RJ Cole Winery

Insights into the world of an amateur home winemaker.

Location: Charlotte, North Carolina, United States

Cole Wines anagrams to Senile Cow.

Monday, January 23, 2006


This past weekend I finally got started on my Merlot Kit that Kat got me for my Birthday. It was extremely easy. All I had to do was clean all the equipment, then start off with a half gallon of hot water to which I added Bentonite. I stirred that up really well, then poured in the bag of juice. After that, I added another half gallon of water to the juice bag to rinse it out and make sure I got all the grape-y goodness out of the bag and I poured that into the Primary bucket. Next, I filled the bucket up to the 6 gallon mark with cool water, sprinkled the yeast on (the instructions did not say anything about making a yeast starter) and then Put on the lid and the airlock.

That took about a half hour on Saturday afternoon. By yesterday afternoon, the airlock was bubbling a lot, letting me know the yeasties are having a big party in there! Have fun, little yeasts! Do what you do best!

Starting SG was 1.070 which is about 10% abv. That was the only measurement I took, since the kit-makers have been doing this for a long time and have all kinds of labs and procedures to make sure they sell a good product.

This is a 4-6 week kit, meaning that the wine will be ready by then, although they suggest letting it age - the instructions say at least one month, but it will be even better after 3 months. All the folks at Winepress say that, like fresh fruit wine, it will continue to get better the longer it goes. So I may have to taste it at 3 months, 6 months, and a year to decide which is the best! This should give me about 30 750 mL bottles.

I'm excited about this one, but it did seem a little too easy. I guess the hard work at the beginning of the fresh fruit wines is actually rather enjoyable. But then, that's pretty normal for anything that you put time and effort into. Once the finished product is ready, and it turns out good, you can take pride in all your energy producing something great. I'm sure this merlot will taste good, but the Pumpkin and the Blackberry may taste a little sweeter for my work.



Post a Comment

<< Home