RJ Cole Winery

Insights into the world of an amateur home winemaker.

Location: Charlotte, North Carolina, United States

Cole Wines anagrams to Senile Cow.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Working with Wine

Last night I deicded to do some new work with my wines. This was an easy decision since it's still early in the process for my Merlot, and I'm having to check on that on a daily basis. Here's what I did:

1)Sanitized new 5 gallon carboy, autosiphon, and racking tube.
2)Nearly broke back carrying 5 gallon carboy of Pumpkin Wine to counter and lifting it to set on top of counter.
3)Racked Pumpkin Wine into new 5 gal. carboy.
a)I left a little bit of wine in the old carboy to try to keep from transferring too much sediment.
b)I added 5 crushed Campden Tablets, 1 1/4 tsp ascorbic acid, and 1 1/4 tsp Stabilizer.
c)I topped up with some Pumpkin Wine I had left over from the previous racking which had been stored in the fridge.
4)Put in a fresh bung and airlock.

1)Sanitized 6 gallon carboy, autosiphon, and racking tube.
2)Nearly broke back carrying 6 gallon primary bucket of Merlot to counter and lifting it to set on top of counter (while catching my jeans pocket on a cabinet door knob.)
3)Racked Merlot into 6 gallon carboy.
a)Instructions indicated to leave most of the sediment behind, so I left a little bit of wine.
b)Per instructions, no additives added at this time.
4)Put in fresh and sanitized bung and airlock.

-It might take quite a while for that Pumpkin Wine to be any good. I took a taste of it and I think I may have used too much ginger. It was very gingery tasting, and still quite "hot". One of the suggestions I've read on Winepress is to add a can of Welch's White Grape concentrate before the final racking, so I'll ty that and see if it mellows the wine out any. I hope it will!

-The Pumpkin Wine is starting to clear very nicely. After racking, it was almost possible to see through it. I also shook the carboy to make sure the additives got mixed in well, and to see if any bubbles arose, indicating CO2 and showing a need to degass. Only a very minimal amount of bubbles showed, and that may have been from oxygen getting into the wine during the racking and the shaking. Without any extra CO2 in there, more sediment should start falling out easily. This will further help to clear the wine, getting me that much closer to bottling.

-The Merlot tasted delicious! I had to check the SG to make sure it was time to rack it. The instructions on the kit say to wait 5-7 days and check the SG to make sure it's down to no higher than 1.010. The SG I measured was only slightly above 1.000, which meant it was time to rack! This lowered SG (down from OG of 1.070) meant that most of the sugar had converted to Alcohol (thanks, yeasties!), which as young as it is, imparts a differnt taste than it did just a couple of days ago. It didn't taste nearly as good, but that's just because the wine hasn't had time to "live together" (as Kat likes to say) and have it's separate components begin to complement each other to become a well-balanced wine. It'll get there soon enough.

-I discovered that my 6 gallon carboy is more likely a 6.5 gallon carboy. The instructions said to leave most of the sediment behind, so I left a little bit of wine, but not very much at all. If I had used all of the wine, the level in the carboy would still not be near the neck of the carboy. My primary bucket is clearly marked where 6 gallons of wine should be. That's where I started off. The carboy, being previously 6 gallons, should have only had a minimal amount of head space left. This means I'll have to go to Alternative Beverage again sometime and get a 6 gal carboy to make sure future wine turn out alright (since I'm adding ingredients for this to measure a certain level.) This shouldn't be a problem for now, as the wine is still fermenting and thus producing CO2 to push the oxygen off the wine. I'll be transferring this to a 5 gallon Carboy in about a week anyway.

So that's about it for today! I'm really excited about both of these, and I'm ready to start thinking about the next wine. What should I do this time? I'm thinking about maybe finding a Rioja kit if that's within my budget. I'll keep you posted.



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