2008 Blueberry / Pinot Noir

May 2008I had great luck with the Black Cherry / Pinot Noir a few years ago and bought this kit on impulse when stopped by American Brewmaster to get corn sugar for the Port & Cream Sherry. Took a year to get off my duff, but I’ve started it!


Kit WineXpert Island Mist Blueberry Pinot Noir Wine Kit
Bentonite yes
Yeast Red Star Premier Cuvee (included in kit)
Sugar 4 cups
Sulfite yes
Sorbate yes
Kieselsol yes
Chitosan yes


Started the kit by following the directions. Dissolved bentonite in 2 quarts warm water.

That’s as far as following the directions went. Instructions indicate starting SG will be 1.048-1.052, roughly 6% alcohol, before adding the blueberry syrup. Definitely too low to preserve for any length of time. Not that I expect this wine to last 20 years (or even 2) but I’m leery of that low a level for a wine. So I added 4 cups sugar. 🙂

Couple years ago I purchased a drill-mounted stirring rod, a tool I strongly recommend! Used it to mix the sugar and bentonite ito the warm water.

Stirred 2 tsp sugar into 1 cup warm water and added yeast. I always do this to start yeast; usually the yeast bubbles up within 20 to 60 minutes.

Added the grape concentrate and stirred well. Then filled the fermenter to 5-1/2 gallons with cold water. Stirred it again. SG came out to what I consider a minimum for wine (1.070, ~9% alcohol).

As usual with the stirring rod I got a fair amount of foam on top. Instead of waiting an hour for it to subside I used a spoon to skim it off the surface and dumped the foam into yeast starter. That not only cleared the surface enough to read the SG, it seemed to jump-start the yeast a bit faster! We’ll see how this goes.

SG 1.070
Racked wine into carboy + gallon jug. There’s a fair amount of air space but the fermentation is still vigorous, pushing out any oxygen. Instructions say to check it in 10 days but I’ll probably go 2 weeks to the next Saturday. 05/31/2008
SG 1.005
Directions call for removing 1 quart of wine, stirring up the sediment in the carboy, then adding the remaining additives. Since I have 1 full carboy plus a half full gallon jug I stirred both up and racked into a primary fermenter. 06/15/2008
SG 0.995
Using the drill-mounted stirring rod I vigorously stirred the wine to drive off CO2, then added sorbate, sulfite, and chitan with more vigorous stirring. Then added the blueberry concentrate. Interestingly enough the concentrate was not blue, it was almost clear with a light brownish caste.

Racked the wine back into the carboy, filling it within 2″ of the stopper. Racked remaining wine into the gallon jug, over half filling it. Gave both a good shake, still getting some CO2 from it so the airspace in the gallon just should not be a problem.

SG 1.015
Side note — tonight the carboy shows a fair amount of sediment (1″) while the gallon jug, which was filled from the last in the fermenter, is about half full of sediment! 06/16/2008
SG 1.015
Bottled the wine. It cleared very nicely, sooner than the directions indicated, so I went ahead and bottled it. 06/25/2008
SG 1.015


Yield 26 bottles
Alcohol 10.2%
Residual Sugar 3.8%
06/25/2008 VERY green at bottling, as expected. A bit on the light side, probably due to the low alcohol content (~10%). Lightly sweet — I expect this one will prove popular!
10/29/2008 This is proving to have a nice aftertaste. While not bone try, it’s very lightly sweet. I think I’ll need to make another one of these soon as this one is going fast …
11/16/2009 Down to 2 bottles … instead of rationing this one I should have just made another one! While not my first choice in wines, these fun wine kits go over VERY well.