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VinoAlex

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Hello! I just started making wine this year and have done 4 kits through my local home brewing shop. I am now taking the show on the road and started the Winexpert Luna Rossa kit. I am trying to get everything together and even though I have looked around the forums a bit I still have some questions.

Where is the best place to buy corks? There are tons of sellers out there but so much information on reliability and cost. I am more interested in where you like to buy them from.

Labels? I have looked at stoneycreek, my home brew store, somewhat print at home although I think I lack the design skills, etc.

Bottles? I think I have this one figured out but wanted to check. 16.99 a case at my home brew store? Anywhere better to get them (not wineries, already tried that route. Not used, want them all the same and do not have nearly enough to bottle in a few weeks)

The wine kit that I purchased said that the primary fermentation step should be done in 5-7 days. Today is day 5. I am going to be working all day and night and it would be more convenient to proceed to step 2 where I put it in the carboy tomorrow. Possible without repercussions from the wine gods? Also my wine thief and tube are coming tomorrow, don't think it would be good to do the hydrometer in the bucket itself?

My wine homebrew store mentioned that I should keep my apartment around 73-75 during the primary stage. Any thoughts on temperature going forward after the fermentation? I like to cut costs during the day by allowing it to get 78-79 in there during the day. I live in Georgia so its the heat of the summer now.

I really appreciate all of the help ahead of time and for probably answering the same questions for the 1000th time.
 

Scooter68

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Bottles - Check out the local recycling center. Learn when most folks dump their recycling. I have no problem finding identical bottles with a little patience. Of course the center isn't far out of the way for me but still, it takes a little patience and it will pay off. At the prices you are talking about (Plus shipping) I can have a lot of patience waiting and watching for bottles. I generally look for 5 bottles of a given brand shape color and rarely have trouble finding them. Right now I have about 75 bottle of various shapes and colors and I'll be starting to look again in a few weeks. I'm still 6-8 months out on the next bottling time so I've got plenty of time.

To repeat the oft stated phrase: The wine will be ready when it's ready. Even with kit wines you need to check the hydrometer and remember that those days they talk about are just the average times. It might take 2 weeks for your wine to finish fermenting or it might take 3 days. Temperatures and other conditions, including the age of the kit you bought, can affect the time it takes for things to complete.

Temps are important but not always critical in some instances. White wines will come out better at lower temps, reds and darker wines can do quite well at the higher end.

Labels, well there is at least one member on this board who can help in that regard.

Bottling time.... What's the rush? More aging in bulk will only help the wine. Just because the kit directions say "Ready to bottle in 6 weeks" means nothing. Most of the experience kit makers on this forum will tell you that's something they always ignore. Aged wines always taste better. (6 months to a year minimum for most wines other than DB)

The magic word in wine making is PATIENCE - rushing things will only lead to disappointment.

Liquor stores are for those who have no patience. Take your time and you'll be much happier in the end.
 

drainsurgeon

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First of all, welcome to the forum! You will find all the answers you need for wine making right here. Very helpful and friendly group.

I purchase my corks through my local wine store. I buy 100 for $14. There are many on line sources also but the brew supply stores are your best bet for quality.

Some kits come with wine labels but I usually buy them from the wine store or sometimes make them myself. You can buy Avery shipping labels and then go on line to avery.com and design your label with their program and print. Easier than you think.

I pick up most of my bottles (for free) at my local recycle center making sure that they are not damaged at all. Bring them home, de-label with soaking or scraping with a window razor blade and then clean-sanitize with One Step. Did I mention that they are FREE! I pick up wine boxes from the local liquor store. They usually throw them away.

I usually do my first racking at one week and their schedule is pretty accurate all the way through. However, your hydrometer is the best tool to know where the wine is at and when to proceed to the next step. Letting your wine bulk age a few months does not hurt a thing and will ensure that you are done dropping sediment and are de-gassed. Just make sure you add your 1/4 tsp Kmeta every 3 months.

As far as temp goes I think you will find that the must generates it's own heat and keeping it under 80 can sometimes be a challenge. I brew in my basement where summer temps are 65-68 and sometime have to warm up the must to get it started. If it starts to overheat I set up a fan blowing on the primary to keep it cooler. I record my SG, temps and stir daily during primary ferment.

Again welcome and have fun with your new hobby!
 

Kraffty

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With some effort you can find wholesalers of bottles. I buy from a local So. Cal company and pay less than 9.00 a case but you have to meet their minimums which in my case is at least 24 cases. Another thought that I've considered but not tried yet would be your local $1.00 store. I've seen large soft drink bottles with the Grolsh style flip tops for $1.00 each (you'd have to drink or dump the contents). I've also seen loose decorative 750ml bottle for the same price that look like they take standard #9 corks. I'd feel pretty safe with the drink bottles since they have actual drinks in them already AND you don't have to buy corks. I'm not sure about the other decorative ones, may take a little investigation on your part. Welcome and best of luck however you go.
Mike
 

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