For this wine, I’m trying out “Vintner’s Best Mango Fruit Wine Base” which cost $38.99 at my local winemaking supply store – All Seasons Gardening & Brewing Supply Co. near downtown Nashville.
It’s just a big 1 gallon jug of syrup. Much less fanfare than the boxed wine kits, though those seem very targeted towards beginners or people that want to have everything pre-determined for them.
This could be a nice, simple, less expensive wine or could at least be simple way to embellish fresh fruit wines. This is a test run. Yeast: Lalvin K1-V1116.
Continue reading “Mango Wine Summer 2017”
This batch was made from the very limited amount of crabapples I picked in August 2012 and several pounds of wild apples courtesy Anne-Marie Fournier. All of these apples have been frozen since end of the summer. I mostly followed my previous crabapple recipe, plus 2 cans of frozen white grape juice – plus whatever other juice we had in the freezer since I was short on sugar – 1 can of blended Cranberry juice, 1 can of Orange juice, crushed apples in a nylon bag, 9 pounds of sugar, pectic enzyme, acid blend, yeast nutrient, grape tannin and campden tablets. Yeast: Lalvin K1-V1116.
Continue reading “Crabapple Wine Spring 2013”
This batch was made from several pounds of wild apples courtesy Anne-Marie Fournier. I followed my previous crabapple recipe, plus 3 cans of frozen white grape juice, crushed apples in a nylon bag, 12 pounds of sugar, pectic enzyme, acid blend, yeast nutrient, grape tannin and campden tablets. Yeast: Lalvin ICV-D47.
I don’t know how many pounds of apples I used. I think Anne-Marie picked enough apples for two batches of wine. I make a judgment call while crushing the apples. I put the mesh bag in the primary fermenter and I slowly build a large pile of mashed apples inside of the bag.
The grape juice was added because last year’s wine from these same apples was missing a little something. It was drinkable, but I’d like to make a better wine this year. For starters, this year I am going to the trouble of cutting all of the apples into wedges and as a result cutting out any overripe parts and the seeds and core. Last year I did as I do with the crabapples: threw the apples in a bucket, crushed ’em, threw ’em in a nylon bag and made a wine must. Since these apples apparently have a more subtle flavor than the crabapples, I’m hoping that this extra level of effort to get just the good fruit will make a huge difference.
Also, since cutting the apples like that takes time I had to freeze the cut apples as I went along. This turned out to be very beneficial. The frozen apples – once thawed – were very easy to crush. So freeze the apples if you plan to crush the apples like I do. If you have a fruit press, then this advice doesn’t really apply.
Continue reading “Wild Apple Wine”
This batch made from a 96 oz. can of Vintner’s Harvest Gooseberry Fruit Wine Base ($47), wild apples (about the size of a clementine) and a Vintner’s Reserve: Sauvignon Blanc 6-gallon kit ($70). I am basically following the kit’s instructions aside from mixing the must with the gooseberries and apples in a nylon bag. And instead of adding the yeast to the must right away, I stirred in 6 crushed campden tablets and waited 12 hours. Continue reading “Sauvignon Blanc with Apples & Gooseberries”
This batch was made from a kit of Winexpert Selection Estate Series: Lodi Ranch 11 Cabernet Sauvignon ($170) and a $8 bag of French Oak Cubes with “Medium Toast”.
Continue reading “Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon”
This batch was made from two one-gallon Ziplock bags of dandelion flower heads, 6 cans of 100% white grape juice, 12 oranges and 12 lemons. I adapted a 1-gallon recipe from Jack Keller for my 6-gallon batch. Yeast: Lalvin ICV D47
Continue reading “Dandelion Wine 2012”
This double batch was made from several pounds of wild apples courtesy Jim Gunn. I followed my previous crabapple recipe, crushed apples in a nylon bag, 12 pounds of sugar, pectic enzyme, acid blend, yeast nutrient, grape tannin and campden tablets. Yeast: Lalvin K1-V1116.
