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First wine batch

I purchased a World Vineyard Cal Zinfandel Shiraz kit on Oct 6 2011. I moved it into the secondary on Oct 13 2011. It has been in my basement at 56 degrees F ever since. The directions say it should be aged well within 3 Mo. Well it has been 3 Mo and I do not consider it well aged. It tastes like it needs to age more. Could that be because it has been at such a low temp for the last 3 Mo?

The directions say if I want to age it longer the 6 Mo I need to add additional Metabisulphite. I have not done that do I need to? And how much extra?

James

You may want to post your question in the wine section
http://forum.northernbrewer.com/viewforum.php?f=23
to get a quicker answer, most of us here are just knuckle dragging brewers!

Did you take a gravity reading when you moved the wine to secondary? If so, what was it? I ask because the cold temp may slow down or stall fermentation if it wasn’t fermented out completely. Other than that, you should be fine. After fermentation is complete, I bulk age my wine in my cellar (around 57f).

I agree that 3 months is in no way enough time for a red to be ready. The manufacturers tend to list the bare minimum aging times to get people excited about buying their kits. I like to wait at least a year before really trying my reds, and 6 months for whites.

For what it’s worth I’ve found (in my limited experience) that even the top end juice kits end up tasting… unfinished for a very long time. I recently discovered a case of Cab Franc/Merlot that I had bottled in early 2009. All the sharpness/harshness was gone and it was a fair bottle of wine. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to make a great bottle of wine though… simply because I don’t have the equipment, grapes, or experience to do so. But… after 3 years in the bottle this wine turned into a decent second bottle of wine (meaning to be opened once you have a pleasant buzz from a good bottle first).

And I did not add extra metabisulfate for an extended storage period

most directions are crap, a minumum of a year before things start to happen

The wine will get better as it ages; the higher price the kit is, the more it will benefit from aging, but even the cheap kits will get better after a year in the bottle. You will want to add one campden tablet per gallon of wine if you don’t intend to drink it all within a few months.

I am fairly new to making wine (from kits), but was directed you do not need to do that by a few experienced people.

Add 1/4tsp of kmeta or 6 Campden tablets for the booster dose of sulfite.

Even a low price-point kit will benefit from a year of aging. They are drinkable after a few months but have kind of a Koolaid flavor that will eventually age out. My first kit was World Vineyard Malbec, it got better at a year but was never more than a decent table wine. I ended up using ot to top up high end kits.

You were supposed to keep the kit warm for the first few weeks. I wonder if it is even done, having sat at a cool temp during the secondary phase. Even aging will go faster at a warmer temp. At 56F its kind of in suspended animation.

I am fairly new to making wine (from kits), but was directed you do not need to do that by a few experienced people.[/quote]
Kits come with everything you need, but they usually assume you’ll drink them quick so they don’t put in enough metasulfite for long aging.

I am fairly new to making wine (from kits), but was directed you do not need to do that by a few experienced people.[/quote]
Kits come with everything you need, but they usually assume you’ll drink them quick so they don’t put in enough metasulfite for long aging.[/quote]

That is what I asked about and was told not to. Maybe it depends on the kit?

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to make a great bottle of wine though… simply because I don’t have the equipment, grapes, or experience to do so. But… after 3 years in the bottle this wine turned into a decent second bottle of wine (meaning to be opened once you have a pleasant buzz from a good bottle first).

If this bottle of wine continues to taste the way it does. I am not sure it would work as a third bottle of wine. (meaning opened even after having a buzz from two good bottles of wine)

[quote=“james s”]I don’t think I’ll ever be able to make a great bottle of wine though… simply because I don’t have the equipment, grapes, or experience to do so. But… after 3 years in the bottle this wine turned into a decent second bottle of wine (meaning to be opened once you have a pleasant buzz from a good bottle first).

If this bottle of wine continues to taste the way it does. I am not sure it would work as a third bottle of wine. (meaning opened even after having a buzz from two good bottles of wine)[/quote]

most kits are made in the middle to flavor wise so it appeals to the masses. I am still fairly new to wine but red wine is hard to get that complexity from using real grapes top of the line kits help with that.

I started out making fruit wine and then a bunch of kits. Now I’m doing mostly grapes, it does take some equipment (crusher, press) but you can sometimes rent it or use mesh bags etc. Its tricky but makes pretty good wine. Its different than beer in that you don’t find out how you did for months/years.

The top-of-the-line premium kit reds are good enough to be first bottle wines.

Top end kits can make quite good wine. It will never equal high end wine from top quality grapes, but still quite drinkable.

The thing to remember with wine is that like with beer, it can be ruined by poor practices, bad sanitation, etc, but it is different in that the real limiting factor is the starting quality of the ingredients. Top quality ingredients for beer are the norm, but top quality grapes for wine are in short supply and home winemakers rarely can get access to them. You can tell the quality of grapes that went into a kit by looking at the price, but even top end kits don’t get grapes of the same quality as good wineries use.

I’ve made decent wine from Central Valley grapes for a few years now. Did a wine from some frozen Napa must and that turned out quite well. Next year I’m driving to Chicago instead of St Louis in order to get Sonoma cab.

If you’re not located within an hour’s drive of the vinyard, the frozen grapes/must is the way to go. I did that for a few years before I moved. It is the only way I know of for a home winemaker in the US to get really decent grapes. Wish I could find something like that here in Finland.

I have a friend with a vineyard so I get really good local grapes, but these are hybrids and cold-hardy stuff that has a different flavor profile than the popular varieties. Ordering and getting grapes shipped from California has worked out pretty well for me these last few years. Frozen must is excellent but much more expensive. The freezing process does really make the must nice and clean as well as helping extract color.

After 4 mo in the carboy and some cold stabilization the wine is starting to taste pretty nice. I have a question. It lacks mouth feel or body. I bottled the wine today. Does a Red Zin/Shiraz develope mouth feel and body with time in the bottle?

James S

The wine will continue to evolve as it ages. Body/mouthfeel is a funny one, as it doesn’t change for some wines, but can develop with others. Only advice I can give is to wait and see. Also, don’t open any of those bottles for at least a month after bottling. The wine goes through bottle shock, and will undergo a temporary change in charactoristics until it settles down again.

I read somewhere that if you add some Glycerin it will add to body and mouth feel. Is that true?

James s

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