Winemaking (rec.crafts.winemaking) Discussion of the process, recipes, tips, techniques and general exchange of lore on the process, methods and history of wine making. Includes traditional grape wines, sparkling wines & champagnes.

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Old 18-01-2008, 01:16 PM posted to rec.crafts.winemaking
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Default Chilean Carmenere/ Cabernet Sauvignon Extended instructions?

I am about to start my Wine Expert kit (Chilean Carmenere/ Cabernet
Sauvignon)

Would this kit benefit from Jack Keller's 6 month "Extended
Instructions for Making Wines from Kits" as described here
http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/extended.asp, or I should I follow
the standard instructions that are included with the Kit?

Tom


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Old 18-01-2008, 04:07 PM posted to rec.crafts.winemaking
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Default Chilean Carmenere/ Cabernet Sauvignon Extended instructions?

Tom -
This is a Limited Edition kit - about as good as they get from
WinExpert. I have a lot of respect for Jack Keller's winemaking
skills, but his area of expertise is really fruits / vegetables /
native grape varieties, not state-of-the-art kits. The extended
instructions originated with Ed Goist and were posted in 2000, based
on Ed's experiences in prior years. But state of the art in wine kits
has changed a lot in the past years, even since the 1990's.

I tend to agree with two aspects of the extended instructions. First,
once wine is under airlock, there isn't really any firm timetable for
when various things have to happen. Don't feel obliged to rush the
wine into bottles by the end of week 6. Second, everybody I've ever
heard of who has used Stavin oak products has raved about them. If
you are into big oak in red wines, you might well want to add some
Stavin cubes (or replace some of the kit oak "dust" with cubes). On
the other hand, I have read a lot of Tim Vandergrift's posts about all
the research and testing that goes into the WE kits. I won't say they
can't be improved upon, but the WE folks go to a lot of trouble to
make the results as good as can be, with a reasonable level of effort
by the winemaker. Your odds are slim (IMHO) of improving on their
results by things like adding the bentonite after fermentation, or
fermenting in a carboy instead of a bucket, or adding generic "grape
tannin" or rehydrating the yeast the "proper" way instead of following
the "sprinkle and walk away" instructions.

I've done a number of WE Limited Edition kits, and I've been impressed
with nearly all of them. Some of the reds in particular don't really
come into their own for 18 to 24 months, but when they do, they are
fabulous. Since this is your one chance to do this kit, I think your
best bet is to follow the instructions reasonably closely. That is my
two cents -- as always, free advice is worth at least what you pay for
it . . .

Doug
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Old 18-01-2008, 05:36 PM posted to rec.crafts.winemaking
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Default Chilean Carmenere/ Cabernet Sauvignon Extended instructions?

On Jan 18, 8:07*am, Doug wrote:
Tom -
* * *This is a Limited Edition kit - about as good as they get from
WinExpert. *I have a lot of respect for Jack Keller's winemaking
skills, but his area of expertise is really fruits / vegetables /
native grape varieties, not state-of-the-art kits. *The extended
instructions originated with Ed Goist and were posted in 2000, based
on Ed's experiences in prior years. *But state of the art in wine kits
has changed a lot in the past years, even since the 1990's.

I tend to agree with two aspects of the extended instructions. *First,
once wine is under airlock, there isn't really any firm timetable for
when various things have to happen. *Don't feel obliged to rush the
wine into bottles by the end of week 6. *Second, everybody I've ever
heard of who has used Stavin oak products has raved about them. *If
you are into big oak in red wines, you might well want to add some
Stavin cubes (or replace some of the kit oak "dust" with cubes). *On
the other hand, I have read a lot of Tim Vandergrift's posts about all
the research and testing that goes into the WE kits. *I won't say they
can't be improved upon, but the WE folks go to a lot of trouble to
make the results as good as can be, with a reasonable level of effort
by the winemaker. *Your odds are slim (IMHO) of improving on their
results by things like adding the bentonite after fermentation, or
fermenting in a carboy instead of a bucket, or adding generic "grape
tannin" or rehydrating the yeast the "proper" way instead of following
the "sprinkle and walk away" instructions.

