A few beginning wine making questions...

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Mikey_Dawg

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Hey all... I 've been into homebrewing for 6+ years and decided I wanted to start making wine as well.

I've watched a few tutorial vids and been doing some reading and figured that I would start with a wine kit from concentrate.

Where do most of you purchase your kits or just wine ingredients in general? Is it most cost effective to purchase a kit or can you purchase the concentrate and other ingredients individually and save money?

Is filtering wine a must? If so, what is the best inexpensive filtering method to get started with.

As long as the fermenters are sanitized, is there any issue with using the same 6 gallon primarys for wine that I've used for beer?

Is starsan an acceptable sanitizer for wine as well?

Any other advice or resources I should check out? TIA.
 

jtcweb

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I went the other way, I started with wine and moved to beer. I've never done the kits as there is a place near me that brings in CA wine grapes. Fermenting a kit in a carboy should work just fine. I bulk age my wine in carboys for about a year.
 

fxdude

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I'm in the same boat you are, I've been brewing for years but just picked up my first wine kit. This site is great as a brewing forum but I haven't seen much in this wine section.

I ended picking up the kit "Selection Estate Sonoma Valley Pinot Noir" from Northern Brewer. I've read that the less concentrated the kit is the better quality the juice will be. This was an expensive kit ($150) and I believe it's nearly 4 gallons of juice so I had to pay extra shipping because of the weight (nearly $50). I figured I wanted to go with the best kit possible since unlike beer which you can tell if it's good within a month or two, you'll have to wait possibly a year on this one.

I found this video series very informative:

I think you can skip using actual filtering equipment and just transfer between carboys a few more times.

From what I've read it's totally fine to use your beer carboys as secondarys. I had to buy a wine bucket for primary fermentation since my kit needed something around 8gallons. I think it's cheaper (and easier) to buy the full kits rather than buying the ingredients separate. My kit came with just about everything I needed measured out so I won't have left over ingredients. I don't think you can use starsan but I'm not sure, I ended up buying a sodium metabisulfite solution which is what the majority of what I've read has recommended.

Hope that helps a little, I've actually got two batches of beer fermenting right now at 65 degrees so I have to wait for those to finish before I can do the batch of wine since it says you must pitch the yeast at temps between 72 and 75.

Good Luck!
 
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Yooper

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That IS a good kit- I think you'll like it alot.

I don't filter my wine, and it's crystal clear. Time will do a great job, as will proper technique (and finings if needed!). Kits come with finings and everything you need, so just follow the kit directions and you can make a great tasting wine.

Wine kits make 6 gallons, so if you're making wine kits you have to get a 6 gallon carboy. You can primary in a bucket or a bigger carboy, but have to have the 6 gallon carboy (or better bottle) for secondary.

Wine yeast has a huge temperature range, so anywhere from about 60 degrees up to 80 degrees is great. Some strains are even more temperature tolerant- down in the 50s up to nearly 100 degrees for one strain! I ferment my wine at the same temperature as most of my ales.
 

fxdude

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Great, thanks for the tips Yooper. I was nervous that I would have to keep the temps up for the wine and have to put off brewing beer for a few months.
 
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Mikey_Dawg

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Thanks for the advice guys... I think I am going to try this pinot grigio kit first from Austin Homebrew... http://www.austinhomebrew.com/product_info.php?cPath=178_453_583_582&products_id=685&osCsid=32a332c6de41c467d0cff8f2db3cd7ab

It is also a 4 gallon concentrate kit which seems like a solid first batch. Will probably quickly follow up with a red wine kit as well just not sure which one yet.
Since AHB has flat rate shipping, their kit prices seem like a great price.

I will probably buy a 6 gallon better bottle with each kit as well since I have 6 gallon primary buckets but only a 5 gallon glass carboy from my brewkit.

Duely noted on the filtration. I also watched the videos posted above and thought they were useful.

What is the soonest most people suggest bottling the kits we are considering? 6 months or more? Thanks again for all the help.
 
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Mikey_Dawg

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That IS a good kit- I think you'll like it alot.

I don't filter my wine, and it's crystal clear. Time will do a great job, as will proper technique (and finings if needed!). Kits come with finings and everything you need, so just follow the kit directions and you can make a great tasting wine.

Wine kits make 6 gallons, so if you're making wine kits you have to get a 6 gallon carboy. You can primary in a bucket or a bigger carboy, but have to have the 6 gallon carboy (or better bottle) for secondary.

Wine yeast has a huge temperature range, so anywhere from about 60 degrees up to 80 degrees is great. Some strains are even more temperature tolerant- down in the 50s up to nearly 100 degrees for one strain! I ferment my wine at the same temperature as most of my ales.
Can you confirm either way on the use of starsan, I beleive I've read it is OK to use for sanitization but want to be sure.
 

fxdude

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Kit looks pretty good. Northernbrewer was supposed to have flat rate shipping as well but I guess there are certain items fall outside of the flat rate shipping because of their weight (I think my kit was around 50lbs).

I'm trying to decide on my bottling time as well. I'm trying to decide between bottling at around 6 months then bottle aging for an additional 6 months or just bulk aging in the carboy for the full 12 months. I'm guessing I'll do the 6 month bottling so I can free up the carboy sooner.
 
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Mikey_Dawg

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Kit looks pretty good. Northernbrewer was supposed to have flat rate shipping as well but I guess there are certain items fall outside of the flat rate shipping because of their weight (I think my kit was around 50lbs).

I'm trying to decide on my bottling time as well. I'm trying to decide between bottling at around 6 months then bottle aging for an additional 6 months or just bulk aging in the carboy for the full 12 months. I'm guessing I'll do the 6 month bottling so I can free up the carboy sooner.
For what it's worth, it did appear to give me the $4.99 shipping at AHB in the Cart with just the single wine kit selected.... might be worth considering in the future as $50 is a hefty shipping price.
 

Yooper

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Thanks for the advice guys... I think I am going to try this pinot grigio kit first from Austin Homebrew... http://www.austinhomebrew.com/product_info.php?cPath=178_453_583_582&products_id=685&osCsid=32a332c6de41c467d0cff8f2db3cd7ab

It is also a 4 gallon concentrate kit which seems like a solid first batch. Will probably quickly follow up with a red wine kit as well just not sure which one yet.
Since AHB has flat rate shipping, their kit prices seem like a great price.

I will probably buy a 6 gallon better bottle with each kit as well since I have 6 gallon primary buckets but only a 5 gallon glass carboy from my brewkit.

Duely noted on the filtration. I also watched the videos posted above and thought they were useful.

What is the soonest most people suggest bottling the kits we are considering? 6 months or more? Thanks again for all the help.
Most kits are ready far before 6 months aging, although the more expensive ($150+) kits may take longer. I think most of my mid-range kits have been bottled by about day 60-90. I have two kits that "should have" been bottled a while ago sitting here looking at me. It's a good thing winemaking is a great hobby for procrastinators!

Star-san works great as a sanitizer for wine, and I highly recommend it.
 
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Mikey_Dawg

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Most kits are ready far before 6 months aging, although the more expensive ($150+) kits may take longer. I think most of my mid-range kits have been bottled by about day 60-90. I have two kits that "should have" been bottled a while ago sitting here looking at me. It's a good thing winemaking is a great hobby for procrastinators!

Star-san works great as a sanitizer for wine, and I highly recommend it.
Great re: starsan as I already have some.

What is the difference between a mid-range kit and more expensive kit that would require longer aging?

I went ahead and grabbed a Selection International Italian Pinot Grigio and a Selection International Australian Shiraz from Northern Brewer since they had the buy 1 get 1 free sale.
 
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