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Old 12-01-2010, 02:02 AM   #1
captainL
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Default Wine expert - shiraz??

hey guys I'm about to get my first wine kit after doing 3 beers. I have pretty much decided on the mid-level wine expert selection shiraz. Just a few rookie questions...

1. What do wino's sanitize with and is it necessary or should I just use my idophor. I don't have a problem buying it it its reasonable. sodium metabisulfite??

2. buying a 6 gallon BB. Also I am assuming a 7.9 gallon bucket for about 20 or a 10 gallon?? Is an airlock necessary or would one of those buckets with a loose lid work for the first week or so.

Thanks. I'm just trying to make sure I have every thing ready to go.
mike



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Old 12-01-2010, 04:51 AM   #2
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1. Can't go wrong with StarSan. I know that 4 Campden tablets (K-Meta, not sodium) per quart of water is an effective sanitizer. I prefer StarSan. It's easy, convenient and (when used as directed) cost effective.

2. Primary fermentation in an open-top bucket covered with a clean towel, secured with a large rubber band to prevent entry of any critters, winged or otherwise. Once primary is over (about 5-7 days, give or take a couple), rack into your BB for secondary; the instructions that come with your kit will be fairly detailed regarding this. Airlock and tight lid on the secondary.

It's not like beer in that with beer (ales) you can leave it in the primary for a few weeks until bottling; with wine, you've got two rather distinct fermentations going on.

I don't understand this part: "a 7.9 gallon bucket for about 20 or a 10 gallon?"
If you've got a 7.9 gallon bucket, it'll do for your primary. Just keep the CLEAN towel or tee-shirt secured over the top of it.

If you've done beer, I presume you've got a hydrometer, racking cane or autosiphon, tubing, bottling wand, maybe a hydrometer jar; you'll need bottles and corks, also a corker, but those may well come with your wine kit. If not, give Zorks* a try. I think you'll like them.

Yooper has a lot of good info especially in her recipes. Also I'd suggest going over to Jack Keller's website for a very thorough tutorial. Not to mention the FAQ's here and a few good searches on beginning winemaking that will provide you with enough information to get you past learning and quickly into the land of confusion. Also, many of the manufacturers' and distributors' websites have excellent tutorials. They're all worth a look.

Looks like you're locked and loaded! Have fun and keep us posted.

- Tim



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Primary: Chardonel
Secondary: Apfelwein, Chambourcin, Blackstone Pond American Ale, King of the North, Concord, 2nd wine from pulp of both
Bottled: Bavarian Hefeweizen, Dortmunder, King of the North (2010), Apfelwein (2010), Lesser Wilderness Mead (2010), King of the North (2nd wine - 2010)

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Old 12-01-2010, 12:09 PM   #3
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Don't forget about degassing. A necessary step in kit winemaking.

Not really easy in a BB, just keep the degassing device away from the walls of the BB. You don't want scratches in the plastic that could allow bad creatures to hide from the cleanings.

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Old 12-01-2010, 02:03 PM   #4
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I would spend the $5 more and get a good glass carboy if you can.

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Old 12-01-2010, 06:58 PM   #5
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thanks guys. I guess I really need buy a kit and see what the directions are.

1. I have campden tablets for my water or idophore I could use.

2. I have heard either way. I feel safer with an airlock if it won't mess anything up....two young kids running around.

3. I"m going with the better bottle too due to the kids. But you bring up a question on degassing. I am assuming that the wine is treated with something to avoid oxygenating before degassing. So i will probably syphon to a bucket for degassing (as to not ruin the carboy)??? Or is this not recommended?

I just don't know if I should get a 7.9 gallon bucket with airlock or just a regular 10 gallon bucket?? I guess it doesn't really matter much.

I have just about everything else. Zorks look interesting, but my LBH is 5 minutes down the road and they rent out floor corkers for cheap.

thanks for the tips.

