Cabernet Sauvignon 2009-10-23

This wine is created from a kit: Winexpert Vintner’s Reserve: Cabernet Sauvignon. It is a 2 gallon juice concentrate kit that produces a 6 gallon batch of wine. The kit was about $60.

Status Date Specific Gravity Fluid Temp. Air Temp.
Primary Fermentation 2009-09-12 1.085 75°F
Secondary Fermentation 2009-09-20 0.0992 80°F
Clearing 2009-09-25 75°F
Second Clearing 2009-10-09 75°F
Bottling 2009-10-23 65°F

Primary Fermentation

Primary fermentation was executed with bucket only covered loosely by the lid and thin cloth. This may prove to be problematic for the end product. The specific gravity measurements show that within eight days all of the sugar had been converted to alcohol. According to the instructions the SG should have been just above 1.0 at the start of secondary fermentation. They also suggest that the clearing should happen with SG at 0.0995. So after the first seven days this batch is 10 days ahead of schedule. After speaking with Juanita’s dad about it there is some concern about the wine being over-oxidized.


Didn’t check the SG, but simple instructions of aggressive stirring appeared to work fine. Shortly after the stirring and the addition of Potassium Sorbate, Potassium Metabisulfate and Chitosan the solids were certainly on their way to settling out.

Secondary Clearing

After 14 days of clearing per the instructions the carboy had about 1.25” of lees on the bottom. I was prepared for bottling, but the taste test had a ‘yeasty’ flavor. After some discussion with Tim I purchased a second carboy and racked the wine into it, leaving off all of the lees that I could see. Wine now appears to be very near completely clear. I plan on leaving it to clear another 14 days.

3 days after racking into second carboy there is more settled lees visible (.25” at least). I am optimistic that this additional lees settling is a sign that the taste of the wine is still improving.



14 days after racking into second carboy. No tests. Tastes fine. Technically it’s been bulk aged for 2 weeks at this point. 6 gallon carboy yields 30 + 1.5 bottles. Placed plastic wrap over bottle tops after they were cleaned. This plastic also worked well to cover the wine-filled bottles, allowing for corking all bottles after filling was done.

Tasting 2009-11-27

The wine is very clear with a nice dark red color and no sediment. I’m quite happy with those attributes because I think they suggest that my methods are good. The wine seems to have quite a high amount of alcohol which can probably be attributed to the additional sugar Tim and I added at primary fermentation. Seems a bit strong. Probably won’t add sugar to future kits. The bouquet seems to still have a bit of the ‘yeasty’ smell, but it’s very faint. The flavor so far is light (thin) but pleasant and does not include the ‘yeasty’ characteristic. The flavor is so light that I can’t say it is distinctly Cabernet Sauvignon. Juanita found the wine pleasant enough to drink but not particularly memorable.

Tasting 2009-12-14

Flavor seems to be more pronounced. With a bit of decanting it tastes pretty good. I’m thinking spending a bit more on the juice kit would yield better flavor.

Tasting 2010-02-05

It’s actually tasting quite good at this point, but it’s still too thin and lacking in after taste to truly resemble a commercial cabernet. Still a bit of the ‘yeasty’ smell, though it’s quite faint. Some friends remarked a few weeks ago of it tasting ‘acid’. Not too familiar with that description, but am curious if bottle was stored properly on its side. Perhaps the wine had become ‘corked’? Or my wine tasting skills are just not that sophisticated.