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First timer, questions about Trinity Red

I’ve always wanted to ferment stuff, I have several friends who brew beer, so when I saw that NB had wine making kits at 40% off, I had to jump all over it.

I’ve lurked here and a few other similar sites for about a week now, and it seems making wine is as easy or as complex as one wants it to be. I also was looking for my first kit to try out before I takle actual fresh fruit, the Trinity Red kit seemed to come up often and with people getting good results.

I started my batch the other night, and followed the directions with one change- I added 20 oz of Sun Maid raisins in a muslin pouch.

Now that my batch is buzzing away crazily with fermentation, I’m starting to second guess myself.

  1. Should I have boiled or otherwise treated the raisins before adding them to the batch?
  2. With the liquid displacement of the raisins cause problems? I added the raisins before topping up the fermenter with water to the 6 gal mark.
  3. When I do the first racking to the secondary fermentation bottle, do I squeeze out the raisins, or just let them be?
  4. The directions say not to top off the secondary fermentation, but this seems to go against everything I’ve read so far. Should I deviate from the procedure at that point, top off, let it ferment and do a series of rackings over several months to a year?
  5. I’m pulling he top off my fermenter to poke down the bag of raisins and give a short gentle stir twice a day so far, everything looks and smells fine, should I keep doing this or am I giving the batch too much air exposure?
  6. My initial specific gravity before adding yeast corrected to ~1.092, does this sound high enough?

Certainly no expert here; done a couple of wine kits, beer kits, and a handful on one gallon fruit wines.

  1. Typically you would not boil ‘fruit’, as that releases a lot of pectin? which causes a cloudiness that you don’t want. Usually when making fruit wines, people add 1 campden tablet per gallon and let it sit for 24 hours. That kills anything in the fruit, etc. Then after it sits you can add the yeast. That is very different for the wine kits. I wouldn’t worry about it for this kit.

  2. Wouldn’t worry about it. You can top off later if it makes you feel better, but if you are worried about the SG being high enough the last thing you want to do is ‘water down’ what you have.

  3. Usually you don’t squeeze the fruit too much, as it can also cause that cloudiness or haze. A gentle squeeze is fine, but even that wouldn’t be necessary.

  4. Does that kit have an F-Pack? I have found that the directions have you rack into a carboy after a week, and then add the clarifiers and sweeteners a week later. Typically it will tell you to take out some liquid when adding those things, and then to top off. Did you read farther along in the directions? As mentioned before, unless it is really low, I would not top off. You are better off going to a 5 gallon carboy if it is available and you are that short.

  5. That is also a ‘fruit wine’ thing, to stir every day and punch it down. Make sure you are sanitizing your spoon every time. I actually just take the bucket and rock it back and forth to swirl every day for the first week. Then I don’t need to open it up and risk exposure.

  6. Usually the kit will have the target gravity listed. 1.09 would work out to around 12%-13%, which should be plenty.

Hope that was helpful

No F-pack in the kit.
I think I was worried because of the odd smells and horrible taste, and I was extremely paranoid of screwing up.
I added the clarifier, sorbate, and metabisulfite, let it sit for 2 weeks, then racked it into a carboy and its aging now. I was really surprised at how nicely it clarified and even more surprised at how good it tasted at this point.

I now have a pinot gris in secondary fermentation that I’m making for my wife.

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