Wine Log Series – Luva Bella Fall Juice – 10-19-11

Welcome to the  third post of my Wine Log Series. With this series, I am documenting how to make wine by recording my wine notes on this blog. If you missed part 1 and 2, you can find them here and here.  I racked the wine on 10/19/2011 and got an updated SG reading on all the wine,

Burgundy: SG .994 has a cherry flavour.

Shiraz: SG .990 has an alcohol flavour with a cranberry after-taste.

Valpolicella: SG .990 Taste like currants.

Viognier:  SG 1.025 Taste like peaches.

Since then all the wine has been bottled with the exception of the Viognier.  The Viognier is taking longer to ferment out and on 3/29/2012 clarifier was added to help it clear. On 4/08/2012 sulphite was added.  It has a sweet peach flavour.    This wine is sweet enough to be considered a dessert wine and will make a nice gift.  It should be bottled shortly.

The Valpolicella was the first to be bottled, on 2/2012.  It has a sweet cherry aroma and is a full body wine.  It is tangy on the back of you tongue has a cherry flavour with lite smoky undertones.  It needs some aging time in the bottle for it to hit it’s great potential.

The Burgundy and the Shiraz were bottled on 3/2012. These are my two favourites. The Burgundy has a blackberry aroma with a full body. It tastes like a chocolate covered strawberry. This turned out to be an excellent selection and one we will order again. The Shiraz has a tart cherry aroma with a medium body.  It has a nice blackberry flavour with a hint of cherry and a nice smoky after taste.

This concludes this series of the wine log. We will start a new series soon when we start the spring wine juice we have ordered.


Elderberry Valpolicello Wine Recipe

Last week I mentioned that I had a special recipe I was going to use with the last gallon of Valpolicello wine. After making the 6 gallon batch of wine from fresh juice, I rack the wine into a 5 gallon carboy. This leaves me with 1 gallon extra. I decided to make a second batch of wine using the left over wine in the bucket. I had a few pounds of Elderberries in the freezer and a couple of cans of Welches frozen grape juice. That was the basis of the recipe.

First, I use the same bucket that the original wine fermented in, I did not clean it out. When I racked the wine to the 5 gallon carboy, I left 1 gallon in the bucket. I then placed 7 pounds of elderberries in a nylon straining bag and placed that in a pot. I then mixed 8 pounds of sugar and 2 gallon of water in with the elderberries.  Then I added 2 cans of Welches grape juice. I did not boil the water, I just warmed it up to room temperature and added it to the bucket. I then added enough water to bring the bucket to 5 gallons. Next I added 2 teaspoons of acid blend for each gallon of wine for a total of 10 teaspoons. Since the wine in the bucket had yeast still in it, the fermentation started right away. I did not have to add any additional yeast.

I started this wine on 9/15/2011. PA was at 11.5% and TA was at .60%. I stirred it every day to mix the fruit into the wine. (As wine ferments, the fruit will float to the top and needs “punched down” in order to get maximum extraction of the flavors and colors.) On 9/22/2011 I lifted the bag of elderberries from the wine and let it drain. (Do Not Squeeze The Bag!) I then racked the wine from the bucket into a 5 gallon carboy for secondary fermentation.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind for this process. First, since the left over wine in the bucket is still fermenting, you do not want to do anything that will kill the yeast. I don’t add sulfite at this stage because I want fermentation to begin right away. I don’t pour boiling hot water into the bucket. I make sure the water temp is withing 5-10 degrees of the wine so as not to shock the yeast. Same thing with frozen fruit, bring it within 5-10 degrees of the wine must before adding it to the bucket.

Second, you can adjust the amount of fruit and frozen grape juice to suit what you have on hand. I used 7 pounds of elderberries because that was what I had in the freezer. I used 2 cans of Welches Frozen Grape Juice because, again, that is what I had in the freezer. Generally, I will use 8 pounds of fruit or 8 cans of Welches Frozen grape juice for a second run recipe. Mix and match as you see fit.

