WineXpert WinExpert Stag's Leap Merlot - tips?

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Bmd2k1

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excited that I just snagged my 1st WinExpert Stag's Leap Merlot kit which I will be starting in Nov once I have free Speidel. (I've read some great things about this kit)

Just curious if anyone has any tips?

At this point I plan on ditching the Oak powder and replacing with chips during fermentation...and will use an American Oak Med Toast spiral for bulk aging rather than the provided cubes. Thinking 6month bulk aging at this point....


Cheers!
 

bobofthenorth

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I've made several of them - pretty much straight down the line with the recipe. Right now I've got 3 batches fermenting in carboys. Its day 18 for them now - they'll stay there until about day 30 at which point I will stabilize and add the oak cubes. I'll leave them on the oak for at least 6 months - maybe longer. I never put the skins in the little baggie. I hydrate the clay in piping hot water and rinse the juice bags with hot water so my must is pretty hot the first day. I let it sit for at least 24 hours before I pitch the yeast and then I keep it at 24/25 degrees for the rapid ferment. Leaving the skins out of the baggie gives me a lot of lees but that's just the way I like to do them. We made Stag Leap in a kit store on Vancouver Island for years while we were living on the boat. I remember the look on Pat's face the first time I showed up for bottling and told her we were going to use bags. Bottles on a boat are a royal PITA.
 

Bmd2k1

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When ya say bags....are these bags in a box kinda thing?
I've made several of them - pretty much straight down the line with the recipe. Right now I've got 3 batches fermenting in carboys. Its day 18 for them now - they'll stay there until about day 30 at which point I will stabilize and add the oak cubes. I'll leave them on the oak for at least 6 months - maybe longer. I never put the skins in the little baggie. I hydrate the clay in piping hot water and rinse the juice bags with hot water so my must is pretty hot the first day. I let it sit for at least 24 hours before I pitch the yeast and then I keep it at 24/25 degrees for the rapid ferment. Leaving the skins out of the baggie gives me a lot of lees but that's just the way I like to do them. We made Stag Leap in a kit store on Vancouver Island for years while we were living on the boat. I remember the look on Pat's face the first time I showed up for bottling and told her we were going to use bags. Bottles on a boat are a royal PITA.
When ya say bags....are these bags in a box kinda thing? Ie) giving ya a "box" wine

Cheers!
 

bobofthenorth

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When ya say bags....are these bags in a box kinda thing?
Exactly. I've had mylar bags and the ones I have now appear to be a heavy poly. If I watch and buy them in volume I can get them under $2 per bag and I put around 5 litres in each bag. They look like you should be able to reuse them but I've never been able to pry the stoppers out so they are single use for me.

I've had the argument several times with my wine snob relatives about whether bottles are superior. We've agreed to disagree and I still bottle 1/3 to 1/2 of each batch. Sometimes bottles are just more convenient and they look better for gifting.
 

Bmd2k1

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Exactly. I've had mylar bags and the ones I have now appear to be a heavy poly. If I watch and buy them in volume I can get them under $2 per bag and I put around 5 litres in each bag. They look like you should be able to reuse them but I've never been able to pry the stoppers out so they are single use for me.

I've had the argument several times with my wine snob relatives about whether bottles are superior. We've agreed to disagree and I still bottle 1/3 to 1/2 of each batch. Sometimes bottles are just more convenient and they look better for gifting.
Interesting! Do ya get em online?
 

bobofthenorth

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Our most elegant solution is to buy a storebought bag wine and reuse the box but the more common solution is a recycled Amazon box with a hole cut in it. I've also seen fancy schmancy bag holders on Amazon but that's not gonna happen around here. The wine tastes the same either way.
 

Wayne Freeman

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I've been using and re-using mylar bags for years with no failtures. The method I use to make sure that I can get the spigot back out of the bag for re-use is to only push the spigot in up to the first "notch" or "click" or "detent" (whichever term makes sense). Since these are not going to be banged around or shipped to stores or moved anywhere, that first notch is perfectly secure enough to prevent disaster. That way, they're very easy to remove when the bag is empty because you can get a good grip on the spigot and work it out.
 

Bmd2k1

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I've been using and re-using mylar bags for years with no failtures. The method I use to make sure that I can get the spigot back out of the bag for re-use is to only push the spigot in up to the first "notch" or "click" or "detent" (whichever term makes sense). Since these are not going to be banged around or shipped to stores or moved anywhere, that first notch is perfectly secure enough to prevent disaster. That way, they're very easy to remove when the bag is empty because you can get a good grip on the spigot and work it out.
Do u have any fav bags?

Cheers!
 

Wayne Freeman

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Do u have any fav bags?

Cheers!
Yes, but I've been re-using the six I bought for so long I can't remember my source. Amazon has several similar versions. Mine are mylar, but I don't know if that makes a difference. They're so durable that I still have a couple unused out of the original six. I think I "retired" one bag a couple of years ago because it looked a little worse for wear, but it hadn't failed.
 
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bobofthenorth

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I've been using and re-using mylar bags for years with no failtures. The method I use to make sure that I can get the spigot back out of the bag for re-use is to only push the spigot in up to the first "notch" or "click" or "detent" (whichever term makes sense). Since these are not going to be banged around or shipped to stores or moved anywhere, that first notch is perfectly secure enough to prevent disaster. That way, they're very easy to remove when the bag is empty because you can get a good grip on the spigot and work it out.
Thank you Wayne. That makes perfect sense and I'm going to do that on the next batch. You made me wish I hadn't just bought 30 more bags. UPS is supposed to deliver them tomorrow.
 

Wayne Freeman

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Here's a photo of my bag-in-a-box setup. There's a little shield to cover the hole so you don't see the bag itself but I rarely put it on since I'm the only one that sees it down in the cellar.

tempImage9MhnTi.png
 

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