Leigh Erwin: Bottling My Homemade Chardonnay Wine

Cellar Craft SterlingHi everyone!

So, I finally finished my Cellar Craft Sterling California Chardonnay! I’m very happy it’s done, especially since it’s my second time attempting to make it, but I’m still not 100% convinced it’s going to turn out the best it can be. The specific gravity on my wine hydrometer never got exactly to where it was supposed to—it was very close though.

By the end, the specific gravity was supposed to be 0.998 or less, but as luck would have it, it ended up at 1.000. It’s strange because when I started the clearing stage it was at 0.998, but when I went to bottle the wine, it was back up to 1.000. I suppose maybe the temperatures weren’t exactly the same on those two days, but I foolishly did not check.

Anyway, bottling this homemade wine went very smoothly. I steamed the corks before putting them into the wine bottles as I have been doing, and cleaned and sterilized more bottles that I probably needed. I ended up only needing 23 wine bottles in the end, so I must have lost a little bit of wine at some point. I do remember that every time I racked the wine there was a little left over in the bottom of the carboy, so that’s probably where most of my losses occurred. I suppose the only other losses would be during evaporation over time, but that’s pretty much out of my control (other than topping off, but I didn’t do that).

One thing I should note is that I did deviate from the instructions a little bit in terms of when I did the actual bottling of the wine. Life kind of got in the way, and I did get a little lazy for a while there, so I ended up delaying the bottling process for a couple of weeks longer than usual. I figured since it was completely closed off from oxygen, I didn’t really have anything to worry about. Hopefully it sitting there in the carboy for longer only makes it better!Shop Wine Corks

Since I am currently pregnant, I haven’t actually tasted the wine so I have no idea how it turned out! My husband sampled it and said he thinks it reminds him of the Gewurztraminer I made previously, but with less floral character. He also guessed that the alcohol content was on the relatively high side for a Chardonnay (as it was with my Gewurzt), though when I crunched the numbers, it turned out to be 13.13%. It’s not as high as the Gewurzt, so maybe it was the fact that he was tasting the wine pretty much immediately after bottling the wine that made it seem a little unbalanced.

I lovingly reminded my husband to save me at least half a case so that after the baby is born I can actually enjoy some of the wine myself!

All and all, bottling this homemade wine at home went pretty smooth. No surprises—and that’s a good thing. Now all we have to do is let the wine sit for a while and see how things turn out.
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leigh_erwin_bioMy name is Leigh Erwin, and I am a brand-spankin’ new home winemaker! E. C. Kraus has asked me to share with you my journey from a first-time dabbler to an accomplished home winemaker. From time to time I’ll be checking in with this blog and reporting my experience with you: the good, bad – and the ugly.

Leigh Erwin: What’s The Best Temperature For Wine Yeast?

Yeast Fermentation TemperatureHi all!

I just wanted to follow up a little bit more on the fermentation temperature “issue” I had noted in my last post. If you recall, the instructions for primary fermentation for my Chardonnay wine had a recommended maximum of 75oF, however, the heating pad I was using (that’s built specifically for winemaking) kept the wine at around 78oF. I was basically wondering if 3oF would really make that big a difference, and if it’s still feasible to ferment my wine at that temperature without any problems. Is staying below 75°F the best temperature for wine yeast?

Reading around the message boards and other sites, it appears as though there are a lot of people who have no trouble fermenting their wines at 78oF. The big thing to note here, however, is that it all depends on which specific wine yeast you are using. Some wine yeasts only function in certain temperature ranges, while others function at different temperature ranges. If I’m using yeast that’s still good through 78oF, regardless of what the range the kit instructions recommended it should still be fine.

So, what is the best temperature for the wine yeast I was using? I threw out the yeast packaging right after I used it and couldn’t find that information anywhere on the instructions or online, so I’ll have to just make a guess. I know I have used the yeast strain EC-1118 in the past, so I’m going to assume that’s the same one I used for this particular wine and go from there. Doing a quick online search, it turns out that the appropriate temperature range for EC-1118 is 50oF to 86oF. That leaves me plenty of wiggle room and my 78oF seems like it should work just fine for this particular wine and temperature combination.