Continue reading “Wild Apple Wine”
This batch was made from Fresh Crabapples picked from an overabundant tree a few blocks from my house ($0). This is the second year of making crabapple wine. I am working with the same recipe as last year’s crabapple wine. The yeast I’m using is Lalvin K1-V1116.
Continue reading “Crabapple 2011”
This batch was made from 2 96oz. cans of Vintner’s Harvest Elderberry Wine Base ($37 a piece). I followed the simple recipe on the can, except I adapted their 3-gallon recipe to a 6-gallon recipe, plus a teaspoon of grape tannin and a 2oz. bag of dried elderflowers. Yeast: Lalvin K1-V1116.
Continue reading “Elderberry Wine”
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. Continue reading “Hippo (a red wine blend)”
This batch was made from about 3 lbs. of dandelion flower heads, 6 cans of 100% white grape juice, 12 oranges and 12 lemons ($37 if you don’t count your time and effort to collect the dandelion flowers). I adapted a 1-gallon recipe from Jack Keller for my 6-gallon batch. Most of the recipes say to remove the flower petals from the dandelion heads. Granted, this isn’t too bad for a 1-gallon batch, but when you are multiplying everything times six, you have to find the most efficient way to proceed. Yeast: Lalvin ICV D47
Continue reading “Dandelion Wine”
This batch was made from 12 lbs. of bananas, 10 cans of 100% orange juice and 6 cans of 100% white grape juice ($47) as well as some star anise and fresh ginger root. I adapted a 1-gallon recipe from Jack Keller for my 6-gallon batch (I would link to his recipe, but I found it on his “blog” page and the recipe doesn’t seem to have a unique URL of its own). I also substituted 10 cans of 100% orange juice for 48 juiced Valencia oranges. The wine is spiced with star anise and ginger root.
Continue reading “Orange and Banana Spiced Wine”
This batch was made from a kit of Winexpert Selection International Series: French Cabernet Sauvignon ($124) and a $8 bag of French Oak Cubes with “Heavy Toast”.
Continue reading “Cabernet Sauvignon”
This batch was made from a kit of Winexpert Selection International Series: Italian Montepulciano ($124) and a $6 bag of Hungarian Oak Cubes with “House Toast” (I’m guessing it’s a lighter toast than “Medium”).
After tasting a good result from soaking oak cubes in the recent Cabernet Franc vintage I’ve decided that every red wine kit should use these soaking cubes. The “sawdust” that comes with some of these kits is just not sufficient. I think the kit makers put too much of an emphasis on quick production. They could just as easily include a bag of these oak cubes and have a better result (in my mind). I’m even starting to think that I should use the oak cubes on every batch of wine I make.
Continue reading “Montepulciano”
This batch was made from 12 cans of Welch’s White Grape Juice (About $30). The yeast is Lalvin 71B-1122, which is supposed to be good for preserving fruit flavors. It also might not tolerate high alcohol levels, so there might be residual sugar after fermentation is complete. I will be using some amount of time with a yeast starter to make sure fermentation starts off on the right foot.
I am making this wine because it sounded interesting and because I wanted another wine to blend my crabapple wine with due to its overly sour/tannin flavor. Though, I might change my mind. The crabapple is still clearing in the carboy, so in a week or two I’ll taste test it again. Who knows? I might find it to be just fine by itself. Regardless, this experiment with cheaper ingredients might prove to produce a pleasant everyday wine.
Continue reading “Welch’s White”
This batch was made from a kit of Winexpert Selection International Series: Chilean Sauvignon Blanc ($107). The salesmen at my local winemaking supply shop (All Seasons Gardening & Brewing Supply) really talked-up the Winexpert International kits. The $40 difference didn’t phase me, so I thought it was worth a try. Especially since my wife and I so thoroughly enjoyed the last batch of Sauv. Blanc (we have already consumed the entire batch!).
