Quick Tip – Cloudy Wine

April 13, 2008 at 10:10 pm (Kit Wine, Quick Tips, Thoughts, Wine Recipes, Winemaking, Winemaking Tips) (, , , , , )

Cloudy wine? Give it time. I know, I’m a regular Dr. Seuss. But really, there are ways to clear wine. You can filter using a filter pad. You can use different fining methods where you add an agent like bentonite or isinglass, that the particles bind themselves to. Even better, be patient. Put the carboy of wine in a quiet and dark corner and forget about it. Every week or so make sure the trap has liquid in it and look at a flashlight through the wine. When you clearly see the bulb, the wine is ready to be bottled. Still cloudy, wait another month and check again.

So why not just filter or add chemicals. You can, lots of people do. I try very hard not to. Most particulates will settle out given enough time. I’m of the opinion that filtering will remove some of the good with the bad. My friend at the winery says filtering strips the color from the wine. I don’t want to filter, I’m lazy.

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I’m Not a Lush

April 9, 2008 at 6:00 pm (Thoughts, Winemaking) (, )

For some reason, I feel like I have to defend my winemaking tonight.  I probably have no more than a glass or two a week.  Sometimes it’s more like a glass or two a month.  Of course there have been nights where I’ve had too much, but I’m getting to old for that.  I absolutely hate feeling hung over.

This is a hobby for me, just like woodworking and golf.  I enjoy digging in and learning as much as I can about my hobbies.  It’s not to be a know-it-all, it’s because I get joy in feeling accomplished.  I like to learn, I expect to pursue knowledge for the rest of my life.  It’s who I am, it’s what I do.

I think winemaking is loaded with hocus-pocus, and that doesn’t work for me.  The real winemakers are very scientific in their work, but not everybody works that way.  My off-the-boat Italian friend has lots of old wives tales about making wine.  I wish I could remember one right now.

It’s hard to experiment.  For the home winemaker, making five batches of wine from the same juice, but with five different yeasts is not at all practical.  Not to mention the fact that it will take at least six months before you can start evaluating the results.  My scientific training makes me want to try, but it ain’t happening.  So we learn as much as possible and make the best choices.

It comes down to control.  I get to make wine the way I like it.  I make big enough batches to I have what I like available in plenty.  I already have more wine in my basement than I can drink in five years.

It’s okay, I’ll share.

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Island Mist Kiwi Pear Sauvignon Blanc

April 7, 2008 at 7:48 pm (Kit Wine, Winemaking, Winemaking Log) (, , , )

I didn’t do a blow by blow on this wine. I made it for my friend’s wife, and it’s just another kit. Tonight I bottled the wine and there was half a bottle left over. Good wine never goes to waste, and I was quick to taste the leftovers.

Wow was it sweet, very sweet, too sweet for my likes, but what great flavors.

I also had a new experience with this kit.  Just before adding the “F” pack, you are instructed to remove two cups of wine and put it aside to top up later.  I did as instructed, added the “F” pack syrup and ran out of space.  I had to remove at least one more cup of wine.  The “F” pack is obviously full of more than two cups of flavoring.  The result was a bottle in the fridge with around two cups of unsweetened Sauvignon Blanc.

Fast forward ahead to the leftovers from bottling.  As I mentioned, I tasted it and it was way too sweet, so I poured it into the unsweetened bottle from the fridge.  The resulting half sweetened wine was still sweet, but much more to my liking and it only lasted through the next night.

I would consider making a double batch of this and half sweetening, or making just pouring in half the “F” pack.  I’m curious if anyone else has tried this wine.

By the way, my friend’s wife and father absolutely love the fully sweetened wine.  I think they’ve gone through a couple of bottles and it’s only been a week.

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Help – I Can’t Find Bottles for my Limoncello

April 5, 2008 at 3:27 pm (Other Drinks) (, , , , )

I’ve been searching everywhere and I haven’t been able to find appropriate bottles for storing my limoncello. The bottles in the liquor store are square with a screw cap and hold about 1/2 a liter. Of course I have the vodka bottles I used to make the liqueur, but they are not attractive and they are a bit too large to store in the freezer.

I’ve checked in the home stores (Linen & Things, etc), the dollar stores, Target, Pier 1, and on eBay. I live on the east coast, just outside Philadelphia. Ikea had some bottles with the flip lids like a Grolsch beer, but they are very difficult to open at room temperature, I can’t imagine what it would be like coming out of the freezer.

Does anyone have a suggestion?

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