Author Topic: Winemaking - suggested recipes/kits?  (Read 1350 times)

Spork

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Winemaking - suggested recipes/kits?
« on: February 24, 2013, 06:20:15 PM »
The wife and I have started toying with some home wine making.  We're by no means wine snobs.  We drink a lot of box wines and 2 buck Chuck equivalents.  A "celebration wine" for us is probably under $15 -- and maybe under $10.  We've done 2 batches--a Zinfandel** for me and a Chardonnay for her-- and we're waiting impatiently for them to age enough to drink.

I'm looking for suggestions for recipes/kits that are reasonably priced that folks have had good luck with. 
I like reds along the lines of Zin**, Merlot, Cabernet, Shiraz.
She tolerates my reds but prefers an oaky chardonnay.

I'd try other fruits...  I have recipes for blueberry and blackberry that I haven't tried and quite a few homegrown of each in the freezer (so if you have a tried and true one, I'm game.)

** I mean Zinfandel, not white zinfandel.

Zaga

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Re: Winemaking - suggested recipes/kits?
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2013, 06:46:17 PM »
There's a thread about mead around here, a few of us brew that.  The ones I make generally have various fruits in them, usually picked in our yard.  We have wild grapes, rhubarb, blackberries, black raspberries, and mulberries all in enough quantities to make some nice meads!

grantmeaname

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Re: Winemaking - suggested recipes/kits?
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2013, 06:52:14 PM »
Agreed, mead plus fruit is always a terrific idea. We've done pomengranate and orange vanilla, and we're trying out bergamot vanilla next (really earl grey tea and vanila, but sssh), and the results have been uniformly excellent, as long as you're willing to wait long enough for it.

We've only ever done wines from kits... the $70 "World Vineyard" kits are good for 28-30 bottles but they're not quite as good as a $10 wine, and the reds especially do take a good long while to be drinkable. You could also try getting involved in your city's wine group, if you wanted to be a little more hands-on than the kits allow -- my roommate mentioned that the Columbus group took an October day trip down to south central Ohio and harvested and crushed grapes at a vineyard, split the cost, and everyone drove back with 12-18 gallons of must ready for fermentation.

Kriegsspiel

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Re: Winemaking - suggested recipes/kits?
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2013, 07:56:43 PM »
A definite plus on the mead recipe I used was the negligible startup costs.  Jug of water, yeast, raisins, honey, and balloons.

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: Winemaking - suggested recipes/kits?
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2013, 01:04:44 AM »
I recommend a blackberry country wine, because chances are good you can get enough of the necessary fruit for free (you said you had blackberries and at least in my area you can forage a ton of blackberries in August).

We follow the (admittedly lengthy) directions from a Seattle area Homebrew shop. Once you run through the process once or twice it's not nearly as scary as it looks at first glance. Since you've done kit before I suspect most of it will seem pretty familiar.
http://www.cellar-homebrew.com/store/catalog/Resources-sp-22.html

Go to the "Vinters Forum" section and get both the Winemaking Instructions for Country Wine (http://www.cellar-homebrew.com/store/catalog/Winemaking-Instructions-for-Fruit-Wine-sp-37.html) and Winemaking Recipe for the fruit of your choice. (http://www.cellar-homebrew.com/store/catalog/Winemaking-Recipes-sp-5.html)

Put them together and you should be able to convert nearly any fruit into wine for a very small outlay (assuming you already have carboys, etc.) Hope this helps. :)
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cambridgecyclist

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Re: Winemaking - suggested recipes/kits?
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2013, 12:13:33 PM »
I wait for wine to be in season and then buy fresh pressed juices or grapes. Prices for 6 gallons of juice vary, but around here run about $70 per bucket (works out to be a little less than $2.50/bottle) right now. Your local homebrew store should be able to supply or help you find a local supplier. We're getting close to harvest season in the southern hemisphere, so now is the time to place an order for South American wines; it would come in around mid-May.

The closer you are to a wine-growing region the less expensive the ingredients are if they are bought in season.

Spork

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Re: Winemaking - suggested recipes/kits?
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2013, 01:13:54 PM »
and the reds especially do take a good long while to be drinkable.


Any ideas how long to "drinkable?"  The Zin kit says 6 months.  We tried one bottle at 3.  I can assure you 3 isn't long enough.  Is it really 6?  or more like 18?

Your local homebrew store...

