Designing my labels is one of my favorite things too! Here's one of mine...Like Val said, get creative and make the wine personalized. As silly as it may sound, it's one of my favorite things to do. Heck, I make wine in my music studio but I label it as "Ancient Oak Cellars", design the labels, and give them unique names. People know that I don't own a vineyard or anything, but in a silly way, I feel like it gives me "street cred"
I make the fruit wines and 4-6 week kits. I also make premium kits, so I alternate. That way I always have wine ready to drink. It's a lot easier to age wine if you have drinkable wine.I love making fruit wines and 4-6 week kits so my suggestions are quite different from Brian55's. As you can tell from my choices, I'm not a patient winemaker but I love my wines sweeter so these are well suited for someone who wants to be drinking their wines in a matter of weeks, not months or years.
I would not be making wine without my AIO pump!I haven’t been doing this very long, but I think the AIO pump is going to be my number 1 on any list would make. I just got it so am learning different ways to use it. A pH meter is also important for what I make.
Thanks to all for your good ideas.
Better than a tub, in my opinion are crates. Tubs don't often have any grips for your hands but crates do so they are easier to move around AND they protect the carboy far better. Any carboy larger than 2 gallons I fill in a crate.I thought of one more! Buy yourself some tubs to set your carboys in. I've had one break on two different occasions. The first time, I had 6 gallons of wine all over my floor. Thankfully, I had purchased the tubs before it happened again. I just bought laundry tubs and cut them down so I can better see when my wine is clear. Photo attached...View attachment 64345
I have also used a tub with ice water to slow fermentation.I thought of one more! Buy yourself some tubs to set your carboys in. I've had one break on two different occasions. The first time, I had 6 gallons of wine all over my floor. Thankfully, I had purchased the tubs before it happened again. I just bought laundry tubs and cut them down so I can better see when my wine is clear. Photo attached...View attachment 64345
Hahaha, not funny then, for sure, but makes a great story now, right?I learned that the hard way and my landlord wasn't too pleased with what looked like a murder scene.
I might even say most stuff can be fixed.don't panic because some stuff can be fixed!
Amen.7. Three letters: A.I.O. Not only does it help racking, degassing, bottling easier, your back will thank you to the ends of the earth.
What's wrong with that? Am I the only one?The exception being "I longingly looked at the carboy, just waiting for the day that first bottle is opened."
Agreed, and having nice labels on them makes it even more special.Set some aside and open them on a special occasion a few years from the time you bottled them.
Right on the mark, every one. I must say, I need to work on #6, the corks, but I don't make enough to have any sitting around long enough to warrant it. The few that have made it 3 or 4 years were fine, but I knows I takes my chances! I also need to work on #7. None of my friends are really wine drinkers, but my Dad and oldest daughter are. I originally got into wine-making as a way to spend more time with my Dad. After COVID, I'll definitely be spending more time with them both.I love making fruit wines and 4-6 week kits so my suggestions are quite different from Brian55's. As you can tell from my choices, I'm not a patient winemaker but I love my wines sweeter so these are well suited for someone who wants to be drinking their wines in a matter of weeks, not months or years.
1. The All in One pump is the best thing I've ever purchased as far as equipment. In fact, if it weren't for this one product and the way it makes racking, degassing and bottling so easy, I might have given up on pursuing this hobby an long while ago.
2. Always have an extra hydrometer on hand.
3. Always have extra of your favorite kind of yeast on hand.
4. If you decide to make a fruit wine or a
quick drinking one and don't want to wait for it to clear naturally, my favorite fining agent is SuperKleer (Dualfine). It usually produces crystal clear wine in just a few days.
5. I like my wines to not only be pleasing to the palate but I want the whole product to be appealing. To that end, I always use some type of label, whether the ones that come in a kit or something I design myself. When I share with my friends, I like the entire presentation to be special...but that's probably just my vanity coming through So, make your whole bottle special in some way...it will give you even more pride in your wine.
6. Don't cheap out on corks. I'm not saying that you have to buy the most expensive ones but make sure they are good quality. It will save a lot of frustration not only on bottling day but when you go to open your wine as well.
7. Share with your friends! It's important to make wine that you love but it's also fun to make some that you know your friends will enjoy even more than you do.
8. Don't stress too much if you think you did something a little "wrong" during the process. I've made tons of small mistakes but my wine has turned out fine in the end anyway.
9. I prefer to call my taste testing quality control inspections and it's one of the the most important jobs as a winemaker...regardless of the time of day
10. Have fun! This is the best hobby you'll ever have!
I like the white inside the tub. I wouldn't have thought of that when buying one, but very important, I can see. And with the AIO, they don't need handles, 'cause you never have to move them! Well, almost never. Haha.I thought of one more! Buy yourself some tubs to set your carboys in. I've had one break on two different occasions. The first time, I had 6 gallons of wine all over my floor. Thankfully, I had purchased the tubs before it happened again. I just bought laundry tubs and cut them down so I can better see when my wine is clear. Photo attached...View attachment 64345
Ahhh, @Val-the-Brew-Gal, I sooo envy your creative and artistic ability. After your 10 tips, I thought maybe we were twins separated at birth, but then this example of your labels, and I know that we definitely are not. I have been trying to make something for my Saskatoon and my Cherry/Blueberry batches of Dragon Blood, but I am hopeless. Oh well, something to work on. You are an inspiration.
Brian, in #2, what is EM? Also, in #9, what is LE? Thanks..................................Dizzy#1 Aging, whether bulk or bottle. There is nothing more important.
#2 EM for at least a month on kits with skins
#3 Oak, glass carboys and plastic buckets don't replicate barrel aging. If you don't have barrels, over oak it, it will fade with time.
#4 Short the water addition, especially on cheaper kits.
#5 Ad at least half the f-pac to primary. Unless you enjoy sweet wines.
#6 Skip the bentonite, sorbate(unless back sweetened), and shellfish goop, racking and time will clear your wine.
#7 Buy the best kit you can afford, life is too short to drink cheap wine.
#8 Host wine tastings with friends and family. Blind is best. Include a commercial bottle or two in the mix.
#9 LE's and RQ's can be, and often are the best kit wines you will have the option of making and enjoying.
#10 Have fun and be patient, wine takes time. If you're concerned that your wine may outlive you if you actually age it properly, no worries, friends and family will enjoy the fruits of your labor for years to come.