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Thread: Wine Making

  1. #1
    Quality Control Director Ken's Avatar
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    Default Wine Making

    Has anyone here made their own wine? I was thinking about a large barrel of a Cabernet Sauvignon - Merlot Blend and maybe a small barrel of apple. Lot's of websites out there, but I was hoping someone here has actually done it themselves and has suggestions based on their own experience.
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    Senior Member SARKY's Avatar
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    I made ballon wine as a kid using sugar, Welches grape juice and yeast.
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    I did the same thing Sarky probably around 14-15 or so. I let mine ferment for around 7-8 months and it tasted alot closer to the strength of a whiskey (kinda like tattoo) than a wine.

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    Senior Member tacmedic's Avatar
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    I haven't made much wine as of yet, but I have brewed quite a bit of beer and hard cider. I made a small batch of wine from concord grapes that I picked at a friends' house a couple of years ago, it turned out well if not a little sweet for my taste. I am planning on trying again this year. I am also planning on making some mead this spring. The basics of wine and beer making are essentially the same. There are a few more steps for wine than beer, but it is technically easier to make wine than beer. What sort of info are you looking for?
    "When young men seek to be like you, when lazy men resent you, when powerful men look over their shoulder at you, when cowardly men plot behind your back, when corrupt men wish you were gone and evil men want you dead; Only then will you have done your share." -Phil Messina

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    Senior Member bulrush's Avatar
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    I've been looking into making wine, but the original outlay of equipment can be expensive. You need sterilizing solution, an air lock, the right yeast, etc. You get the tiniest amount of bacteria in there (the reason for sterilizing and the air lock) and the whole container goes bad.

    If you want to do it to get the experience, fine, but I don't think you're going to save any money. I would rather just buy a bottle of $7 wine at the store, it will taste much better.

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    Quality Control Director Ken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tacmedic View Post
    I haven't made much wine as of yet, but I have brewed quite a bit of beer and hard cider. I made a small batch of wine from concord grapes that I picked at a friends' house a couple of years ago, it turned out well if not a little sweet for my taste. I am planning on trying again this year. I am also planning on making some mead this spring. The basics of wine and beer making are essentially the same. There are a few more steps for wine than beer, but it is technically easier to make wine than beer. What sort of info are you looking for?
    Any tricks you've found useful. Barrel prep, percentages of grapes for blends, anything you think will help.

    Thanks!
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    I have been thinking that a barrel isn't essential for wine-making.

    I know most vitners use the various blends of barrel so that they can "age" the wine in a wooden container. This aging process is merely so that the specific wine will obtain an additional flavour from the wood.

    I personally am not a fan of wines that have a strong wood flavor to them, so I would probably be more prone to skip that type of aging.

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    reclinite automaton canid's Avatar
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    not only is a barrel not nessecary for home vinting/brewing, it is not practical.

    by and large, a person will make several batches before finishing one which is really satisfactory. when you add such a potential source of contamination as wood into the equation, you decrease your chances of a good product.

    the ideal materials for home/hobby scale fermentation have traditionally been food grade hdpe buckets [generally 5 gal.] with sealable lids, and glass or hdpe water cooler bottles.

    the first consideration is always sanitation. an accidental introduction of a foreign yeast or bacteria will often destroy a batch from the start.

    there are a great many sites and books dedicated to the subject, and while i and at least a few others here i've seen will be happy to help, this is not a simple art [though it can be made so] and there are so many different styles and options to brewing and vinting that we could not cober a fraction of them here.

    as grape wines go, i would recommend starting with a simple wine made from whole grape juice, a commercial wine yeast and a $5 new food grade bucket.

    from this perspective, it's as simple as filling the bucket with warm bleachwater, covering and letting sit 1 hour while simmering the juice for the same duration, covered and preparing/rehydrating the yeast in water.

    after this, the bucket should be slowly and gently dumped out, and immediately sealed with the lid.

    the pot of juice should be allowed to cool to room temerature, still covered at all times, by immersing it's bottom in a sink of cold water.

    after the juice has reached room temperature, it should be poured into the bucket, slowly so as not to splash, but insuring it is falling into the surface of the juice and not running down the side [this is to aerate the mash]. after this, the prepared yeast should be carefully pitched, and the bucket slowly and carefully swirled around to distribute. the bucket should never be stirred again in such a manner as to aerate it again. the yeast only need oxygen in the first stage, as they breed rapidly, and will not begin making ethanol untill they have used it all up, whereafter they will start scavenging it from simple sugars, thus yeilding ethanol.

    this should be left covered, and preferably fitted with an airlock, which can be bought on ebay, or from any brewing store, or made from aquarium hose and a gatorade bottle [as i do]. the temperature should be kept stable, around 70f, but Sachromycese cerveceae yeasts can tollerate fluctuations as low as 50f and as high as 90f and still reproduce, though muuuuuch more slowly.

    most of my personal experience is with other fruit wines, beer and mead.
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    reclinite automaton canid's Avatar
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    bulrush: sanitizing solution is as simple as 1/8 cup household bleach per gallon of water.

    materials, like almost all of my laboratory/culture apparatus, can be any free, cheap or scavenged thing that will suit your needs.

    my sub gallon batches are fermented in used 1 gal wine jugs. beyond that, i use 5gal water cooler jugs i bought empty and new for about $6 each. as mentioned above, i've also used food grade buckets. for long term use, you can even line them before filling with small size trash bags.
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    I have made a couple of different kinds, small scale. some worked better than others.