For fun, I decided to look up the yeast profile chart on the EC Kraus website to see what the temperature ranges for the other yeast types available are. Some wine yeasts are better for making dry white wines than others, and if I’m reading this chart correctly, it appears as though these are the yeast strains listed best to worst for making dry white wines: ICV D-47, EC-1118, K1V-1116, 71B-1122, and RC212. After a quick search for appropriate temperature ranges for each of these five yeasts, this is what I came up with:

According to what I found, most of the wine yeasts available from the yeast profile chart on the EC Kraus website have incredibly wide ranges of temperatures at which they can survive. As long as I wasn’t using the ICV D-47 yeast, the temperature that my heating pad made my wine (78oF) should be just fine.

It kind of makes me wonder though, why do the kit instructions say to ferment no higher than 75oF? Could they be assuming the winemaker might be using any number of wine yeasts and this is just the average high temperature that is appropriate? I suppose perhaps at the higher (or lower) temperatures you can still make the wine just fine, though the specific dates for each step will change depending upon that bit of information. Keeping it no higher than 75oF probably maximizes the likelihood that the wine will progress in the time frame specified by the instructions.

Does anyone else have any insights for the best temperature for wine yeast?
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leigh_erwin_bioMy name is Leigh Erwin, and I am a brand-spankin’ new home winemaker! E. C. Kraus has asked me to share with you my journey from a first-time dabbler to an accomplished home winemaker. From time to time I’ll be checking in with this blog and reporting my experience with you: the good, bad – and the ugly.

Leigh Erwin: What About Fermentation Temperature?

Cellar Craft SterlingHi guys!

Just a quick follow up on how things are going with my Cellar Craft Sterling California Chardonnay! Last time, I’d taken you through the degassing stage, and other than a (hopefully) minor oversight that resulted in me stopping secondary fermentation 2 specific gravity points early, I think everything is going well!

The next stage, then, is the clearing stage. The specific gravity is still holding at 0.980 on the hydrometer, though the wine’s fermentation temperature is a lot lower now that I decided to unplug the heating pad after the fermentation was complete. My reasoning was since I don’t need to keep the yeasts happy anymore with good fermentation temperatures, then I didn’t need to keep the heating pad plugged in and running. Hopefully that was the right decision.

The only issue I ran into during the clearing stage was that I accidentally spilled most of the Kieselsol pouch on the counter due to clumsiness. Thankfully, since I never got to that stage with my last batch of Sterling California Chardonnay, I still had the Kieselsol package from that, so I just went ahead and opened that one and dumped those contents into my wine. Problem solved! Ah, the benefits of having extra ingredients laying around! I’ll have to keep that in mind for my next order and just stock up on a bunch of ingredients that I use on a semi-regular basis.

Now, I have the wine sitting around waiting to clear and basically waiting to be bottled. I don’t think I’ll be filtering the wine this time, as I forgot to purchase new filter pads for my wine filter system and I’m not convinced the system even works very well to begin with, but me making unfiltered wine is pretty much par for the course at this point and my husband is still pleased with the wines, so why not continue that trend!

Shop ThermometersThe only other question I had so far when making this Chardonnay was again related to the wine’s fermentation temperature. I noticed that the heating pad kept my wine consistently in the high 70°F range. This is according to my thermometer strip I have stuck to the side of the fermenter. I am only slightly concerned about this, as according to the instructions, the upper fermentation temperature limit recommended was 75oF. Now, the heat pad that I bought seems to have been keeping the temperature around 78oF which makes me a little nervous. How big a deal is 3oF? Does that really matter?

Seeing as how I didn’t do anything about the temperature and it still ended finishing out fermentation around the appropriate specific gravity, it is probably OK, but I would not be surprised if it had slowed it down just a little at the end. If you recall, it did take an extra couple days for the wine to reach 0.998, though technically I was supposed to take it to 0.996 and likely would have taken several more days to do that. I’m wondering if that extra 3 degrees of fermentation temperature was too much for some of the wine yeast and a few more of them died off than would have if the temperature was just a little cooler.

Why in the world, then, would a heating pad designed for winemaking be programmed to heat up to that high of a fermentation temperature? Maybe next time I’ll have to just remember to plug and unplug a bunch of times to try and keep the temperature a little lower.
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leigh_erwin_bioMy name is Leigh Erwin, and I am a brand-spankin’ new home winemaker! E. C. Kraus has asked me to share with you my journey from a first-time dabbler to an accomplished home winemaker. From time to time I’ll be checking in with this blog and reporting my experience with you: the good, bad – and the ugly.

Leigh Erwin: Making A California Chardonnay Wine Kit

California Chardonnay made from wine kitHi everyone!

