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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Wine Making Forum > Wine Newbie Wants to Make a Merlot

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Old 05-08-2013, 01:43 AM   #21
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Personal note - I spent nearly $300 on my hobby today. Feels good to be so self-absorbed sometimes.

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Old 07-10-2013, 08:12 PM   #22
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I decided to unbox my kit and take a look at the contents. I want to start this kit later in the summer when I have some time to take care of it properly. I'll document my progress as I go so other folks who might be considering a kit can know what to expect (and know what mistakes to avoid).

Looks like a very well done kit. 2 bags, one of juice and one of skins, muslin bag, 3 bags of oak cubes, 2 brown packets of oak powder, 2 packets of chitosan for clarifying (clear watery stuff), packet of Lalvin EC 1118 yeast, packets of bentonite, potassium metabisulfite, and potassium sorbate, and 30 labels (kinda sexy labels, gotta get some nice bottles to go with them). I pulled out the yeast packet and put it in the fridge, but it has been stored in the cellar and I expect that the yeast is still fine. My LHBS carries it if freshness becomes questionable.

Kit instructions are same as those found online here http://www.winexpert.com/pdfs/kit-in...uctions_EN.pdf

wine-kit-001.jpg   wine-kit-002.jpg   wine-kit-003.jpg  
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Old 08-15-2013, 10:17 PM   #23
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OK, I "assembled" the kit today. Nothing too difficult really, though with 6 gallons of liquid things get mighty heavy so watch your backs and lift with your knees and all that. Add bentonite dissolved in 1/2 gallon warm water, juice (about 4.5 gallons), rinse the juice bag with one more gallon of warm water, and top up to 6 gallons. Add oak powder, then put grapeskins loosely in the muslin bag and stir it in. Gravity is supposed to fall between 1.080 and 1.100 (mine was 1.090). Check temperatures are between 72-75F, sprinkle the dry yeast on the surface, close it up and stick on the airlock.

If you follow the directions well the volumes and gravity comes up pretty much spot on. The smell of the Merlot juice was amazing! Definitely not Welch's grape juice.

Now I just need to punch down the grapeskins daily for the next 7 days, then rack to secondary when gravity is below 1.010. So far so good.

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Old 08-17-2013, 08:53 PM   #24
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Day 2 - I opened the fermenter to punch down the cap. The grapeskins are now floating on the surface, and you could see and hear the fizzing of the CO2 being generated. Grape soda! I pushed down the bag and swirled it around a bit and stirred down some of the gas. Airlock is going like mad.

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Old 08-17-2013, 08:56 PM   #25
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Thanks for the updates! I'm making rhubarb wine and dandelion right now, but am going to start a new kit wine when the rhubarb goes to secondary in a day or so. I bought it last week, because I wanted a new red. I wanted a chianti or sangiovese, and I can't remember which I bought.

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Old 08-17-2013, 09:08 PM   #26
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I'm enjoying this kit so far. The smell is wonderful, and it is nice to be able to crack open the fermentor and see what is going on in there.

While I was doing this I was also brewing my take of George Washington's Small Beer, and I grabbed a cup of krausen beer from my Centennial Pale Ale to pitch. I figured that if I could poke and prod the wine while fermenting, why not do the same with my pale ale, so I gave it a good stir. It is only 24 hrs in, and I'll leave it alone from now on, but I don't think a little rousing and some O2 will hurt the beer at this point. The beer was a very pretty golden green.

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Old 08-17-2013, 09:12 PM   #27
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Sorry to ask questions on your thread, but. Ok so a good kit cost around 150$ soo that's about 5$ per bottle. Can anyone tell me how much a bottle of wine of this quality would cost In a store?

EDIT: assuming it was made as it was meant to be, and turned out on par.

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Old 08-17-2013, 09:26 PM   #28
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Well, the Merlot that I like to drink, by Furnace Brook Winery out in Richmond MA, is $18 per bottle, more if I need to have it shipped.

I had to buy a new fermentor, carboy, a corker, and bottles, so the cost/benefit analysis goes out the window. I think if I tallied everything up, I'd probably still beat $18 per bottle, but not by much. If I do more wines then those up front costs get diluted and the cost per bottle would go down.

In the end I don't really care, within reason. It is a hobby and it is fun, and I like knowing what goes into my wine and engaging in the process.

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Old 08-17-2013, 10:12 PM   #29
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Yeah, I already have all the equipment. I'm just wondering how much a bottle of that quality would cost. Really just to see if it's worth it.

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Old 08-17-2013, 10:30 PM   #30
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I'm not sure what to tell you yet. I'll be sure to put my tasting notes up in 6-12 months, maybe that will help.

My gut says that this is a very well done kit, and I have the capability and patience to execute this kit properly, so I am hopeful that a very good quality wine will be the eventual result.

The only place where I likely will deviate from the directions is in the addition of potassium sorbate. That crap destroyed a mead that I attempted a few months ago, and since this is a dry wine it does not need it. I think the kit makers provide it as insurance so newbies don't make bottlebombs when they bottle too early without checking gravity. Most people can't taste it, but I can, and it is nasty.

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