2007 Port

June 2007 – I’ve thought numerous times of creating my own port, feeding a red wine sugar to kick the alcohol up as high as I could, then sweetening and augmenting with brandy. Never quite got around to doing it, although the interest spurred me to finally complete my whitepaper on stabilizing wine. Maybe someday I’ll do that, but for now my port is a kit! 🙂

Note: I was irritated with myself for screwing up the F-Packs (see notes) so I made only one label for the entire mess.

This one demanded a joke label.


Kit Winexpert Selection Speciale Series Wine Kit — Port
Bentonite yes
Yeast Red Star Premier Cuvee (included in kit)
Sugar 3 cups
Sulfite yes
Sorbate yes
Chitosan yes


Started kit. Mixed yeast with 1/2 cup water and 1 Tbsp sugar; set aside to foam up. Mix bentonite in 1/2 gallon water — drill-mounted stirring rod works like a charm. Added grape concentrate and topped up with water to 3 gallons. Added yeast.

Note: The instructions state that the starting SG should between 1.128 and 1.133; this is low — I’ll add a bit more corn sugar when feeding it next week.

SG 1.115
Checked SG. 06/14/2007
SG 1.002
Directions called for adding 2 cups corn sugar. Because the initial SG was low I added 3 cups. Made sugar syrup and stirred it in. 06/14/2007
SG 1.022
Completely and utterly ignored wine for many months.

Racked wine (sediment VERY heavy) but still managed to suck up enough sediment to make it murky. Added metabisulphite, sorbate, chitosan, and F-pack. Used drill-mounted stirring rod to mix it well.

SG —

Also realized that I screwed up — I switched F-packs with the Sherry, so I have Port base with Sherry flavoring and Sherry base with Port flavoring …

Tasted ’em both — while they don’t taste like they were intended to, they do make interesting dessert wines. I’m going to make a version of Chicken Marsala with each and see what the family thinks.

SG —


Yield 15 bottles
Alcohol 18.3%
05/18/2008 Mostly a port flavor with a hint of sherry.

I wrote down the final SG on a scrap paper … and lost it. I think it was 1.000, so I used that to calculate the final alcohol.

09/17/2009 This one and the sherry are excellent for making a Chicken Marsala type dish. The result tastes different from Marsala, but there are rarely leftovers.
11/25/2018 In reflecting on this kit, I’m fairly certain that if I had not swapped the F-packs, the result would not have been all that different. The base wines appeared identical, which is why I mixed them up. I had labeled them but the label came off the port and I thought I remembered which was which. I spotted the sherry label after I finished the port.

Both only vaguely resembled their namesakes, but the experiment was worth it. This spurred me to buy later port-style kits, which were greatly improved.