I’m excited to finally be making a new batch of wine after a couple of weeks hiatus. I’m partially nervous, though, because I’m making the Cellar Craft Sterling California Chardonnay wine kit again, and if you recall last time I tried to do that, I messed up big time in regards to the fermentation temperature.

This time, however, I am prepared! I have the heating pad all set up and am not going to touch it at all until fermentation is complete.

To start the Chardonnay wine kit off, I ended up using tap water as if you recall from an earlier post I wrote, the tap water here where I live doesn’t give off any sort of chlorine smell and I’m pretty positive it’s winemaking worthy. I remember making a red wine in the past with straight tap water and it came out just fine, so hopefully the same will be true for this white.

Primary fermentation for this Chardonnay wine kit went very smoothly. I followed all instructions that came with the wine kit to the letter and made sure the temperature of the wine was never too low.

Secondary fermentation came right on schedule for this Chardonnay (day 7), though I did notice it still smelled a bit yeasty. Cue flashbacks from the screwed up batch….

Anyway, since there is still yeast doing their thing in there, I was not at all concerned about the yeasty smell and crossed my fingers that it could complete secondary instead of getting stuck like it did last time. Actually, I don’t think it even made it out of primary fermentation last time, but I digress…

The end of secondary fermentation, however, did not come exactly on time as the instructions suggested it probably would. Instead of finishing up on Day 20 as the instructions indicated, I didn’t move on to the degassing stage until Day 24. I actually think I may have made a slight mistake at this point though, as I think I stopped secondary 0.002 specific gravity points too soon, according to my wine hydrometer.Shop Wine Kits

See, the instructions said: “Targets: Sterling Reds, Showcase Reds & Whites: <0.998 or Sterling Whites: <0.996.” The specific gravity I noted on Day 24 was 0.998, so quickly looking at the Target values, I thought I had been working with the Showcase White and that 0.998 was correct. Well, turns out I read it a little too quickly and had forgotten that I was actually working with the Sterling White, so I shouldn’t have moved onto the next step until the specific gravity was 0.996. Oopsie. I hope that doesn’t come back to bite me.

The wine didn’t smell nearly as yeasty any more, though I thought I might still be able to smell a little bit. I should note: my sense of smell might be a little heightened right now since I am pregnant (surprise!), so I’m hoping it’s still going to be OK and whatever yeasts might still be in there will fall out during the clearing stage.
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leigh_erwin_bioMy name is Leigh Erwin, and I am a brand-spankin’ new home winemaker! E. C. Kraus has asked me to share with you my journey from a first-time dabbler to an accomplished home winemaker. From time to time I’ll be checking in with this blog and reporting my experience with you: the good, bad – and the ugly.

Leigh Erwin: Can I Use Tap Water For Winemaking?

Water In A Wine GlassHi everyone!

I wanted to take a moment to chat with you all about water in home winemaking. What I mean is basically what kind of water is best to use in home winemaking. The instructions on some of the wine kits that I have been using have said that if you’re using tap water to draw it off the day before you actually want to use it, to give the chlorine a chance to “burn off”. However, other instructions I’ve used have not said anything like that at all.

It made me wonder: is my tap water OK for winemaking?

I actually had been delaying the start of my most recent batch of wine because I had kept forgetting to draw off some tap water the night before. One day, however, I found a short article that said if you can drink the water from your tap and you don’t notice any chlorine or other off-flavors or aromas, it’s probably just fine to use for home winemaking.

If you get your water from your city or municipality, they most likely treat the water with chlorine to get rid of bacteria that might be present. This same chlorine, however, is bad news bears for your wine if it’s at levels high enough to smell it in the water, so if you can smell chlorine, you probably want to go elsewhere for your water or boil it, draw it off the day before, or treat it with activated charcoal.

If you get your water from a well, there could be all sorts of bacteria or other harmful things in there since it has not been treated like city water has. It’s probably a good idea in general for you to have your water tested anyway, so now might be a good time to do that if you haven’t done so already. Once you know what’s in your water, you can go ahead and start determining how to treat it.

Distilled water is often not recommended for winemaking, as the distillation process basically removes everything from the water, including minerals that yeasts like to use as nutrition.

Shop Wine Making KitsSpring water is usually the best way to go, in place of tap water as it’s typically very clean and has enough trace minerals to keep the yeasts happy. You can find spring water bottled in grocery stores. In general, any bottled water you find at the grocery store for drinking will be just fine to use, as long as it’s not distilled.