I’ve also been reading up on yeast starters over at Jack Keller’s website (a great resource for home winemaking). Supposedly the longer it takes for your yeast to get up and running once its been introduced to the must, the more flavor you are losing. It makes sense, but I highly recommend reading Jack’s page to get the whole story.
With that said, I have decided to give using a yeast starter a try.
Continue reading “Sauvignon Blanc”
This batch was made from Fresh Crabapples picked from an overabundant tree a few blocks from my house ($0). I am working with Jack Keller’s crabapple recipe and am also using his yeast starter again. The yeast I’m using is Lalvin K1-V1116.
Continue reading “Crabapple”
The following recipe is pulled directly from Jack Keller’s web page on Yeast Starters. He’s written an excellent page there that I highly recommend reading. However, the way he has written out the process of creating a yeast starter, in my humble opinion, needs a lot of rereading in order to be comprehended. On this page I have merely restructured his instructions in a traditional recipe format that I find easier to understand. Jack is apparently flooded with e-mails, so he’s hard to get a hold of. I hope he does not take offense that I am providing my rendition of his recipe here in case others might find it useful.
- 1 – 4 cup tupperware container with lid for yeast starter (larger is fine)
- 1 – packet of active dry yeast
- 1 cup of 100 – 105°F tap or spring water.
The harder the water the better; do not use distilled water.
- ½ cup of non-citrus, pre-sweetened fruit juice.
Concord or white grape are good depending on the wine you are making.
- 1 – 1 cup tupperware container with lid for juice (larger is fine)
- In the first container combine yeast and water. Stir gently, cover and let sit.
- After 30 minutes check the yeast. If it appears to be active (not dead) cover and let sit.
- While that sits set out a ¼ cup of fruit juice so that it will aclimate to the same temperature as the yeast starter.
- After 3 hours add the ¼ cup of juice to the yeast starter, cover and let sit in a warm place. Set out another ¼ cup of juice.
- After 4 hours check viability, add the second ¼ cup of juice to the yeast starter, cover and let sit in a warm place.
- After another 4 hours the yeast starter is ready to add to the must.
This batch was made from a kit of Winexpert Selection Original Series: Cabernet Franc ($110 but I got it on sale for $77!) and French Oak Cubes (Heavy Toast) ($8). I’ve been disappointed with my homemade red wines so far. Some of my problems are due to bad corks, some due to cheap wine kits. Some of my disappointment, I fear, is due to the limitations of the home winemaking tool kit. I highly recommend using high-quality corks for wines that you plan to store for more than three months. I also highly recommend buying $100+ red wine kits if you want a respectable red wine. So far the Winexpert Selection Original Series:Luna Rossa is very promising.
As you can see, with this batch I’m going to experiment with simulating the oak-barrel aging process by way of soaking oak cubes in the finished wine. I plan to add the oak cubes to the wine once it is almost completely clear. Once added I will keep the wine in bulk storage with the cubes for at least two months.
This kit, like other red wine kits, came with some packets of oak chips/sawdust. They are intended to be added to the initial must. I am sure this adds a little oak flavor to the wine, but it seems like the oak chips get filtered out as the must is transferred to the secondary fermenter. So the oak chips are not in contact with the wine for very long. The packaging on these oak cubes states that they should be left in contact with the wine for at least eight weeks. Logically I can see how this would simulate storing the wine in oak barrels. We’ll see.
Continue reading “Cabernet Franc”
This batch was made from a kit of Winexpert Vintners Reserve: Piesporter ($63 but I got it on sale for $44!) and 10 lbs. of wild blackberries (free but for the afternoon I spent picking them in the beautiful Tennessee countryside, thanks to my friend Jerry). I was hoping to make a straight blackberry wine, but 10 lbs. just wasn’t enough. I had this piesporter kit waiting to be made and that’s how wacky wines are made!
Continue reading “Tennessee Wild Blackberry”