2019 Symphony/Gewurztraminer

April 2019

Last November I ordered two of the Winexpert 2018 Limited Edition kits, Corazon and Symphony-Gewurztraminer. They arrived a couple of weeks ago.

The Symphony-Gewurztraminer is a blend … when I ordered it, I didn’t read carefully and thought “symphony” was a descriptor … it’s a grape. I found this out when the kit arrived. Oops.

From the Winexpert web site:


The Sierra Foothills were the center of the California Gold Rush in the mid-1800s. European immigrants flocked here seeking their fortunes and planted the area’s first vineyards as they settled into life in the Wild West. Rustic and remote compared to the state’s other regions – Gold Rush ghost towns still dot the countryside – growers take full advantage of the varied terrain of the foothills, utilizing the slopes to maximize sun exposure. The shallow soil is mainly decomposed granite, shale or volcanic matter; not particularly fertile ground, nor does it retain much moisture in a region where water can be scarce. These harsh-sounding conditions are actually good news for grapes as the vines yield less fruit, resulting in more concentrated flavours.


Symphony is one of California’s hidden gems bringing peach, apple and tropical fruit flavours, it is a natural and perfect complement to Gewürztraminer’s characteristic lychee notes. An aromatic blend with floral and juicy peach aromas, this off-dry wine deliciously combines lush tropical and stone fruit flavours. Crisp and bright with expressive fruit and subtle sweetness, this wine really sings when chilled. A beauty to sip on its own, or a perfect companion to spicy Asian dishes, zesty barbecue or baked ham.

If I had read carefully, I probably would not have ordered this kit. However … since I have it, I’m going with it. By not reading carefully I may have done myself a favor and am trying something different. I’m good with that.

BTW: The kit is “2018” but I’m calling it 2019 … because that is when I started the kit.

Kit Winexpert 2018 Limited Edition California Symphony Gewurztraminer kit
Bentonite 30 g
Yeast Lalvin EC-1118
Sulfite 4 g
Sorbate 5.5 g
Kieselsol 12.5 ml
Chitosan 150 ml

Added 2 cups hot tap water to the primary fermenter, sprinkled bentonite on top. Stirred hard. The bentonite clumped, per usual. I’m thinking that for my next kit I’m going to stir the bentonite after I add the juice bag.

Added contents of grape juice bag. Rinsed it with warm water and added to fermenter – it’s amazing how many grape solids are left in the bag – the water was tan when I poured it out. Topped up to 5.5 gallons. Kit calls for 6 gallons, but I typically do 5.5. Stirred for 4 minutes with powered stirring rod, reversing direction every 30 seconds.

Note: the Limited Edition kits contain 18 liters of juice/concentrate. Between the initial hot water and the top-up, I only added half a gallon.

Sprinkled yeast on top.

SG 1.090
Racked into carboy. 04/29/2019
SG 1.012
Racked. Stirred for 4 minutes, reversing direction every 30 seconds.

Added sulfite and sorbate. Stirred 1 minute. Added kieselsol, stirred 1 minute. Added chitosan, stirred 1 minute.

SG 0.996
Added F-Pack, stirred for 30 seconds, reversing for another 30 seconds.

Added Chitosan. This one had two 75 ml packs. Stirred for 30 seconds, reversing for another 30 seconds.

SG 1.000
Racked. Topped up with a full bottle of Gewurztraminer, which still didn’t quite fill the carboy. This racking was not a lot of sediment, less than I expected. However, the previous racking had more. This is probably normal. 06/07/2019
SG 1.000
Racked, add 1/4 tsp K-meta, and bottled. The taste is getting better, which is a pleasant surprise.

The SG dropped a bit, which also surprised me. It’s probably temperature related and not enough to matter.

SG 0.998

Yield 25 bottles
Alcohol 12.8%
05/13/2019 I tasted a sip when racking as I am curious, I know nothing about Symphony. It’s got an odd flavor. But there is a sweetening pack, so that may change the character completely.
05/18/2019 I took another sip after adding the F-Pack. It didn’t sweeten the wine as much as I expected, although the wine still has an odd flavor. I have hopes this one will smooth out as it ages.
06/07/2019 Tasted better today. Still a bit odd, but it gives me hope that after a year of aging it will turn out fine.
09/02/2019 Bottled today. The wine tastes better. Not sure what it taste like — definitely not Gewurztraminer, but it will turn out well with some aging.
12/21/2021 I’ve been disappointed with this wine. The taste was not what I expected — while there is no problem with the wine itself, the Symphony/Gewurztraminer blend didn’t do it for me.

Until I opened a bottle the other night — the wine has hit its stride and has melded well, sort of reminding me of a White Bordeaux. Unfortunately, I have only 4 bottles left …