For me this time around, I decided to play my cards a little bit a use the water from my tap for making my next batch of wine. My husband and I drink it on a regular basis and I do not smell any chlorine or anything else in the water. Now that I think about it, I did make at least one batch early on with tap water not drawn off the night before, and the wine turned out just fine. We’ll see if I made the right decision this time.
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leigh_erwin_bioMy name is Leigh Erwin, and I am a brand-spankin’ new home winemaker! E. C. Kraus has asked me to share with you my journey from a first-time dabbler to an accomplished home winemaker. From time to time I’ll be checking in with this blog and reporting my experience with you: the good, bad – and the ugly.

Leigh Erwin: Starting A Wine Making Ingredient Kit

Cellar Craft Sterling wine making ingredient kitHi everyone!

I’m so excited I’m finally giving that Cellar Craft Sterling California Chardonnay another go! If you recall, the last time I started this wine making ingredient kit I totally screwed up with the fermentation temperature. It was too cool. I didn’t really catch the error until it was too late. I tried to resurrect it, but alas, it was not to be.

This time I came prepared with my fermenter heating pad and barring any long-term power outages here in Colorado (knock on wood), I shouldn’t run into that problem again!

I find it so funny that I need to use a heating element when it’s been about 90 degrees outside for the past two weeks, but at least I know that my basement is a great place to hang out if I get too warm! I keep the air conditioning running but even though I have the vents closed to the wine room, it’s still a lot cooler down there than the rest of the house, necessitating the use of the heating pad basically all year round. That’s OK with me though – whatever keeps the temperature steady makes me happy!

Anyway, I decided today’s the day I’ll be starting a wine making ingredient kit. So I pulled out the directions that came with the wine kit and got to work. I mixed together some hot water and the bentonite packets. Gotta love that clay smell! Then, I added in the wine base (love the smell of the juice!) and enough water to bring the total volume up to 23L/6gallons.

At this point, I checked the specific gravity with my wine hydrometer, and it was 1.100 at about 74°F. Running that through an online temperature corrector for the calibration temperature of my hydrometer, the specific gravity was about 1.101. At this little of a difference, I wonder if it really matters if I even do the correction. I suppose if it were borderline and I had to decide whether or not to move forward based on that value, I’d certainly want to do it. But for calculating the alcohol content at the end, I don’t think it’ll matter too much, especially since I’m not selling this to anyone!Shop Wine Making Kits

After the specific gravity reading, I added the oak shavings, gave it a stir, then sprinkled the wine yeast on the top.

I plugged in the heating pad, covered the primary fermenter, and said a silent prayer that this batch wouldn’t turn out the way the first one did! I have a better feeling about this one, so fingers crossed it all comes out the way it is supposed to!

That’s really all there is to starting a wine making ingredient kit. Now I just sit and wait for 6-8 days before checking the specific gravity again to determine if the wine is ready to move on to secondary fermentation. I have learned my lesson from last time, however, and I will be at least poking my head in daily to make sure the yeasts are doing their thing and fermenting!
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leigh_erwin_bioMy name is Leigh Erwin, and I am a brand-spankin’ new home winemaker! E. C. Kraus has asked me to share with you my journey from a first-time dabbler to an accomplished home winemaker. From time to time I’ll be checking in with this blog and reporting my experience with you: the good, bad – and the ugly.

Leigh Erwin: Making Wine From Scratch

Strawberries for making wine from scratch.Hi all!

Even though I’ve been continuing to order wine ingredient kits, I’ve been thinking a lot about making my own wine from scratch. Something about making wine from scratch makes me feel like I am in complete control over how the wine comes out, while when I make wine from a kit, it’s kind of like I’m just going through the motions and my wine will taste almost exactly the same as someone else’s wine who made the same kit and followed the instructions to the letter just like I did.

Don’t get me wrong – I love how easy the wine ingredient kits are to use and how great the wines taste when they are finished (as long as I haven’t done something stupid along the way…), but part of me doesn’t really feel like a “real” winemaker if I didn’t make the wine all from scratch using ingredients I have already in stock in my little winery shelves.

At the same time, I am terrified of going about it on my own. What if I’m not ready to make wine without a kit and I end up wasting ingredients and my time? How am I supposed to just whip up a batch of wine without any pre-organized kit?

