Originally posted under Winemaking but maybe Wine Recipe Exchange is where this belongs.
After 25 years I recently got back into wine making. I’m impressed by what I’ve been missing.
I pre-ordered several of the 6 gal frozen juices that were being offered at my local NB.
California Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, and the Italian Amarone.
I understand that the yeast will already be pitched and will start up as soon as it thaws.
I have some ideas as to what I might add like yeast nutrients, oak, grape skin packs to give them body, etc. I would love to hear your suggestions, tips or tricks for these 6 gal juice in 6 1/2 gal buckets.
I’ve also started using anti-foam to great success and do not plan on moving the juice out of the buckets. Although I will have conical and other fermentors available when the juice comes in.
I emailed NB and asked for any advice, tips or suggestions. This is the helpful response I got.
James (Northern Brewer)
Aug 4, 10:37
Thanks Paul. It would be fun to let the natural yeast in the juice do the fermenting. I might mix in some bentonite or yeast nutrient at the beginning to help them along, especially the Carmenere which we want to ferment nice and low to make a light wine. The Amaronne is the opposite, it is big and oakey. So get some nice Hungarian or french oak for that one, I might add chips to primary and some cubes for a week or two before bottling to help it get that nice big oakey raisiny complexity the style is known for. The Cabernet will benefit from some light oaking as well, the merlot, I would wait until it has fermented to decide if it could use the roundness and flavor of oak. Besides that, you can use the same basic procedure as a wine kit to get a nice stable product, though acid and sulfite testing are always a good idea when making your own. I don’t think any of them should need specialized techniques or anything like a malolactic ferment, or tannin additions, though most of those additions can be made once it has started. After 7 days primary, check its below 1.010, transfer to a secondary for 10 days, check that its gotten below about 1.096, then stabilize and clarify. After about 14 days, is a prime time to taste test and decide if you want to try some additions. If the wine tastes flat and flabby, it could use some acid blend to liven the flavor. Tannin or oak would provide roundness in mouth feel and additional flavor. Those are common things people consider once it has started to help improve - drawing a sample and doing some small additions to see what it does to the flavor before adjusting the whole batch is a good idea. I hope these pointers are helpful.
Thanks in advance