I've done a number of WE Limited Edition kits, and I've been impressed
with nearly all of them. *Some of the reds in particular don't really
come into their own for 18 to 24 months, but when they do, they are
fabulous. *Since this is your one chance to do this kit, I think your
best bet is to follow the instructions reasonably closely. *That is my
two cents -- as always, free advice is worth at least what you pay for
it . . .

Doug


Agree with Doug but would add one thing - make sure to fully ferment
the wine and ditch the sorbate package, it serves no good purpose in
dry wines.

Since Tim Vandergrift was mentioned, here's his take on extended kit
instructions, for reference:

http://winemakermag.com/feature/28.html

Pp
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Old 18-01-2008, 07:56 PM posted to rec.crafts.winemaking
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Default Chilean Carmenere/ Cabernet Sauvignon Extended instructions?

Tom:

You've already received some advice that I agree with. There's
nothing wrong with extending the time frames once the wine is in a
carboy. Specifically I don't agree with the primary fermentation and
bentonite in the instructions on Jack's web-site.

Regarding the oak. This should be a fairly big red, so it should be
able to take extra oak. I have used the cubes on three wines, and am
not happy (so far) with the results on the lighter two. Although the
Merlot is starting to come around, it's still a bit oaky for me. The
heavier red is just great with the cubes.

If you are going to add the cubes, 2 questions to ponder...do you like
oaky wines? are you willing to age for a while to allow the oak to
mellow?

Good luck, and hope you enjoy the results.

Steve
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Old 19-01-2008, 07:25 AM posted to rec.crafts.winemaking
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Default Chilean Carmenere/ Cabernet Sauvignon Extended instructions?

On Jan 18, 11:07 am, Doug wrote:
Tom -
This is a Limited Edition kit - about as good as they get from
WinExpert. I have a lot of respect for Jack Keller's winemaking
skills, but his area of expertise is really fruits / vegetables /
native grape varieties, not state-of-the-art kits. The extended
instructions originated with Ed Goist and were posted in 2000, based
on Ed's experiences in prior years. But state of the art in wine kits
has changed a lot in the past years, even since the 1990's.

I tend to agree with two aspects of the extended instructions. First,
once wine is under airlock, there isn't really any firm timetable for
when various things have to happen. Don't feel obliged to rush the
wine into bottles by the end of week 6. Second, everybody I've ever
heard of who has used Stavin oak products has raved about them. If
you are into big oak in red wines, you might well want to add some
Stavin cubes (or replace some of the kit oak "dust" with cubes). On
the other hand, I have read a lot of Tim Vandergrift's posts about all
the research and testing that goes into the WE kits. I won't say they
can't be improved upon, but the WE folks go to a lot of trouble to
make the results as good as can be, with a reasonable level of effort
by the winemaker. Your odds are slim (IMHO) of improving on their
results by things like adding the bentonite after fermentation, or
fermenting in a carboy instead of a bucket, or adding generic "grape
tannin" or rehydrating the yeast the "proper" way instead of following
the "sprinkle and walk away" instructions.

I've done a number of WE Limited Edition kits, and I've been impressed
with nearly all of them. Some of the reds in particular don't really
come into their own for 18 to 24 months, but when they do, they are
fabulous. Since this is your one chance to do this kit, I think your
best bet is to follow the instructions reasonably closely. That is my
two cents -- as always, free advice is worth at least what you pay for
it . . .

Doug


Doug,
I'll defer to you since I don't make kit wine but am a bit intrigued
by them supplying 'oak dust' for a premium level kit. I find dust to
taste like it looks, like sawdust. Everything you add or do to wine
in process affects the taste to some degree in my experience. It
sounds like it goes in early so that mellows it out but it's still low
end product as far as I am concerned. I think chips/beans are far
superior to dust, the staves and spirals seem to make sense too. Oak
is a very 'personal taste' thing and does recede with time but that
sound like one area where they left room for improvement, at least to
me. I like your idea of using beans over dust.

