Hippo (a red wine blend)

This batch is from a wine kit: Winexpert Selection Original Series: Luna Rossa. A 4 gallon kit that produces 6 gallons of wine. It was about $115. The yeast packet it came with: Lalvin EC-1118. I am also adding Medium Toast American Oak Cubes to the wine after the primary fermentation is finished.

Status Date Specific Gravity Fluid Temp. Air Temp.
Primary Fermentation 2011-05-08 AM 1.084 76°F 72°F
Secondary Fermentation 2011-05-12 AM 1.0 70°F 75°F
Clearing 2011-05-28 AM °F
Second Clearing 2011-06-09 PM °F °F
Third Clearing 2011-06-25 PM °F
Fourth Clearing 2011-07-24 PM °F
Bottling  2011-08-21 PM °

 Primary Fermentation

The usual process for these kits: bring a gallon of water to boil, pour it into the primary fermenter, stir in bentonite, pour all of the kit’s grape juice into the primary fermenter, top-up with cool water, stir, check specific gravity, if SG is good add french oak chips, stir oak chips into must, and, finally, sprinkle yeast evenly on top of must. The temperature is going to get into the 80s today and even warmer for the oncoming week, so I am keeping the primary fermenter upstairs in the kitchen.

I don’t use the bucket cover for the most part. I stand my stirring spoon in the middle of the bucket and drape a wet cotton dish towel over the must and spoon handle, which resembles a small tent over the bucket top. If you cover the must with the bucket lid and airlock, it’s really no different than being in a air-sealed glass carboy. All of the homemade recipes say to cover the must with a dampcloth, providing ample oxygen to the yeast while keeping anything unwanted out. This approach seems to work very well.

Secondary Fermentation

2011-05-22: Still some light fermentation occurring.


Added the potassium sorbate, metabisulfite and half of the chitain and stirred and stirred and stirred. I always attempt to stir until the carbon dioxide bubbles stop coming up. But they never stop coming up. I only used half of the chitain-stuff so that I could use the other half on my dandelion wine which doesn’t seem to be clearing at all over the last few weeks. 2011-06-19: Clearing well. I was able to collect the lees from the primary clearing, refrigerate and capture maybe another 20 oz. of wine. Still need to top-up a bit more, probably with some of my Cabernet Franc from last September.

2011-07-24: A decent amount of lees as well as the most of the oak cubes settled to the bottom. The wine is quite clear. I racked into a clean carboy but did not reintroduce the oak cubes since we are well beyond the 8 week mark.


Decided to turn this already-blended red wine kit into an even further blend: I mixed in a smaller portion of this year’s elderberry wine in a 2:1 ratio. I think the elderberry has a very strong, fruity flavor that seems to be lacking in any of the red wine kits. Due to the blending I ended up with about 45 bottles of this wine.