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Old 12-25-2007, 08:10 PM   #1
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Default Noob Wine ?

Ok lets say I was planning ahead for next Xmas and wanted to make some wine to give out. A lot of my family and good friends are big wine drinkers. I was thinking maybe I could just make a batch and then it would have some good aging time before then. So I have some questions to go along with the idea hopefully I can get some answers to help with the decision process.

1. I have a mid level brewing kit so what other things would I need in order to make a wine kit? I would need a wine corker and bottles and the biggest carboy I have is a 5 gal so I would need a bigger carboy too, correct? Anything else?

2. How much more difficult would making wine be, from the directions I read it didnt seem like to much more work or to many more steps.

3. When would be a good time to undertake this project if I decide to go ahead with it. I have a couple beers I want to take on first that would make it Mid Feb unless I get another carboy or 2. Would I want to get it started then to give it the most aging time possible or is anything more than around 6 months going to be just fine?

4. Recommendations on a good wine kit, and style. In particular a style that would go well with some of the holiday season meals.
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Old 12-25-2007, 10:24 PM   #2
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I don't know that much about wine making but I thought I'd bump this for you.
I'll answer what I can.
You probably have most of what you need to make wine. If you don't have them, you will need 2- 6 gallon carboys. They will be needed after the wine is finished fermenting and for when it is racked. Wine needs to be stored with very little head space so the 6 gallon carboys are necessary. As you said, you will need a corker, corks, and bottles. I've heard of some LHBS renting corkers. Some wines require the addition of the actual fruit. They must be fermented in a larger plastic bucket because you have to be able to push the fruit into the must periodically.

Wine is easier than beer. Especially kits. It just takes longer and has some different procedures

Depending on the wine, you will need to start soon if you want it ready for next year. Some wines are ready sooner than others. This is where I'm no expert on which wines are ready faster.
Good luck and let us know!
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Old 12-25-2007, 10:28 PM   #3
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You also might consider making them a mead. It can be made to taste like wine.
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Old 12-25-2007, 10:32 PM   #4
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Well, the six gallon carboy is ideal. With my first kit, though, I didnt' have one. I do have a 5 gallon and a one gallon, and I have two 3 gallon carboys. Not ideal, but it works.

Wine kits are much easier than beer, in my opinion. As far as timing, you can actually guess a bit by the cost and timing of the kit. For example, the 30-day kits are cheap and good to drink in 6 months or so. These are in the $60 range for the most part. Then, you have "better" kits, and you would have time to make one, barely. There are many different kinds from the "Island Mist" kits which are like wine coolers, to the higher end kits with real grape juice. I haven't made many, so I'm not expert, but if you want to post one you're thinking about I'll let you know what my impressions are.

You need corks (cheap), bottles, and a corker (not cheap, but maybe your LHBS will rent one). Extras are those little shrink wraps for the top and labels, which are cheap and make a big difference. You should have everything else you need. (except maybe the carboy)
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Old 12-25-2007, 10:48 PM   #5
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The cheaper kits ($40-60 for 5 gallons) are real easy to make, and can be modified to be real good. For example, one problem with them is that since they are from concentrate, they are fermented without the grape skins. This causes them to lack the right amount of tannins. If you're making a red wine from these kits, it may be a good idea to add tannin flavor, which you can buy online or at your LHBS. Second, I've heard adding more oak cubes to your primary can help a lot if you're wine is supposed to be oaky. I actually haven't tried these modifications myself, but I did make a Chianti from a kit recently, and my guess is that these mods would have helped a lot if I knew about them. Hopefully someone here can advise you on the right amount of tannin flavor and oak cubes to add for your specific kit. Good luck!
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Old 12-25-2007, 10:59 PM   #6
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http://www.midwestsupplies.com/produ...px?ProdID=4431

I was thinking maybe this kit, I personally dont like wine that much but I had some Gewurztraminer that wasnt to bad at Thanksgiving, otherwise I would go with a Reisling probably since its about the only other wine I drink. Some other suggestions of kits would be good.
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Old 12-25-2007, 11:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clemson55
http://www.midwestsupplies.com/produ...px?ProdID=4431

I was thinking maybe this kit, I personally dont like wine that much but I had some Gewurztraminer that wasnt to bad at Thanksgiving, otherwise I would go with a Reisling probably since its about the only other wine I drink. Some other suggestions of kits would be good.
Kits like that would definitely be ready by Christmas so that might be a good choice. I'm a dry red wine drinker, so I don't have any experience with that kit. But, I still say to make what you like. You'll end up with 30 bottles total!
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Old 12-25-2007, 11:18 PM   #8
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Yeah thats kinda what I'm worried about, cause I dont know enough people to give away 30 bottles, probably only like 10-15, and they wont get drunk to quickly between me and my fiance. How long can I expect them to last and still be good?
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Old 12-26-2007, 12:14 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clemson55
Yeah thats kinda what I'm worried about, cause I dont know enough people to give away 30 bottles, probably only like 10-15, and they wont get drunk to quickly between me and my fiance. How long can I expect them to last and still be good?
If you add the extra sulfite (you have to buy it, but the directions are in the kit or we can tell you), maybe a year. My valpollicella kit has been bottled since maybe August or so, and it's showing some age but it's still good. We have to drink it fairly soon, though, because it's just not as good as it was even a month ago. Those early drinking kits are great for drinking early (well, duh! on my part) but just not meant to age. So, drink early and give lots of them away! We took quite a few growlers last summer to pool parties. I put it in a 5 gallon carboy until I could bottle and then just racked the 1 gallon carboy and took it off to the parties.

I guess it's a trade-off- early drinking vs. the ability to age. I guess you have to decide what you want and what your priority is. If you like sweet stuff, those Island Mist kits taste pretty good (the few I've sampled), and are meant for early drinking. I like the valpollicella kit a lot, but like I said, it's already showing some age and it's under a year old.
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Old 12-26-2007, 12:24 AM   #10
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Quote:
Ok lets say I was planning ahead for next Xmas and wanted to make some wine to give out. A lot of my family and good friends are big wine drinkers. I was thinking maybe I could just make a batch and then it would have some good aging time before then.
I had the same idea. Started mine today, see "BAD START". Hope to give it out next Christmas.

I bought the Rj Spangnols, Grand Cru Pinot Noir kit. Don't know if it's a good one or not, it just kind of caught my eye. Ask me next year.
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