It's not possible to make great wine from mediocre ingredients but it
pretty easy to make mediocre wine from great ingredients so your
advice to stay close to the process outlined by the mfg makes a lot of
sense, they want you to buy more. I never use oak dust on anything;
even vinegar- which just loves oak.

Joe


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Old 21-01-2008, 04:47 AM posted to rec.crafts.winemaking
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Default Chilean Carmenere/ Cabernet Sauvignon Extended instructions?

I believe that Gary really does mean toss the potassium sorbate. When
he says to put the sorbate in an empty carboy, he means put the
potassium metabisulphite in the empty carboy.

IMO, Gary's method is probably going to work. I would add the
bentonite (especially in a white) because I'm not convinced that time
will clear a protein haze. Personally I would also use the clearing
agents & filter. But that's just me.

Steve

On Sun, 20 Jan 2008 14:45:12 -0500, Gary Flye ""makewine \"@
carolina.rr.com" wrote:

Tom,
I have made kit wines for about 20 years now, and the one thing that
impresses me most is the incredible increase in quality. Kit wines are
so good now that they often win blind tastings against natural grape
wines. That said, I agree with others who have observed that the kits
are geared towards early consumption, and therefore, require additives
to clarify, degas, and stabilize the wine much more rapidly than is
necessary. As an alternative to the more complex solutions offered by
Jack Keller and Tim Vandergrift, here's my simple but effective
approach. Toss the bentonite, kieselol / chitosan, and potassium
sorbate. For fermentation, just add the concentrate, dilute with water,
add oak (if red wine or chardonnay), and sprinkle yeast on top. When
fermentation stops (5-7 days), rack to a carboy, top up and attach an
airlock. After 2 months, put the potassium sorbate in an empty carboy
and rack into it, top up and attach an airlock. After another 4 months,
rack into an empty carboy, and siphon into bottles. I've been following
this very simple process for several years now. The wine is always
clear for bottling, tastes great, and remains stable for at least 2
years (I can't say for sure beyond that because I always drink it up by
then!).
Best wishes for success in your winemaking.

Regards,
Gary


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Old 22-01-2008, 06:43 PM posted to rec.crafts.winemaking
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Default Chilean Carmenere/ Cabernet Sauvignon Extended instructions?

On Jan 18, 11:25*pm, Joe Sallustio wrote:
On Jan 18, 11:07 am, Doug wrote:





Tom -
* * *This is a Limited Edition kit - about as good as they get from
WinExpert. *I have a lot of respect for Jack Keller's winemaking
skills, but his area of expertise is really fruits / vegetables /
native grape varieties, not state-of-the-art kits. *The extended
instructions originated with Ed Goist and were posted in 2000, based
on Ed's experiences in prior years. *But state of the art in wine kits
has changed a lot in the past years, even since the 1990's.


I tend to agree with two aspects of the extended instructions. *First,
once wine is under airlock, there isn't really any firm timetable for
when various things have to happen. *Don't feel obliged to rush the
wine into bottles by the end of week 6. *Second, everybody I've ever
heard of who has used Stavin oak products has raved about them. *If
you are into big oak in red wines, you might well want to add some
Stavin cubes (or replace some of the kit oak "dust" with cubes). *On
the other hand, I have read a lot of Tim Vandergrift's posts about all
the research and testing that goes into the WE kits. *I won't say they
can't be improved upon, but the WE folks go to a lot of trouble to
make the results as good as can be, with a reasonable level of effort
by the winemaker. *Your odds are slim (IMHO) of improving on their
results by things like adding the bentonite after fermentation, or
fermenting in a carboy instead of a bucket, or adding generic "grape
tannin" or rehydrating the yeast the "proper" way instead of following
the "sprinkle and walk away" instructions.