Well, that is one of the ways I stretch my wine. Using this method, I can make two batches of wine for a little more than the cost of one. Both of these wines should be done at around the same time, so I will be bottling 10 gallons instead of 5. That is how you make wine on a budget.


Wine Log Series – Luva Bella Fall Juice – 9-15-2011

Welcome to the second update of my Wine Log Series – Luva Bella Fall Juice. In the previous post I took the initial readings and started the fermentation. I let the wine ferment for 1 week, then I checked the readings again. The PA readings ranged from 0-6% and acidity was higher in all the wines. I racked the wine into 5 gallon carboys. The wine came in 6 gallon buckets, so I racked the remainder into 1 gallon glass jugs. I will use this wine to top up the 5 gallon carboys when I rack the wine later. I did something different with the Valpolicella, after racking 5 gallons into the carboy, I used the remaining gallon to start another wine. I will post that recipe soon.

One thing I do at each racking is taste the wine. I do this to see how the wine develops and to catch any potential problems early. I listed my impressions of the wine that I tasted below. These were the readings on 9-15-2011.

Burgundy – PA 2%, TA .50%. I taste currents and cherries.

Shiraz – PA 0%, TA .50%. I taste a hint of blackberry.

Valpolicella  – PA 0%, TA .50%. I taste a hint of currents

Viognier – PA 6%, TA .75%. This had a strong aroma of grapefruit and it tasted like peaches.

Since the acid readings rose on all of these wines, I am not going to add anything at this time. I will let the wine continue to ferment and clear. Until the next update,


Wine Log Series – Luva Bella Fall Juice

Every wine maker should take good notes when they make wine. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, taking good notes will help you improve your wine making skills. By being able to reference what worked well and what didn’t, you can improve the quality of your wine. The second reason is for the times when you surprise yourself and make something truly exceptional. In those instances, you will have a record of what you did and can repeat your work of art.

I am going to demonstrate what I am talking about. I am starting a new series of posts titled The Wine Log Series. I plan on documenting my wine logs on this blog. All the notes that I take about the wine, any readings I take, any impressions I get from the wine, will be documented here. I hope this will help you understand how to take good notes on wine making.

To start off the series, I ordered fresh wine juice from Luva Bella Winery. The juice came from California and is in 6 gallon buckets. The juices that I ordered were Burgundy, Shiraz, and Valpolicella, which are reds and Viognier which is a white. Below is a short description of each wine along with the readings I took on September 8, 2011 when I started the wine.

Burgundy – Ruby red in color that has a light aroma of cherry and earthliness. The hydrometer reading was 12.5% PA, or 1.096 SG. Tartaric Acid reading was .30%, which is a little low for a red. It should be around .60-.65% TA.

Shiraz – A blend of blackberry, spice and chocolate hints. The hydrometer reading was 12% PA, or 1.092 SG. Tartaric Acid reading was .30%, which is a little low.

Valpolicella – Deep ruby red color with apple and cherry aromas. The hydrometer reading was 11.5% PA, or 1.089 SG. Tartaric Acid reading was .35%, which is a little low.

Viognier – Light gold in color with the aroma of apricot, spice and honey. The hydrometer reading was 12%, or 1.094 SG. Tartaric Acid reading was .40%, which is a little low for a white. It should be around .65-.75% TA.

Since these juices are from California, I am not surprised the TA reading are a little low. Californian grapes are known to be low in acid. When I rack the juice to carboys, I will take another reading and adjust the acid at that time.

The instructions to start these wines were easy. Just bring the wine home, let it warm up and stir the must with a sanitized spoon. I also took the PA and TA readings listed above at that time. I will give them about a week to ferment, then I will check the PA reading to see if they are ready to rack into the carboy. I will update the wine log at that time. If you have any questions or comments, please let me know.