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Jivetyrant 10-15-2012 06:58 PM

Need resources for starting winemaking
 
I am a seasoned homebrewer and would like to help my mother get into winemaking. I have no experience with home winemaking, she has make 3 batches in past years. 2 of them came out very poorly, one came out "alright."

I would like to help her through this next batch so she doesn't get frustrated and give up on the hobby but I don't really know where to start. I bought a book for her (The Home Winemaker, I believe) but it really was not at all helpful for lit winemaking.

Can someone point me in the right direction?

novalou 10-15-2012 08:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jivetyrant
I am a seasoned homebrewer and would like to help my mother get into winemaking. I have no experience with home winemaking, she has make 3 batches in past years. 2 of them came out very poorly, one came out "alright."

I would like to help her through this next batch so she doesn't get frustrated and give up on the hobby but I don't really know where to start. I bought a book for her (The Home Winemaker, I believe) but it really was not at all helpful for lit winemaking.

Can someone point me in the right direction?

What were the steps used in the batch that didn't turn out well?

As long as you have good sanitation, use cultured yeast, and quality ingredients, you should make decent wine.

Jivetyrant 10-15-2012 08:55 PM

I'm not sure of the steps she took, as I was not present for any of her "brew days". Is it simply a matter of following the kit instructions? Should I purchase fresh yeast instead of using what came with the kit? Do I need to pitch extra yeast? Do I need to rehydrate/make a starter? Is there anything beyond basic kit instructions that I should be doing?

Yooper 10-15-2012 09:34 PM

I don't know of any really great winemaking books, but Jack Keller's website is a treasure trove of information. Not just recipes (which are outstanding, and he has recipes for everything), but the basic steps and advanced techniques. It's really the howtobrew.com of winemaking.

His site is tough to navigate, though. Here's the place to start: http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/basics.asp Click "step 1" under the ad to start.

He has info on finings, techniques, yeast strains, well, everything. He's the John Palmer of winemaking.

novalou 10-15-2012 10:14 PM

+1 on Jack Keller's website. I read it extensively when I started and refer back to it every now and then.

The kits I have made turned out well, I'd say the instructions work well. It wouldn't hurt to buy fresh yeast, also check the date of the kit, just as you would for food.

Spend the extra bucks on the premium kits, they truly are better. The lower end kits turn out OK, all depends on what quality you are after.

The kit she has made before, how old was the wine when it was deemed terrible?

Jivetyrant 10-15-2012 11:41 PM

Around a year. She actually brought a bottle to the winemaking supply store she bought it from and they determined that there must have been something wrong with the kit, so they gave her a free one.

The last one she made that was disappointing was actually quite good initially. (It was a Pinot Grigio kit). It was bright and clear, with a nice crisp taste. She topped off we carboy with a similar bottle of commercial wine (someone had told her that was a good idea) and over the next two months it turned from a bright, clear yellow to a darker brownish yellow. It lost its crisp flavor and tasted what I would call oxidized, in the beer world.

Yooper 10-16-2012 12:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jivetyrant (Post 4502095)
Around a year. She actually brought a bottle to the winemaking supply store she bought it from and they determined that there must have been something wrong with the kit, so they gave her a free one.

The last one she made that was disappointing was actually quite good initially. (It was a Pinot Grigio kit). It was bright and clear, with a nice crisp taste. She topped off we carboy with a similar bottle of commercial wine (someone had told her that was a good idea) and over the next two months it turned from a bright, clear yellow to a darker brownish yellow. It lost its crisp flavor and tasted what I would call oxidized, in the beer world.

Well, in the beer world AND the wine world, oxidized is oxidized. My guess is that the top off wine was poured in, and/or there was too much headspace.

rhartwel41 10-17-2012 03:18 AM

I originally got started after readying the book the job of home winemaking the author was Terry something. It was a quick read and got you started off making something pretty quickly. It gave me a good base to build on as I did more research.

springmom 10-17-2012 06:13 AM

Terry Garey, The Joy of Home winemaking. It's the book I got to get me started and it's very helpful, and she has a sense of humor as well. I'd recommend it highly.

DoctorCAD 10-18-2012 07:47 PM

It IS pretty hard to wreck a good kit wine. Now, if it was one of those Amazon or EBay cheap kits, then it might be the kit.

Follow the directions to the letter and they work. Don't listen to your old Uncle Bob or some faceless internet resource or a guy you know that makes moonshine, follow the included directions. After you figure out what messes with what, then you can start changing things up.


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