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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Wine Making Forum > Red Wine Making
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Old 11-09-2010, 09:58 PM   #1
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Default Red Wine Making

As a newbie just going from a kit to fresh juice from a local grape supplier I have a few questions:

1. Do I still transfer from primary to secondary?? Do I add anything to the wine when racking??

2. The kit wine was ready to bottle in a bout a month. Doe I need to bulk age this wine for more time?? How long would you suggest before bottling??

3. Do I add anything before bottling??

4. Do I need to degass at some point??

I know these might be basic questions but this is the first time not using a kit and the local supplier just said to add the yeast and there were no further instructions.

I'm making 2-5 gallon batches of California Merlot.

Thanks.

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Old 11-10-2010, 03:09 AM   #2
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1) Yes, you'll still rack, probably several times depending on how long you want to age it. If it's still fermenting I'd keep it in primary for a while longer, I normally wait to rack until I'm sure it's pretty much done and then I add some potassium metabisulfite and potassium sorbate to stabilize and preserve it while it ages.

2) I've heard kits wines are meant for quick wine, I've never made one but it always seems like rushing it to me. As far as I'm concerned a good wine needs a few months aging, but again I've never made a kit wine. I keep my wines and meads around 7 months before bottling, but normally I'm tweeking something in them and letting the flavors mix.

3) Before bottling you want to ensure fermentation is done, the yeast is gone, and you have something stabilizing it.

4) If you choose to make a quick wine, then ya I guess degas it, but if you let it sit for a few months i wouldn't worry about it.

Any oak in the recipe?

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Old 11-10-2010, 04:42 AM   #3
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From a must vs a kit there are a few things to consider that aren't taken care of for you.

1) If you have the skins in there which I assume you do, you must "punch down" the skins (a potato masher sanitized well will do the job) every 12 hours for the first 7 days of fermentation. They will float to the top and will not give your wine the correct color and tannins if you do not do this.

2) You need to add nutrients. I suggest a regimen of 1 tsp of Fermax at pitch, and 1 tsp Fermax + 1/2 tsp of Fermaid K every 12 hours thereafter for five additions total (in 6 gallons of must).

3) In beer we learn cool temps are good for yeast. Not so with red wine. Get that sucker up to 80*F or higher! If you don't get it warm, it won't extract all the color from the grape skins, and you will have a pale, translucent red wine.

4) Separating the grape skins from the finished wine is not simple. I ended up using a grain bag sanitized in boiling water, which I poured the fermented wine from the primary through into a sanitized bucket. Then I squeezed the bag to get as much wine out as I could. I then poured the bucket contents into the carboy with a funnel. By the time this was done the wine was sufficiently de-gassed and I let it age after a few rackings for 6 months. Don't try to just stick a siphon in and expect it to work.. it won't.

5 gallons of must will yield 3 gallons of wine. So your 10 gallons should fit in a 6 gallon carboy for bulk aging plus a little left over for top-up. I used 1L flip top bottles for the top up wine that was left over.

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Old 11-11-2010, 01:30 AM   #4
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Thanks all for the replies.

I didn't have any oak so for now there is none added. If I get some now can I add it at this Point??

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Old 11-11-2010, 04:20 PM   #5
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I think as long as the bulk of your fermentation is over, it's a fine time to add oak if you choose to. Some people sanitize their oak, others I've seen just pitch it in there, but between 1-2oz for 5 gal depending on how long it sits and how oaky you want it. I normally put it in 2 weeks before I plan on doing my next racking.

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