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First time wine maker

Bought wine wine kit, started in April, 2012. Followed kit instructions, and left in carboy until Nov 2012, racking it about every 6 weeks. Bottled Nov 2012, tasted on Christmas. Tasted terrible. Left I bottles and in a cool place until May 2013. Tasted the wind again and it tasted very flat.
Any ideas or hope for the wine?

Which kit specifically are we talking about?

[quote=“Harv2002”] Tasted the wind again and it tasted very flat.
Any ideas or hope for the wine?[/quote]

As it should unless you primed it like a beer.

Grand Cru International Calif Chardonnay

What do you mean b priming as I have never made beer?

4/10/2012 start SG 1.104
4/23/2012 SG 1.030
5/8/2012 SG .0996

Wines are normally not carbonated. Unless you want a “sparkling” wine.

Priming is the way we get carbonation into a drink. It involves adding a small amount of sugar (table/corn) to the beverage. The yeast still in suspension consume the sugar and produce the CO2. Having caps/caged corks then keep the CO2 in the bottles to give the drink the fizz.

If yo are corking the bottles and don’t use a cage, the cork is likely to pop out.

Normal amounts of sugar is .75 to 1oz per gallon.

Since this wine, carbonation is not what is needed. So the question is why is the wine tasting very flat?

If being flat is not having no carbonation, what is your definition of being flat?

“Flat” is a wine tasting term that usually means it’s low in acid.

It might help to add some tartaric acid or acid blend. If it works, figure out how much is needed per bottle and fix as you open them.

Once I determine the amount of acid blend per bottle, does it need to sit for awhile again the bottle?

It’s an instant fix. Pour a little wine into a cup with acid, stir to dissolve, pour back into the bottle, and you’re ready to serve. Maybe push the cork back in and gently invert the bottle to get it fully mixed.

I am only a couple years into this myself. But a couple of things I have learned by making mistakes. Is one thing that can make a wine taste flat is CO2 suspended in the wine. You can correct this by pouring you wine from the bottle into a decanter and let it sit for a couple of hours and out gas and taste again. Another thing that is not correctable at this point but that should be remembered for future. Is that the kits always recommend to top off the carboy to prevent oxidation. I made the mistake of topping off with water. I feel this caused a loss in body. So now I top off with like wine. Much better. I made my first batch or two that lacked body drinkable by blending it 50 -50 with a like bottle of wine purchased from a liquor store. The thing I found that helps a lot to is you get what you pay for. Meaning that the more expensive kits give you a much better tasting wine. And a lesson for making the red wines is be patient. A couple of years aging the wine is much better then at just a few months.


This post has been around for a while so I’m curious whether anything has changed here.

I have not tried Grand Cru kits myself, but rj is a OK manufacturer. I believe this was a 10l kit, which should be half decent, but certainly not a top tier product line.

Can’t comment on the “flat” nature of the wine without trying it myself but here are a few ideas to think about:

  1. Acidity was mentioned as a culprit. Chardonnay in general is not overly acidic and assuming it was oaked…maybe the buttery character this imparted could be taken as “flatness”? Definately should not be looking for a bright acidic wine in oaked chardonnay.

  2. This wine should have been very drinakable at a young age. A kit at that level is not designed for long term aging so if it is undrinkable after two months it really seems fishy to me.

  3. Recomendations: Even though RJ is a respectable producer, I have never been particularily impressed with anything I have tried from them. At the same time, assuming you did everything correctly as far as process goes, might go with a different varietal next time see how that goes.

Otherwise, for whites I’d go for a winexpert product next time. Maybe go to a 15l or 16l premium kit.

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