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Old 12-01-2010, 07:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captainL View Post
thanks guys. I guess I really need buy a kit and see what the directions are.

1. I have campden tablets for my water or idophore I could use.

2. I have heard either way. I feel safer with an airlock if it won't mess anything up....two young kids running around.

3. I"m going with the better bottle too due to the kids. But you bring up a question on degassing. I am assuming that the wine is treated with something to avoid oxygenating before degassing. So i will probably syphon to a bucket for degassing (as to not ruin the carboy)??? Or is this not recommended?

I just don't know if I should get a 7.9 gallon bucket with airlock or just a regular 10 gallon bucket?? I guess it doesn't really matter much.

I have just about everything else. Zorks look interesting, but my LBH is 5 minutes down the road and they rent out floor corkers for cheap.

thanks for the tips.
1. Sanitize with any sanitizer you'd like. It doesn't matter.
2. Winexpert instructions are great- just follow the instructions. I believe they call for a bucket or 6.5 gallon carboy, and an airlock. I personally LOVE the "ale pail" buckets for wine.
3. No need to siphon more than once, but you can if you want. You can degas in the BB, no problem. Just don't hit the sides with the wine whip if you're using one. I always seem to be a terrible "driver" and hit the sides and there's been no damage. Still it's not something you want to do if you can help it.
4. The biggest bucket I ever owned was 7.9 gallons. It's fine. Bigger is not necessarily better, but you can get a bigger one if you want. I use the same stuff for wine and beer, and the "ale pails" are fine. You only need one 6 gallon carboy for the Winexpert kits.
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Old 12-01-2010, 07:28 PM   #7
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Thanks yooper! I have a 6.5 gallon ale pale already so you just saved me a few bucks. I was thinking I needed a bigger one for some reason. One 6 gallon BB and wine kit here I come.

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Old 12-02-2010, 01:31 AM   #8
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The directions tell everything that you need except that they are very vague on if you need to airlock in the primary.

You don't. I put the lid on and cover the airlock hole with a paper towel. Lots of CO2 comes out in the first 4 or 5 days, so I wouldn't use an airlock.

This is for kit wines, grapes or fruit might be different, but there are recipes for them too.

Wine Expert kits make a pretty good wine, not great, but drinkable. They are the gateway drug to other kits, though.

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Old 12-02-2010, 01:45 AM   #9
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I guess the airlock/no airlock is one of those good debates. I'll probably use the equipment I have.

Now you say the kits are not great which I have heard over at wine making talk too. What would be the better way to go for a first timer.

1. Wine Expert - VR shiraz - only making 5 gallons so its less watered down. $75

2. wine Expert - Selection shiraz - 6 gallons - $120

3. Spagnols vino de Vida - 6 gallons - $73

Ive heard spagnols is better, but would I be better off doing the wine expert mid level or the spagnols entry level. These are what my LBH has in stock and I think I might head there tomorrow. thanks.

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Old 12-02-2010, 01:51 AM   #10
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I've made the WE shiraz. It's decent.

I guess the adage "you get what you pay for" is true in wine kits. I've made some WE $50 kits (like the shiraz, on sale). I've made some $150 cellar craft showcase kits- which were excellent.

I guess I can liken it to commercial wines. The WE kits were like a $5-7 bottle of wine, and enjoyable and drinkable right away. The Crushendo $150 its were like $25 bottles, and wonderful after a year or two, or longer.

The cheaper kits were fine, if you think of them as a cheaper wine. If you're a wine snob, you won't be happy with any of the WE kits. But if you want an easily drinkable red wine in 6 months, the cheaper WE kit is fine. It's not complex, but neither is the $120 version.

If you want complexity, you need to buy the better kits with grape skins, and plan on aging.

There are some wonderful kits- but those are all $150 and up. In the $75 and under price range, the WE kits are pretty good. In the $75-$150 range, I like the Cellar Craft kits.



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