Wine Making -- 2008

14 December 2008

Picked up a Gewurztraminer kit, figured I'd start one more wine before the year ends!

29 October 2008

Bought another wine kit, a Red Zinfandel.

26 May 2008

This year is off to a late start ... with a kit I purchased last summer!


Wines Made in 2008

Wine

Started

Bottled

Yield

Blueberry Pinot Noir Kit

26 May 2008

25 Jun 2008

26

Red Zinfandel

30 Oct 2008

13 Dec 2008

27

Gewurztraminer

14 Dec 2008

11 Nov 2009

27

Total Made:

 

 

80 bottles


Blueberry Pinot Noir Kit

I had great luck with the Black Cherry Pinot Noir a few years ago and bought this kit on impulse when stopped by American Brewmaster to get corn sugar for the Port & Cream Sherry. Took a year to get off my duff, but I've started it!

Ingredients:

Kit

WineXpert Island Mist Blueberry Pinot Noir Wine Kit

Yeast

Red Star Premier Cuvee (included in kit)

Sugar

4 cups

Winemaking Actions

Tasks

Date

SG

Started the kit by following the directions. Dissolved bentonite in 2 quarts warm water.

That's as far as following the directions went. Instructions indicate starting SG will be 1.048-1.052, roughly 6% alcohol, before adding the blueberry syrup. Definitely too low to preserve for any length of time. Not that I expect this wine to last 20 years (or even 2) but I'm leery of that low a level for a wine. So I added 4 cups sugar. :-)

Couple years ago I purchased a drill-mounted stirring rod, a tool I strongly recommend! Used it to mix the sugar and bentonite ito the warm water.

Stirred 2 tsp sugar into 1 cup warm water and added yeast. I always do this to start yeast; usually the yeast bubbles up within 20 to 60 minutes.

Added the grape concentrate and stirred well. Then filled the fermenter to 5-1/2 gallons with cold water. Stirred it again. SG came out to what I consider a minimum for wine (1.070, ~9% alcohol).

As usual with the stirring rod I got a fair amount of foam on top. Instead of waiting an hour for it to subside I used a spoon to skim it off the surface and dumped the foam into yeast starter. That not only cleared the surface enough to read the SG, it seemed to jump-start the yeast a bit faster! We'll see how this goes.

26 May 2008

1.070

Racked wine into carboy + gallon jug. There's a fair amount of air space but the fermentation is still vigorous, pushing out any oxygen. Instructions say to check it in 10 days but I'll probably go 2 weeks to the next Saturday.

31 May 2008

1.005

Directions call for removing 1 quart of wine, stirring up the sediment in the carboy, then adding the remaining additives. Since I have 1 full carboy plus a half full gallon jug I stirred both up and racked into a primary fermenter.

15 Jun 2008

0.995

Using the drill-mounted stirring rod I vigorously stirred the wine to drive off CO2, then added sorbate, sulfite, and chitan with more vigorous stirring. Then added the blueberry concentrate. Interestingly enough the concentrate was not blue, it was almost clear with a light brownish caste.

Racked the wine back into the carboy, filling it within 2" of the stopper. Racked remaining wine into the gallon jug, over half filling it. Gave both a good shake, still getting some CO2 from it so the airspace in the gallon just should not be a problem.

15 Jun 2008

1.015

Side note -- tonight the carboy shows a fair amount of sediment (1") while the gallon jug, which was filled from the last in the fermenter, is about half full of sediment!

16 Jun 2008

-

Bottled the wine. It cleared very nicely, sooner than the directions indicated, so I went ahead and bottled it.

25 Jun 2008

1.015

Final Notes

Yield

26 bottles

25 Jun 2008

VERY green at bottling, as expected. A bit on the light side, probably due to the low alcohol content (~9%). Lightly sweet -- I expect this one will prove popular!

29 Oct 2008

This is proving to have a nice aftertaste. While not bone try, it's very lightly sweet. I think I'll need to make another one of these soon as this one is going fast ...

