WineXpert Wine Expert Cabernet Sauvignon instructions

Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum

Help Support Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum:

Steven Glass

Junior
Joined
Apr 28, 2019
Messages
4
Reaction score
2
I have been making wine kits since 1995, but the instructions from Wine Experts is a bit confusing. They have a 4-6-8 week racking instruction that has the same specific gravity with different weeks listed. Is it the wine makers choice on when to rack, or should I wait until week 8 to rack and then two days to bottle. I also filter my wine, and always make sure that the wines are very clear before even thinking about filtering and bottling. Thanks to all who reply !!!🍷
 

Jovimaple

Kaptin Winemaker
Joined
Feb 11, 2021
Messages
474
Reaction score
943
Location
Minnesnowta
The box label should indicate whether it's a 4, 6, or 8 week wine kit.

That being said, to paraphrase @winemaker81 's words of wisdom, the kit instruction timelines are minimums. Once the sg is below 1.000, keeping the wine under airlock with minimal headspace is more important than exact timing between rackings, although generally you want to rack off the gross lees within 2 or 3 weeks.

My process is to ferment in a bucket covered by a towel to allow the yeastie beasties the oxygen they need at the beginning of the process. Once the sg is about 1.000 or below (usually 10-14 days after fermentation began), I rack to a carboy with minimal headspace and an airlock. 2 to 3 weeks later, I rack off the gross lees, topping off or downsizing the carboy to minimize headspace. After that, I have been bulk aging some of my kit wines (adding kmeta every 3 months) and bottling some according to the kit schedules, if the wine is clear.
 
Last edited:

Steven Glass

Junior
Joined
Apr 28, 2019
Messages
4
Reaction score
2
I was going to wait, take samples and if clear enough rack the wine and wait 2 more weeks to make sure it had finished. Thanks for the input it was greatly appreciated.
 

pproctorga

Junior
Joined
Nov 11, 2019
Messages
19
Reaction score
15
I've been brewing beer and making wine for 30 years but just started making wine from kits within the past 5 years. One thing I learned is to not count on the instructions. With the kits I started out just following them and not adhering to my knowledge, thinking the manufacturers knew best.

Now I will read them, but I'm sticking to all the principals I know from my experience. The biggest thing is ensuring a full fermentation as my first few kits didn't get their FGs down to the low .99s. I now pay attention to pitch rates, proper temperatures for the yeast and oxygenation. The homebrew world is much more in tune with fermentation science than the winemaking world.
 

Ohio Bob

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2022
Messages
219
Reaction score
301
Location
Cleveland, Ohio area
My experience with a Wine Expert (Grenache-Syrah-Mourvèdre) kit is just starting. I had heard from magazine articles and shop supply owners to follow the instructions. The manufacturer tweaks the recipe expecting you to follow the instructions.

Step 1, dissolve bentonite in water and put in the fermenter. This is wrong as the bentonite will affect the SG, will it not?
Step 2, add the juice and top off to 6 gallons. Wrong again, wait for it...
Step 3 add the oak splinters. What a mess at 1st racking. I pitched all the lees in the trash rather than clog my basement grinder pump. A previous post said to throw the splinters away and use your own cubes, I agree.
Step 4, measure and record the SG (of course you have to avoid the splinters). I used a refractometer and got 8 Brix, or roughly 8% alcohol. Adding water in step 2 “to the 6 gallon mark” should have read something like add water until you achieve the desired SG. Now it’s too late to take water out.

Surprisingly at the first racking it tasted pretty good, decent alcohol level and raspberry, strawberry and cola flavors. Next racking in another week or two.

Thanks for reading this far into the rant. Do you kit makers pitch the instructions and go from experience?
 
Joined
Jan 11, 2019
Messages
417
Reaction score
805
Location
Central Texas
My experience with a Wine Expert (Grenache-Syrah-Mourvèdre) kit is just starting. I had heard from magazine articles and shop supply owners to follow the instructions. The manufacturer tweaks the recipe expecting you to follow the instructions.

