Wine 2021 – Update #03

04 November 2021

Our wine kits are scheduled to ship Monday, so if all goes well they’ll arrive by the end of the week. At that point Eric and I will have a busy time, as we’ll need to start all 8 kits in the same evening.


Because the Finer Wine Kits are not pasteurized and are not shelf stable. They ship cold and must be started immediately, or refrigerated or frozen until used. This is supposed to be better, and the feedback from folks who purchased kits a year ago is very positive.

We ordered 3 of the Super Tuscan kits for one barrel, and are blending Syrah, Petite Sirah, and Merlot for the second barrel. Each kit has an initial volume of 6 gallons / 23 liters, so we’ll have plenty to fill 14.25 gallon / 54 liter barrels, including periodic topup.

The other 2 kits? Eric ordered a Riesling and I ordered a Chardonnay. We intended to order white juice this fall, but as the delivery dates conflicted with Grace & Patrick’s wedding, we had to go with Plan B.

Since I can’t make a 2nd run wine (no grape pomace), I added Plan C: make some fruit wines. I’m currently thinking of 3 possibilities. I may make all 3, or go with alternatives.

Wine 1: Elderberry

The Elderberry concentrate I have in mind reconstitutes to 5 gallons, which isn’t enough to fill a 5 gallon carboy as the initial volume is reduced when the wine is racked off the sediment. I solved this problem in 2018 by adding 1 liter of red grape concentrate to push the initial volume to 6 gallons.

This time, I’m planning to purchase a low-end red grape kit, and use some of the concentrate to bump the initial volume to a bit over 7 gallons. All0wing for sediment, this will allow me to use a 25 liter / 6.6 gallon demijohn for bulk aging.

Why the kit? Each liter of red grape concentrate costs $15 to $30 plus S&H. I can purchase a low-end kit containing 8 liters for $60, which is less than $8/liter, no S&H. I’ll use 2 to 3 liters in the Elderberry, and have some for the next wine:

Wine 2: Exotic Fruit

I made a Zinfandel Blush / Exotic Fruit wine for my niece a couple of years ago. It’s not exactly “wine” as I think of it, more like a fruit punch, but it’s delicious! My thought is to purchase a Black Raspberry or Cherry concentrate, add fresh papaya, pineapple, and mango, plus bump the volume up with red grape concentrate. This will be backsweetened before bottling, but I’ll keep the sugar level low.

This will use 1 to 2 liters of the red grape concentrate, leaving me with 3 to 5 liters of concentrate. While I can freeze it for another use, I may reconstitute and make a small batch of generic red wine. TBD.

Wine 3: Apple

My 2013 Apple was very successful, so I’m leaning towards doing it again. I’ll buy 2 bushels of apples at the Raleigh Farmers Market and juice them. The juice should give me close to 6 gallons volume.

The pulp? Juicing results in a LOT of pulp. Last time I made a second run wine from it, and I foresee doing it again. This will probably net 3 gallons of wine, and I may spice it with cinnamon, cloves, and ginger.

This all gives me roughly 4 carboys of wine, about what I’d have if I made a second run from the grape pomace, plus it gives me a nice selection.

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