Giggle.  My county JUST STARTED SELLING WINE in the past couple of months.  Yes, there are still a few of us living in prohibition times.  We haven't come so far as to have a homebrew store.  I pretty much have to buy online.

We originally started playing with this as both a fun thing to play with and a cost savings.  This was when we had to drive an hour round trip to buy beer/wine.  Now that the gasoline is factored out of it and we can buy it at the grocery store like the rest of you heathens, it's probably a hard argument to make that it is a cost savings.  It's still fun to play with, though.

grantmeaname

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Re: Winemaking - suggested recipes/kits?
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2013, 01:30:27 PM »
and the reds especially do take a good long while to be drinkable.
Any ideas how long to "drinkable?"  The Zin kit says 6 months.  We tried one bottle at 3.  I can assure you 3 isn't long enough.  Is it really 6?  or more like 18?
We're about 8 months in on our Merlot and Riesling and they're much, much better now than they were at 3 months. I couldn't tell you what they'll be like in 18 months-- we likely will not even have any left in a year's time.

Mama Mia

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Re: Winemaking - suggested recipes/kits?
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2013, 12:37:59 PM »
We have been making wine for over 12 years now.  We love Estate Series "Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel". 

grantmeaname

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Re: Winemaking - suggested recipes/kits?
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2013, 01:36:43 PM »
Are the premium kits worth the extra cost? I guess across 30 dollars that's only $3 a bottle, but it's also more than a 100% increase compared to a $70 kit. What do you think?

Mama Mia

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Re: Winemaking - suggested recipes/kits?
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2013, 07:40:14 AM »
It depends on how refined your taste for wine is.  We started out with the basic kits and were happy with them.  The owner of our wine store turned us on to the estate series.  So we tried it & loved it.  It is worth it to us because DH loves it and would spend more at the package store.

We also make beer, it is really fun to figure out what you like & have a constant supply when company comes over.   

Crash87

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Re: Winemaking - suggested recipes/kits?
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2013, 10:03:26 AM »
Frozen juice containers at the store can be used to make wine. Much cheaper than buying the actual fruit. I use 10 per 5 gallon batch.

Make sure the juice doesn't have preservatives in it or your yeast will get killed. The ingredient list should just be juice concentrate, no extra stuff.
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Kaytee

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Re: Winemaking - suggested recipes/kits?
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2013, 12:03:05 PM »
Haven't made wine from grapes yet, only mead and rhubarb wine. I am a refrigerator top brewer. Our carboy is usually occupied by apple cider or GF beer, so I brew in mason jars. Covered with saran wrap, with rubber bands. I have used bread yeast and it has a strong flavor, but will do the trick if you just want to get drunk for nearly free. Generally, champagne yeast is my go yeast as it seems to be pretty tolerant of my brewing experiments.

Some things I have found to be helpful are a hydrometer & column and a bottling wand. It's nice to warn people when I offer them some lemon-lavender wine that I accidently added to much sugar to and is 17% ABV. (unless the hydrometer lied). Otherwise, I use half-gallon mason jars, measuring cups, measuring spoons, and that's about it.

brewer12345

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Re: Winemaking - suggested recipes/kits?
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2013, 09:52:57 AM »
I am mostly a homebrewer, but I am starting to fool around with wines and meads again.  I had tried a kit or two a few years ago and was unimpressed, especially given the colossal PITA of bottling/corking wine (I keg homebrew, which is dead easy).  The nice thing about wine/mead is that it is easy to try a 1 gallon recipe and then scale up if you find something you really like.  3 pounds of honey, some yeast nutrient, yeast and water to get up to 1 gallon of volume plus some fruit or other flavorings will get you a long way toward an experimenta recipe with whatever you have on hand or find cheaply.  If you want to start out with a recipe, it appears to me tha Jack Keller has made wine out of almost anything I can imagine making wine with: http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/

A thought on carboys: I used them for many years but when I moved a couple years ago I decided to let them go ad start using plastic buckets.  If you have ever dropped one you will be amazed how dagerous that is (even empty).  I also know several people bafdly hurt when a carboy broke.  I'd love to get my hands on a stainless steel fermenter, but they are pricy.  The dwnside of plastic is that it has to be periodically replaced.  I just use the retired brewing buckets for bulk food storage (after a thorough cleaning).  The addition of a gamma lid makes access easy.  So when I found a cheap 50# sack of pinto beans (a staple for us), it just went into a bucket.
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