Step 1, dissolve bentonite in water and put in the fermenter. This is wrong as the bentonite will affect the SG, will it not?
Step 2, add the juice and top off to 6 gallons. Wrong again, wait for it...
Step 3 add the oak splinters. What a mess at 1st racking. I pitched all the lees in the trash rather than clog my basement grinder pump. A previous post said to throw the splinters away and use your own cubes, I agree.
Step 4, measure and record the SG (of course you have to avoid the splinters). I used a refractometer and got 8 Brix, or roughly 8% alcohol. Adding water in step 2 “to the 6 gallon mark” should have read something like add water until you achieve the desired SG. Now it’s too late to take water out.

Surprisingly at the first racking it tasted pretty good, decent alcohol level and raspberry, strawberry and cola flavors. Next racking in another week or two.

Thanks for reading this far into the rant. Do you kit makers pitch the instructions and go from experience?
1. Have stopped using the bentonite all together.
2. If it’s a premium kit with skins I add water to the 6 gal mark. If it’s a cheaper kit I cut about 1/2 a gal of the water.
3. I do use the oak chips. I wrap the cane in mesh bag to avoid clogging. I think it’s a better way to extract the tannins you’re after here than using cubes.
4. I read the SG after adding the water but if there’s a skins pack I let it soak over night, stir well then read it a again recording that one as my starting SG. I don’t add the oak chips until I’m ready to pitch yeast. I have never gotten an SG reading that low.
Yes, experience over instruction now. I use the instructions as a sort of checklist.
 

sour_grapes

Victim of the Invasion of the Avatar Snatchers
Joined
Sep 19, 2013
Messages
13,503
Reaction score
15,105
Location
near Milwaukee
Some comments:

1. The Bentonite doesn't really "dissolve." If it is suspended in a slurry, it can indeed affect the SG even if not dissolved (contrary to what many believe). However, let's think about this. The Bentonite sachet contains, what? Maybe 30 grams? And the must contains ~25000 grams? So, yes, even if "dissolved," it would raise the SG by 0.001. Moreover, you have stated that you measure your sugar content using a refractometer. So you are not measuring SG anyway, you are measuring the refractive index. I do not believe that the Bentonite will change that (since I do not think it actually dissolves).

2. See #4.

3. The splinters are for sacrificial tannins during fermentation, which requires quick addition of the tannins to the must. Not clear that cubes could do this.

4. I feel there must have been a mistake here. 8 brix is VERY low. (And, by the way, corresponds to about 4% ABV, not 8%. And for the others, that would be a SG of about 1.032.) It would be difficult for me to believe that the WE kit could be that out of whack. I would not trust your refractometer reading. I would want to verify using a hydrometer.
 

Ohio Bob

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2022
Messages
219
Reaction score
301
Location
Cleveland, Ohio area
You must be the master. You are correct in that my refractometer is off. I should have said 14 Brix corresponding to 8% alcohol. I got it out and put a few drops of water on it, it read way below zero. It’s doesn’t have any scale markings below zero but it might have been off as much as 5 Brix, so maybe my must is really 19? That’s more believable especially since it tasted pretty good at the first racking.

Thanks for helping me check myself.
 
Joined
Nov 5, 2006
Messages
4,881
Reaction score
12,357
Location
Raleigh, NC, USA
Step 1, dissolve bentonite in water and put in the fermenter. This is wrong as the bentonite will affect the SG, will it not?
@sour_grapes nailed this one -- it's not enough of an effect to matter.

My understanding is that bentonite was originally added to kits to eliminate a potential protein haze in white kits. It also accelerates the fining process and produces more compact lees, which reduces wine loss during racking. Use or don't use at your own discretion.

Step 2, add the juice and top off to 6 gallons. Wrong again, wait for it...
Kits from quality vendors, which include WE and RJS, are designed for reconstitution to 23 liters. If you reconstitute to a different volume, you are changing the balance of the kit. Do so at your own risk.

Step 3 add the oak splinters. What a mess at 1st racking. I pitched all the lees in the trash rather than clog my basement grinder pump. A previous post said to throw the splinters away and use your own cubes, I agree.
Again, @sour_grapes is spot on -- this is sacrificial tannin. Cubes DO NOT work the same, due to the tremendous different in surface area between shredded oak and cubes.

@Old Corker's solution of wrapping the racking cane in a straining bag is what I do -- it works.