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    Quality Control Director Ken's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone.

    I've never seen wine made in anything OTHER than a barrel, but the guys I knew who did that are long gone, so I can't pick their brains.

    From what I've read so far, I'm scrapping the idea of using a barrel, at least for my first few batches.

    Any more thoughts are greatly appreciated.
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    reclinite automaton canid's Avatar
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    i would scrap the idea of a barrel for a loooong time to come, if for nothing else than out of consideration that it's a far better prospect of loosing a $5 investment ina 5 gal batch than a $100 investment in a large one.

    barrels are used mostly for aging and finishing wines these days anyway. the fermentation in commercial wineries is generally done in large stainless steel vats.
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    Senior Member Ole WV Coot's Avatar
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    You can buy a lot of Madd Dogg 20/20 for the price of a barrel and several fine wines, all with a twist off cap. I was a fan of our area's clear, crisp brew for years. Now that's an art to learn. Forget wine, people have been making it for many years and still no kick.
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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    When I was in Mobile, we stopped at a packaged liqueur store to pick up a bottle of wine. Sorry, they told us, we don't carry wine. As God as my witness, wine was sold at the Shell station. Now that's just wrong.

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    Senior Member tacmedic's Avatar
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    If price is a concern you don't really have to buy the whole kit that that brewery/wine supply places sell, it just makes it easier. I still just use food grade plastic buckets with lids that I fitted a blow off tube on, works just fine for me. (The same set up that I use for my ethanol production as well, for my car yeah that's it). I would suggest for your first batch that you make you buy one of the prepared juice concentrates that are available, or use 100% juice concentrate from the store. It's a lot better to make your first mistakes on something that you haven't put a whole lot of time and/or money into. A search on the net will yield quite a few recipes for wine from concentrates.

    As far as percentages of grapes go (if you are pressing your own) it just depends what you like. Find a wine that you like (from a local winery) and then ask the wine makers what grapes they use and in what percentage. Most of them are more than happy to talk about how they make their wine, at least the ones around here are willing to talk. It might be hard for someone making a small batch of wine to get the appropriate grapes, but decent wine can be made from wild or concord grapes.
    "When young men seek to be like you, when lazy men resent you, when powerful men look over their shoulder at you, when cowardly men plot behind your back, when corrupt men wish you were gone and evil men want you dead; Only then will you have done your share." -Phil Messina

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    (FMR) Wilderness Guide pgvoutdoors's Avatar
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    I live in wine the country of Ohio, surrounded by wineries. One of my friends owns a big winery just a few miles from here. If you ever get stuck on a problem let me know and I'll ask him for advice.
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    Quality Control Director Ken's Avatar
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    Thanks. I appreciate the offer of help. I have two wineries (one's also a brewery) within 5 miles of me. I attend tastings and other events on occasion, but I was hesitant to ask questions about "trade secrets."

    See:

    http://www.westportrivers.com/ and http://www.buzzardsbrew.com/

    Also see:

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q...aq=1&oq=sakonn

    My backyard:

    http://www.coastalwinetrail.com/gui/spring08/map.aspx
    Last edited by Ken; 03-25-2009 at 10:15 PM.
    “Learning is not compulsory. Neither is survival.”
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    "Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils."
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    Just curious, but will you be growing your own grapes or will you be buying them?
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    Quality Control Director Ken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RaymondPeter View Post
    Just curious, but will you be growing your own grapes or will you be buying them?
    For at least the next few years I'll be buying them.
    “Learning is not compulsory. Neither is survival.”
    W. Edwards Deming

    "Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils."
    General John Stark

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    reclinite automaton canid's Avatar
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    it takes a lot of grapes to make wine, you may also look into buying whole grape juice. in volume it'll probably be cheaper.

    i don't mean bottled welches, or canned concentrate, i mean whole grape juice. as an example,. they sell it relatively cheaply in 1gal sealed cans at my local homebrew shop. they also sell that or a variety of other fruits.

    you might have to look around, but it can make an enourmous difference, as fresh wine grapes are seasonal and also tend to be pricy.
    Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice - Grey's Law.
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