I've done a number of WE Limited Edition kits, and I've been impressed
with nearly all of them. *Some of the reds in particular don't really
come into their own for 18 to 24 months, but when they do, they are
fabulous. *Since this is your one chance to do this kit, I think your
best bet is to follow the instructions reasonably closely. *That is my
two cents -- as always, free advice is worth at least what you pay for
it . . .


Doug


Doug,
I'll defer to you since I don't make kit wine but am a bit intrigued
by them supplying 'oak dust' for a premium level kit. *I find dust to
taste like it looks, like sawdust. *Everything you add or do to wine
in process affects the taste to some degree in my experience. *It
sounds like it goes in early so that mellows it out but it's still low
end product as far as I am concerned. *I think chips/beans are far
superior to dust, the staves and spirals seem to make sense too. * Oak
is a very 'personal taste' thing and does recede with time *but that
sound like one area where they left room for improvement, at least to
me. *I like your idea of using beans over dust.

It's not possible to make great wine from mediocre ingredients but it
pretty easy to make mediocre wine from great ingredients so your
advice to stay close to the process outlined by the mfg makes a lot of
sense, they want you to buy more. * I never use oak dust on anything;
even vinegar- which just loves oak.

Joe- Hide quoted text -

- Show quoted text -


I think the kit companies have a basic problem in that they have to/
choose to dumb down the process to make it easy and foolproof even for
beginners. I can understand the business rationale for this but it's
the main reason why experienced winemakers want to tinker with the
process. I work mostly with grapes and fresh juice but do kits
occasionally, especially whites. Last fall I got a "super premium" NZ
Sauvignon Blanc kit with the intention of following the directions - I
used to meddle in the past and then if the result wasn't to my liking,
didn't know if the cause was the kit or my meddling. In the end I
still deviated from the instructions in two points:

- no sorbate - this was already discussed,
- reducing the sulfite levels - the package in the kit had 4.5g of K-
meta, which seemed absurdly high. I took it down to 3g but even that
was too much. When I measured the sulfite before racking from the
fining lees, it was 40+ ppm and very noticeable in the wine.

On top of this, the instructions usually say one can consider the
ferment finished if the s.g. is below 0.998 and the level doesn't
change from one day to the next. That sounds like a recipe for ending
with some RS in the wine... which might be the reason for adding
sorbate in the first place... which is still misguided.

So basically, following the instructions to the letter, I could end up
with an off-dry white wine smelling of sulfite and bubblegum - a far
cry from a good quality NZ Sauvignon Blanc.

On the other hand, I did the same kit on the side by following my
usual process of making white wine from juice - no bentonite at
beginning, special yeast, lower fermentation temperature, lower
sulfite additions, etc., and at least in some characteristics
(varietal character, aroma instensity), the kit process seemed to be
better at 2 months. So
overall, I think the best strategy is to follow the general framework
of the instructions but don't be afraid to deviate on points that are
suspect - there might be some trial and error involved to figure these
out.

Pp
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Old 28-01-2008, 06:48 PM posted to rec.crafts.winemaking
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Default Chilean Carmenere/ Cabernet Sauvignon Extended instructions?

Joe -
I expect that kits use oak "dust" or very small chips as they
impart their "oakiness" to the wine much faster than larger cubes,
staves, etc. I don't know where WE gets their oak "dust". While oak
cubes and staves may be better in general, I think if you took a bunch
of StaVin cubes and ground them into dust, you'd have pretty high-
quality dust, so I'm reluctant to make too-sweeping generalizations.
Also, the kits always seem to have you add the oak prior to
fermentation. This supposedly has an impact on the wine, but doesn't
tend to result in as much oaky flavor as adding oak later, during bulk
aging.

I can say that one kit in particular (the WE Limited Edition Petit
Verdot from several years ago) used (as I recall) four packages of
oak, and for the first 18 months or so that was about all you could
taste. ("Chateau Plywood"). At about 24 months, that changed, and at
this point (3+ yrs) you can scarcely taste any oak - you really have
to hunt for it. But the wine is fabulous -- I keep hoping they'll
bring it back some day. :-)

Doug





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