Step 4, measure and record the SG (of course you have to avoid the splinters). I used a refractometer and got 8 Brix, or roughly 8% alcohol. Adding water in step 2 “to the 6 gallon mark” should have read something like add water until you achieve the desired SG. Now it’s too late to take water out.
Quality kits are designed for reconstitution to 23 liters, which is the designed balance for initial acid and sugar. If a higher SG is desired, add sugar.
 

Vlabruz

Supporting Members
Joined
Feb 14, 2022
Messages
241
Reaction score
127
My experience with a Wine Expert (Grenache-Syrah-Mourvèdre) kit is just starting. I had heard from magazine articles and shop supply owners to follow the instructions. The manufacturer tweaks the recipe expecting you to follow the instructions.

Step 1, dissolve bentonite in water and put in the fermenter. This is wrong as the bentonite will affect the SG, will it not?
Step 2, add the juice and top off to 6 gallons. Wrong again, wait for it...
Step 3 add the oak splinters. What a mess at 1st racking. I pitched all the lees in the trash rather than clog my basement grinder pump. A previous post said to throw the splinters away and use your own cubes, I agree.
Step 4, measure and record the SG (of course you have to avoid the splinters). I used a refractometer and got 8 Brix, or roughly 8% alcohol. Adding water in step 2 “to the 6 gallon mark” should have read something like add water until you achieve the desired SG. Now it’s too late to take water out.

Surprisingly at the first racking it tasted pretty good, decent alcohol level and raspberry, strawberry and cola flavors. Next racking in another week or two.

Thanks for reading this far into the rant. Do you kit makers pitch the instructions and go from experience?
I'm doing my first winexpert kit and wine ever. I followed everything and my gravity readings matched. I screwed up though when I racked and the 6 gallons didn't fill the carboy. I added water and half a bottle of wine eliminate the head space.... oh well.
I had a conversation with winexpert cs and she said its normal for the wine to just hit the shoulder of the carboy and to leave it alone. There is no risk of oxidation because they don't recommend bulk aging. They want you to bottle age. The claim zero difference.
 
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Messages
5,188
Reaction score
7,095
Location
O'Fallon, MO - Just NorthWest of St. Louis, MO
I'm doing my first winexpert kit and wine ever. I followed everything and my gravity readings matched. I screwed up though when I racked and the 6 gallons didn't fill the carboy. I added water and half a bottle of wine eliminate the head space.... oh well.
I had a conversation with winexpert cs and she said its normal for the wine to just hit the shoulder of the carboy and to leave it alone. There is no risk of oxidation because they don't recommend bulk aging. They want you to bottle age. The claim zero difference.
They might be right, but I top up and carboy agree, then bottle age after the fact as well. I am a believer that wine takes time and patience.
 
Joined
Nov 5, 2006
Messages
4,881
Reaction score
12,357
Location
Raleigh, NC, USA
I had a conversation with winexpert cs and she said its normal for the wine to just hit the shoulder of the carboy and to leave it alone. There is no risk of oxidation because they don't recommend bulk aging. They want you to bottle age. The claim zero difference.
If you bottle on kit schedule (4 to 8 weeks), there is no need to top up -- numerous members have done this and reported having no problems. This is probably why WE says to not bulk age -- it reduces user error, e.g., oxidation.

However, I'm with Craig (@cmason1957), top up the wine and you know it's fine. Besides, on a normal basis I bulk age longer. There is no rush to bottle.

I wrote a description of how I minimize volume loss during rackings; this may help you.
 

Vlabruz

Supporting Members
Joined
Feb 14, 2022
Messages
241
Reaction score
127
If you bottle on kit schedule (4 to 8 weeks), there is no need to top up -- numerous members have done this and reported having no problems. This is probably why WE says to not bulk age -- it reduces user error, e.g., oxidation.

However, I'm with Craig (@cmason1957), top up the wine and you know it's fine. Besides, on a normal basis I bulk age longer. There is no rush to bottle.

I wrote a description of how I minimize volume loss during rackings; this may help you.
Thank you, one thing that I didn't realize is that the 6 gallon car boy actually holds more than 6 gallons . So to your point as far as racking I did leave too much wine because I was afraid of transferring sediment. But it was probably only about about one liter.
 
