2020 Exotic Fruits – White Zinfandel Fun Wine

Feb 2020

My niece asked me to make her another wine. A friend of hers is interested as well, so they agreed on a WineXpert Island Mist kit.

These are “fun wines”, a grape wine base with fruit flavoring, lightly to highly sweet, depending on the kit.

This one is supposed to have white zinfandel as a base grape. However, the grape concentrate in the kit is absolutely red!

I emailed WineXpert, asking about this. We’ll see what I get for a reply.

Update (02/28/2020)

– I received a timely reply from WineXpert, which basically said the wine is a rose. To be fair, the wine lightened up a lot post-fermentation.

Exotic Fruit Rose

Exotic Fruit Rose

IMO this is not a rose; rather it’s a very light bodied red. But I’m willing to cut WineXpert slack on this one for a few reasons:

  • WineXpert provided an immediate response
  • it’s not a “serious” wine (e.g., it’s nothing I’d drink with a meal)
  • it’s close enough to “rose” that I can chill on the subject

In a casual setting, it’s a great fit for people who want something sweet and fruity.

Kit WineXpert Island Mist Exotic Fruits kit
Bentonite 30 g
Sugar 4 lbs
Yeast Lalvin EC-1118
Sulfite/Sorbate Instead of separate packets, these come in one, 11.5g each
Kieselsol 12.5 ml
Chitosan 25 ml

Added 4 cups hot tap water to the primary fermenter and sprinkled the bentonite on a bit at a time, then stirred until dissolved. No clumping!

Added contents of grape juice bag. Rinsed it with warm water and added to fermenter. Topped up to 5.5 gallons, as my per usual method.

As the SG was 1.054, I added sugar in 1 lb batches, stirring hard in between. This brought the SG up to a good level

Sprinkled yeast on top.

Note: the basic kit produces an 8% alcohol wine, which is unlikely to have a good shelf life. By chaptalizing the wine to 10% or above (this one will probably be about 11%) the wine will likely have a shelf life of at least 5 years. Fun wines I made in 2011 were still excellent when the last bottles were consumed in 2018.

SG 1.076
Racked wine, moved to carboy. 02/13/2020
SG 1.002
Racked wine, added sulfite/sorbate. Stirred for 2 minutes with powered stirring rod, switching directions every 30 seconds.

Added kieselsol, stirred for 1 minute, switching direction after 30 seconds.

Racked half into carboy, stirred hard for 1 minute. Stirred wine remaining in the primary for 1 minute. Lots of foam. [Did this as the primary I used did not have the capacity for vigorous stirring. Racked remainder into carboy.

SG 0.994
Racked wine into primary. Added F-Pack and chitosan. Stirred vigorously, producing almost no foam (indicates last stirring de-gassed well). Racked back into carboy for clearing.

Note: The F-Pack is very thick, as it’s a highly sweet (sugar filled). The instructions say to rinse the bag with 1 cup water and add to the wine. Nope. I don’t normally add water once a wine is started, as it dilutes the wine. Yes, kits contain grape concentrate and need to be diluted to a proper specific gravity, but once that is done I do NOT add water.

So when I racked the wine back into the primary fermenter, I ran wine into the F-Pack bag four times. Each time I capped the bag, shook to dissolve the residue in the bag, and added to the primary. By the 4th time the bag was clean inside.

SG 1.014
Racked. Didn’t drop as much sediment as I expected. 03/07/2020
SG 1.014
Racked in preparation for bottling. Remaining sediment was a dusting. 03/28/2020
SG 1.014
Bottled 04/04/2020
SG 1.014

Yield 28 bottles
Alcohol 11.1%
Residual Sugar 3.5%
02/28/2020 The “exotic fruit” flavor pack has a strong papaya flavor that is pleasing. I had serious doubts about this wine before I started it … but I have expectations the final result will be a very tasty party wine. This type of wine beats the heck out of wine coolers, which (IMO) are typically sugar syrup, cheap flavoring, and alcohol.
03/28/2020 This is WAY too sweet for my taste, far sweeter (in perception at least) than the other fun wine kits I’ve done. It tastes like a high quality wine cooler. The amount of alcohol in it is masked, so care needs to be taken in the amount consumed.
. .
. .