Well, that’s where wine making sites like E. C. Kraus can really come in handy. There are so many great resources for making wine online and folks like E. C. Kraus do a great job of answering common questions that plague home winemakers both new and seasoned.

Additionally, there are a ton of great wine making books out there that can help with making wine from scratch. I have a couple of books myself, so other than stocking up on “raw” ingredients, I really have all the resources I need to be able to set out and make a batch.Shop Wine Press

I feel as though the only way I’m really going to learn how to be a real winemaker is to do it myself from start to finish without having it all set out nicely for me ahead of time. I need to be able to think on my feet and one day know “oh, right, I need to add this ingredient now if I want the wine to do such and such”, instead of just checking off the boxes as I go.

In reality, I’m definitely going to continue using wine ingredient kits as they are pretty great and get you nice wines every time (if you follow the instructions and keep things clean and sanitized anyway), but I think from now on, in addition to making one wine from a kit, I’ll simultaneously make a wine from scratch on my own from “raw” ingredients to see if I really understand winemaking or if I’m just really good at ready directions and checking off boxes.
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leigh_erwin_bioMy name is Leigh Erwin, and I am a brand-spankin’ new home winemaker! E. C. Kraus has asked me to share with you my journey from a first-time dabbler to an accomplished home winemaker. From time to time I’ll be checking in with this blog and reporting my experience with you: the good, bad – and the ugly.

Leigh Erwin: Going Shopping

Shopping For Wine Making ItemsHi all!

I can’t believe I don’t have any wines currently going in my little winery room right now! I feel guilty admitting that, but hey, sometimes you realize all of a sudden that you just bottled your last wine and you completely forgot to order a new wine kit in time to get a new one going as soon as the old one was finished! Whoops!

I decided to take a little time to put together a list of wine making items I need or have been wanting to purchase from E C Kraus and share them all with you now:

 

Two new winemaking kits:

I’m not ready yet to make wine from my own fruit, as a lot of fruits don’t come into season here in Colorado for a little while still and I would prefer to use local produce rather than just buy a bunch of imported stuff from the grocery store.

I definitely need to make that Chardonnay that I completely screwed up several weeks ago. As a reminder, that was the Cellar Craft Sterling Collection Chardonnay California Reserve. I am determined to see this one through all the way to bottling and fingers crossed I don’t make any mistakes with that one again.

For the red, I decided to go for a dessert-style wine and make the Cellar Craft Specialty Collection Black Currant Dessert Wine (Porto Corinto Style). I love Port-style wines and would love to be able to make one myself. Since I just making a very light style red (the Nebbiolo), I thought it would be fun to go the complete opposite and make a heavier dessert Port-style wine this time around.

 

Random “bits and pieces” of equipment:

I really need to get in a better habit of writing things down the moment I think of them, but I think this is everything I’ve been wanting/needing.

A new bottle brush: Shop StrainersThe one I currently have was one I actually bought for day-to-day dishes and not actually for cleaning wine bottles. When I went to try and clean out one particularly dirty bottle the other day, I stuck the brush in the neck and it didn’t even go half way into the bottle. That bottle ended up being tossed into recycling and now I know I need to order a wine bottle brush and not a run-of-the-mill bottle brush.

A stainless steel strainer: If you remember from one of my previous entries, I needed a way to remove elderberries from my Nebbiolo wine so they wouldn’t get transferred into my clean carboy. A strainer would have come in handy here.

I definitely have other things that I would like but don’t necessarily need right now (don’t we all have those!), but I think this list will do nicely for now.
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leigh_erwin_bioMy name is Leigh Erwin, and I am a brand-spankin’ new home winemaker! E. C. Kraus has asked me to share with you my journey from a first-time dabbler to an accomplished home winemaker. From time to time I’ll be checking in with this blog and reporting my experience with you: the good, bad – and the ugly.

Leigh Erwin: Bottling My Nebbiolo Wine

My Bottled NebbioloHi everyone!

Just as a refresher, last time we caught up my Ken Ridge Classic Nebbiolo was moving along quite nicely, other than the fact that I completely forgot to add the oak granulars way back in the beginning of the process.

According to the instructions that came with the Nebbiolo wine kit, the stabilization and clarification stage is only 6 days and then it’s time to bottle, however, due to my travel and unpredictable-at-times work schedule, I wasn’t able to actually bottle the wine until 13 days later. I thought this would be perfectly acceptable, since all the wine was doing at this stage was continuing to clear and if history serves me correctly, the longer I wait, the more clear the wine will be.