Joined
Nov 5, 2006
Messages
4,881
Reaction score
12,357
Location
Raleigh, NC, USA
Thank you, one thing that I didn't realize is that the 6 gallon car boy actually holds more than 6 gallons . So to your point as far as racking I did leave too much wine because I was afraid of transferring sediment. But it was probably only about about one liter.
Carboy volume is not necessarily accurate -- I have a couple of 19 liter carboys that are closer to 20 liter. It also depends on how full you fill them.

If I rack carefully, my volume loss is typically 1.5 to 2 bottles total.
 

NewfieMike

Junior
Joined
Mar 3, 2021
Messages
10
Reaction score
10
Location
Gander, NL, Canada
I wrote a description of how I minimize volume loss during rackings; this may help you.
Hi Bryan, a quick question regarding your description above. Specifically Tactic 4 you talk about pouring loose sludge into a wine bottle and placing it in the refrigerator for a week with the hope of reducing loss.
I'm wondering if you cap or close the wine bottle while in the refrigerator ?
Also I assume there's no worry about removing your airlock and pouring any savings back into the carboy ?
Thanks for your time
 
Joined
Nov 5, 2006
Messages
4,881
Reaction score
12,357
Location
Raleigh, NC, USA
I'm wondering if you cap or close the wine bottle while in the refrigerator ?
I use a vaccuvin to pump the air out of the bottle, although if the bottle is at least 3/4 full, a stopper is fine. See my next comment:

Also I assume there's no worry about removing your airlock and pouring any savings back into the carboy ?
There is a lot of misunderstanding regarding O2. Oxidation is a factor of wine volume vs headspace vs time. A small volume of wine with a large headspace oxidizes faster than a large volume of wine with a small headspace. Oxidation occurs over days, weeks, and months, not minutes.

There is no danger in popping the stopper for a few minutes.

This does not mean anyone should be relaxed about air exposure. I limit unnecessary exposure, and when working on wine (e.g., racking) I try to accomplish tasks efficiently to reduce exposure.

EDIT: Also note there is a huge difference between active fermentation, post-fermentation outgassing, and outgassed wine. Yeast uses O2 for reproduction so it's beneficial to ferment in an open container, and to stir/punch down the wine at least once per day.

Outgassing wine is producing its own layer of protective CO2 that is continuously renewed during the outgassing period, so a larger headspace is not damaging. Some kit vendors state that topping up the carboy is not necessary, but they also indicate bottling within 4 to 8 weeks of starting. There is strong evidence the wine is safe during that period of time.

Me? I top up within a week or 2 of the end of fermentation. I typically bulk age all wines longer, so any protection by outgassing is long gone. Plus, when I see the carboy is full to within 1" to 3" of the stopper, I know how large the headspace is. Counting on invisible gasses to provide protection is not within my risk tolerance.
 
Last edited:

szap

Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2016
Messages
89
Reaction score
64
Location
Missouri
My experience with a Wine Expert (Grenache-Syrah-Mourvèdre) kit is just starting. I had heard from magazine articles and shop supply owners to follow the instructions. The manufacturer tweaks the recipe expecting you to follow the instructions.

Step 1, dissolve bentonite in water and put in the fermenter. This is wrong as the bentonite will affect the SG, will it not?
Step 2, add the juice and top off to 6 gallons. Wrong again, wait for it...
Step 3 add the oak splinters. What a mess at 1st racking. I pitched all the lees in the trash rather than clog my basement grinder pump. A previous post said to throw the splinters away and use your own cubes, I agree.
Step 4, measure and record the SG (of course you have to avoid the splinters). I used a refractometer and got 8 Brix, or roughly 8% alcohol. Adding water in step 2 “to the 6 gallon mark” should have read something like add water until you achieve the desired SG. Now it’s too late to take water out.

Surprisingly at the first racking it tasted pretty good, decent alcohol level and raspberry, strawberry and cola flavors. Next racking in another week or two.

Thanks for reading this far into the rant. Do you kit makers pitch the instructions and go from experience?
My wife enjoys this wine but it has been really popular with friends.
 

Latest posts

Top