13 Dec 2008

Down to 10 bottles ... this one is going FAST! Has a nice flavor, if a bit sweet for my taste. But it goes!

16 Nov 2009

Down to 2 bottles ... instead of rationing this one I should have just made another one! While not my first choice in wines, these fun wine kits go over VERY well.


Red Zinfandel

Bought this kit 'cuz I wanted a Zinfandel ... and for no other reason.

Ingredients:

Kit

Vino del Vida Wine Kit -- Red Zinfandel

Yeast

Lalvin EC-1118

Winemaking Actions

Tasks

Date

SG

Once again making a valiant attempt to follow the directions! This time I purchased 5 gallons of spring water. My home water (from well) has a lot of minerals in it, VERY hard, and it may be giving my wines a odd taste. I'm trying this as an experiment.

Dissolved bentonite in 1 gallon water in fermenter, using powered stirring rod to mix. Added juice/concentrate and topped up to 6 gallons, again mixing well. Surprisingly enough the SG came out good, at the top end of what the directions called for (1.074 - 1.909). Added the oak dust and rehydrated elderberries (added for body). Rehydrated the yeast and added it (forgot to add 1 tsp sugar to the yeast so it didn't bubble up).

30 Oct 2008

1.090

This fermented out faster than the directions indicated, which is surprising as in the fall/winter my wine making area is around 62 F. As per the instructions added sulphite and potassium sorbate. Yet again that stirring rod makes life SOOOO much easier!

The kit directions specify that the Kieselsol and Chitosan must be added in that order. I need to find out why. But regardless I did as specified ...

09 Nov 2008

0.997

Bottled the wine. I'm not sure how sitting on the lees with the kit chemicals in it affects the wine, so while I'm a bit late in bottling I made sure it was done sooner than later.

13 Dec 2008

0.997

Final Notes

Yield

27 bottles

13 Dec 2008

Had 1/3 bottle left at bottling, drank it while cooking dinner (venison!). It's definitely green but tasty. I can tell there's elderberries in it (added to the kit for body). We'll see how it looks at the 6 month mark.

16 Nov 2009

Down to 2 bottles. This one has held up well. Not a lot of Zin character, but it's a good table wine. I'll made it again ...


Gewurztraminer

I was going to buy a "fun wine" kit, probably a Green Apple Riesling, but this one caught my eye ...

Ingredients:

Kit

Vino del Vida Wine Kit -- Gewurztraminer

Yeast

Lalvin EC-1118

Winemaking Actions

Tasks

Date

SG

Once again making a valiant attempt to follow the directions! Used mostly purchased filtered water, but didn't have quite enough, had to add a gallon of tap water.

Dissolved bentonite in 1 gallon water in fermenter, using powered stirring rod to mix. Added juice/concentrate and topped up to 6 gallons, again mixing well. Rehydrated the yeast with sugar and added it. Directions say to sprinkle it on top and not stir it in ... but I get a fast result hydrating with a bit of sugar.

14 Dec 2008

1.080

Racked the wine, transferring it to a carboy and gallon jug. Added sulphite, potassium sorbate, sweetening packet, kieselsol, and chitosan -- following directions for order of addition and stirring time.

25 Dec 2008

1.005

After ignoring the wine for 11 months, bottled it.

11 Nov 2009

1.005

Final Notes

Yield

27 bottles

11 Nov 2009

Tastes ok, but doesn't have any distinctive gewurztraminer character. I've noticed that the Vino del Vida kits make decent table wines, but aren't the ones to buy if a specific varietal character is desired. This doesn't mean they aren't worth making, but the maker has to have the correct desired and expectations to match the kit.

17 Dec 2010

Finished the last bottle. This made a good table wine with just a hint of gewurztraminer character. While I would have liked more, it wasn't to be. Next time I want gewurztraminer I'll buy a better grade of kit. Best to aim for just a neutral table wine with Vino del Vida.