Since I have been having so many problems with my filter system, I decided to forgo the filtering for this particular wine and just let gravity do its thing. I do plan on revisiting this filtering system issue at some point in the near future, however, at this particular time, I was not quite ready.

So, other than the delayed bottling date and the lack of filtering, bottling the wine itself, went pretty well. I ended up getting 25 bottles (well, 24 and then ¾ of a 25th bottle) of wine out of the batch, which is probably the best yield I’ve done to date. In the past, you might remember me spilling and otherwise losing some wine, but not this time!

Other than getting sprayed a little in the eye with wine when I over-enthusiastically filled the siphoning hose prior to bottling the wine (good thing I was wearing glasses!), I didn’t lose very much at all this time. I suppose I technically lost 5 bottles since the wine ingredient kit is designed to make 30 bottles, but all in all, I’m very pleased with the yield.

Shop Wine Bottle CorkersI have to say though, my least favorite part about bottle the wine probably has to be removing labels off of old wine bottles prior to cleaning/sanitizing them for use. I know, I know, I don’t HAVE to remove the wine labels, but it just looks so much cleaner and is less confusing if all my bottles have the same (or no) label to begin with.

I put several wine bottles in a sink with piping hot water, and to my surprise all of the labels just sloughed right off without me doing anything. Unfortunately, as I put more wine bottles in, the harder it was to take the labels off and the more I had to scrap off the teeny tiny bits of glue with a knife. I don’t know if this is because the water was cooling down making the glue less likely to “let go” on its own, or if the labels are just all so different that some are easy to take off while others make you want to throw the bottle out the window.

I realize this complaint is extremely minor in the grand scheme of home winemaking, but I feel better now that I got it off my chest. Cheers!
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leigh_erwin_bioMy name is Leigh Erwin, and I am a brand-spankin’ new home winemaker! E. C. Kraus has asked me to share with you my journey from a first-time dabbler to an accomplished home winemaker. From time to time I’ll be checking in with this blog and reporting my experience with you: the good, bad – and the ugly.

Leigh Erwin: Making A Nebbiolo Wine Ingredient Kit

Making Wine Ingredient KitHi everyone!

If you recall from my last entry, I had just started making another wine ingredient kit – a Ken Ridge Classic Nebbiolo. The primary fermentation was just bubbling away and everything seemed to be going smoothly.

To prepare for secondary fermentation, I was a little curious how I was going to keep the elderberries that came with the kit and were now floating in the wine, from transferring through the tubing into my clean carboy. I suppose if I had used my racking cane with the little red cap on the bottom this wouldn’t have been an issue at all, but since my primary fermenter has a spigot on it, I decided to just hook up the siphoning hose directly to the spigot and transfer away with the flip of a switch.

Since I didn’t have any sort of filter in front of the spigot nor did I have the elderberries in any sort of cheesecloth or bag, I improvised by placing a piece of paper towel in front of the hole of the spigot to keep the large pieces of elderberries from transferring into my clean carboy for secondary fermentation. I don’t know if this was the smartest idea, but the towels were clean and as far as I could tell, sanitary. I think next time this happens when making a wine ingredient kit, I’ll just go ahead and use the racking cane, or maybe fish the elderberries out first prior to transferring the wine over.

Shop Wine Ingredient KitsOther than this little improvisation, secondary fermentation went along just swimmingly. 12 days later, I performed the degassing stage which like secondary fermentation, went along just fine.

The only issue that came up here is that only now did I realize that I forgot to add the oak granulars way back in primary fermentation! I don’t know how I managed to do that, other than the fact that when I opened the drawer that the granulars were in, I noticed they were all the way in the back of the drawer so I had somehow missed them the first time around. Smooth.

While I was temporarily upset that I forgot to add the oak while making this wine ingredient kit, I decided that it didn’t really matter too much and that I would just be making a very fruit forward Nebbiolo instead of a more standard style. These little mistakes can come back to bite you sometimes, while other times, it doesn’t really matter too much if the wine is most likely only going to be consumed by you and your partner!
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leigh_erwin_bioMy name is Leigh Erwin, and I am a brand-spankin’ new home winemaker! E. C. Kraus has asked me to share with you my journey from a first-time dabbler to an accomplished home winemaker. From time to time I’ll be checking in with this blog and reporting my experience with you: the good, bad – and the ugly.