View Full Version : Winemakers

06-17-2012, 08:06 PM
Any winemakers out there? My wife and I have been wanting to try this for a while. We finally picked up a starter kit at our local brew shop this weekend and got things started today. A good friend's father has been making great wine from concentrate for several years and I relied on a lot of advice from him for this first batch.

We're making a Washington state Merlot for our first try. I'll post some pictures soon and keep track of how it goes. Would love to hear from other winemakers.

06-17-2012, 08:37 PM
I made a few batches of mead years ago. Tasted like kerosene even after aging. A friend of my brothers makes wine out of frozen Welchs grape juice and it's surprisingly good.

From what I remember most wine recommends at least a year of age before it's really palatable, it's why I switched to making beer.

06-17-2012, 08:51 PM
Yeah, I'm hearing six months to a year is needed before it's really good. That's why I'm starting with wine. Once this is done I'll try my hand at beer, it's nice because the basic equipment needed is the same.

We'd like to make 2-3 batches of wine a year if this turns out well. One batch from a concentrate kit will make about 25 bottles.

06-17-2012, 08:54 PM
Some pictures from today's fun.

Taking stock of everything needed -


Pouring the concentrate into the primary fermentor -


Adding the yeast -


Now to wait -


06-17-2012, 09:14 PM
Seven days or so of primary fermentation, then rack it to the secondary fermentor and allow another four weeks of fermentation prior to bottling.

Starting gravity of 1.090.

06-18-2012, 08:19 AM
After brewing beer for over 20 years, I finally brought the wife into the "fermentation hobby" with a pinot noir kit a couple months ago. Compared to beer brewing, wine making is a piece of cake, you just have to wait a bit longer to enjoy the finished product. And be more careful with the liquid since grapes stain things a lot worse than barley :D She really enjoyed the process and is already thinking about expanding beyond the kit stage and heading down the fruit-wine path. I guess it's kind of like going from extract to all-grain brewing.

We got about 28 bottles out of this kit, so storage will be more challenging than beer. She'll probably stick to 3-4 batches/year, which is still a lot of wine.

06-18-2012, 09:19 AM
That is awesome!! Thank you for the pictures and please keep us posted. I have some friends that are into wine making. They said they stick with whites because whenever they try to do a red it looks like a murder scene. This is yet another hobby I want to give a try when I get home and settled.

06-18-2012, 09:23 AM
I know it's a bit early but have you tried any of the wine yet? I'm thinking I'll open one bottle a month, I think it will be interesting to taste the progression.

06-18-2012, 09:39 AM
Good luck. At least you have access to good grapes and an established wine making territory.

06-18-2012, 09:47 AM
I know it's a bit early but have you tried any of the wine yet? I'm thinking I'll open one bottle a month, I think it will be interesting to taste the progression.

We'll probably let these sit for 3 months before we open the first bottle. But it tasted great in the bottling bucket--fruity, not too dry, a little hot from the alcohol.

06-18-2012, 04:11 PM
Awesome thread! I've been thinking about making Muskadine wine in a couple years when my grapes get a little bigger.

06-19-2012, 05:27 PM
We have fermentation! There is nothing like watching the bubbles pop up through the airlock! :D

06-30-2012, 11:18 AM
Racked from the primary into the secondary this morning. Tested the SG and we're down to .998, which according to my calculations puts us at 12.25% ABV. Tastes good, a lot like grape juice still and pretty acidic. I would compare it to 2 buck chuck from Trader Joes at this point and it's only been two weeks. Looking forward to seeing how the taste progresses with time. I will tell you one thing, there is nothing like getting a buzz on a Saturday morning from alcohol you've made yourself :D

We've been thinking about what to name our "winery" (and eventually brewery when I start brewing in a couple months). I am from NC and my wife is from WA so we are thinking of a play on that: Two Coasts Winery, East Coast West Coast Winery, or Right Coast Left Coast...something like that. Any thoughts?

Using the siphon to rack into the secondary fermentor:

The bag you see in there contains the grape skins, you also can't see them but there are oak chips in there as well to simulate aging in oak barrels:

It's home for another three weeks until we bottle: