead of a 6 gallon...but then you'd have some extra to deal with.

After you have a few kits under your belt...the topping off issue isn't a problem, because you usually have a couple of bottles of red or white to sacrifice at any given moment.

Peace,
Bob
 

Dugger

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So the higher the starting sg the more body and alcohol?
Yes, this is generally true. Since you have a Vintners Reserve kit, the 1.080 sounds about right - the higher end kits ( eg Selection) will give you more like 1.095. Regarding the oak, where this is your first kit, you are probably better off with oak in just the primary as per instructions. When you have more kits under your belt you may wish to start putting oak in your secondary and adjusting to your taste. Welcome to the forum and a great hobby and good luck.
.. Doug
 

nywinelady

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Thanks for all the replies. I will probably look for marbles. Will let you know how it works out.
 

nywinelady

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Now in day 7 of secondary. No more act in the carboy. Air lock has equalized. I tested the sg and got .990. Will test again today and if it is the same the directions would indicate that I am done, yet they say 10 days for this stage.
Should I go ahead and clarify?
Should I wait?

When I clarify does the carboy need to be somewhere where it will not be disturbed so that the sedimentation will not be mixed up?
Is temperature important in the clarify stage.
 

ffemt128

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Not familiar with that kit but I'm in my second Wine Expert kit and both have you mix the sediment back in after stabilizing for the clarification stage. You will add your metabisulfate (prob package #2) and sorbate (#3) stir to mix #2 and #3 and also to degass. After that you will add your clarifier and stir then top up again.

That the basic instructions mine came with.
 

rawlus

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do not obsess about how many days until this step or that step. every ferment is different and the days thing is just a guideline...
if you get two daily 0990 readings in a row that's pretty much done.

for stabilization, WE kits usually want you to re-stir the current sediment when you add in the fining agents, this resuspends the bentonite you added in the beginning and allows it to work alongside the isinglass or whatever secondary fining agent you are adding at this step. after that you should keep it in a normal temp room until it clears in a week or two. usually pretty quicly. during this time, you can put a 2x4 or dictionary under one side of the carboy so that the sediment all goes to one side of the carboy... then, when it is time to rack into a clean carboy and either bulk age or bottle, you can gently put the carboy back to level and most of the sediment will be piled on one side of the carboy so you can siphon from the clean side and not disturb the sediment.
 

Dugger

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Yes, this is generally true. Since you have a Vintners Reserve kit, the 1.080 sounds about right - the higher end kits ( eg Selection) will give you more like 1.095. Regarding the oak, where this is your first kit, you are probably better off with oak in just the primary as per instructions. When you have more kits under your belt you may wish to start putting oak in your secondary and adjusting to your taste. Welcome to the forum and a great hobby and good luck.
.. Doug
My apologies for assuming you meant a Vintners Reserve Kit ( WineExpert) - I just saw a Vintage Reserve kit for sale on a website and realized there is such a kit - who makes the Vintage kit?
.. Doug
 

nywinelady

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you should keep it in a normal temp room until it clears in a week or two. usually pretty quicly. during this time, you can put a 2x4 or dictionary under one side of the carboy so that the sediment all goes to one side of the carboy... then, when it is time to rack into a clean carboy and either bulk age or bottle
In upstate NY, way upstate where they almost speck french :) There is no such thing as normal. Temp range from 80 *F to 51 *F. My fermentation area is in a colder room that I have made an insulated area with light bulb heat source. Temp range65 to 75*F. This is on the floor. If I stabilize there I will need to move it later to siphon into the wine bottles. Moving will probably stir up the sediment. Will this resedial quickly.

Sould I clarify in a area that is much colder (55ish) but higher so that I can siphon for bottling or warmer and then move?
 

jdeere5220

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Should I clarify in a area that is much colder (55ish) but higher so that I can siphon for bottling or warmer and then move?

I think that's a good question and would like to know the same. Once fermentation is complete, is it OK to clarify/age at a lower temp? I use a heat belt to keep my carboy at 72F, but I'm making the wine in my basement which is generally 66F. OK to clarify and store at 66F ?
 

cpfan

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Tim from WE recommends that their kits be kept at the same temperature thruout the process. RJSpagnols (in some of their instructions at least) recommends cooler temperatures after degassing.

If making a kit, I recommend following the instructions. If doing something else, it's your choice. Make good notes, and try to learn from the results.

Steve
 

JBmadtown

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I was reading your thread and noticed it has been about 6 months. My wife loves merlot and I was debating getting a WE VR kit. How did your turn out?
 

nywinelady

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results

This was my first winemaking attempt. I think it turned out fine. I had a blind wine tasting and my wine was chosen over the stor bought. ( I thought the store bought was terrible). I would mak it again. I am about to make my second wine and I upgraded to the higher level WE shiraz with more juice. I might go up a level to get more body.
good luck
 

ffemt128

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Glad to hear it turned out well. My wife tends to think our wine is better than store bought also. We've also had others tell us the same.
 

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