3 x 3 in 3 Kit Wine Making by William Forsch

3 x 3 in 3 Kit Wine Making by William Forsch

Winemaker’s Academy is built on members helping each other make a better bottle of wine.  One of our members provided a very helpful presentation for the beginning kit wine maker.  As the title states you only need a 3′ x 3′ space and 3 hours of time to start your wine making experience. Bill has been a kit wine maker for 9 years and has completed over 150 kits including all styles – red, white, and dessert.  He has also conducted full kit wine making classes for four years including almost 100 students.  After retirement five years ago, he began making wine from grapes.  Bill is an avid golfer, tennis player, chef/cook, and supporter of the Orange County Wine Society – Winemaker’s group and a member of their “leadership team”.  Bill’s Home Wine label is:  Lolita’s Claw Wines, named after the nasty calico cat that resides with him that tends to claw everything and everyone! Forsch Wine Kits Presentation-Updated...

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Vacuum System for Home Winemaking

Vacuum System for Home Winemaking

A vacuum system for amateur home winemaking David W. Vehar There are a number of pre-built vacuum systems available for the home winemaker, and there is no reason to disparage any of these.  However, during my 40-year career as an engineer making equipment work in a laboratory, I have found it considerably more satisfying to design and build something myself than to purchase it.  Besides, after said 40-year career, I prefer to avoid heavy lifting.  So, a few years ago when my wife presented me with a home winemaking kit, I immediately started to think of ways to make the material handling easier. The first of these innovations was a hydraulic lift to hold my carboys, which allowed me to raise or lower them as needed. This actually worked pretty well, but still involved working at inconvenient heights. My next idea was to use a vacuum to pump the wine, allowing me to work at a convenient bench top height without having to lift carboys from floor level.  I also thought that with fewer components actually touching the wine, sanitizing and cleanup would be easier.  I immediately discovered a number of systems described for just that purpose.  This was obviously not a novel idea, but I persisted. So, nearly five years and 30 kits later, virtually every stage of my wine handling is now done with vacuum.  The following is a description of the various components that go into my system.  There is little unique about this setup.  This is what I have found works for me, and it continues to evolve with experience and the suggestions of others. Overview A generalized view of the vacuum system is shown in the accompanying diagram.  A pump creates a vacuum that draws wine from a fermenter or supply carboy into a sealed receiving vessel (carboy or wine bottle) by means of a racking cane and 3/8” ID Tygon® tubing.  All other tubing is 1/2″ OD x 3/8” ID, either Tygon® or HDPE (high density polyethylene) tubing.  These will not collapse under vacuum.  A trap placed between the receiving carboy and the pump prevents liquids from entering the pump.  Details of the individual components and how they are used are provided below. Vacuum Pump For reference, atmospheric pressure (1 atmosphere) = 14.7 psi = 29.9 inHg at sea level (24 inHg at 6000 ft where I live).  Attainable vacuum depends on the type of pump, but this is the maximum that any pump can produce. My pump is a GAST® LOA-P175 oil-less rocking piston pump capable of maximum vacuum of 26 inHg, or about 20 inHg at 6000 ft.  I found it new on eBay for about $120, salvaged from a beverage handling system.  This is adequate for vacuum degassing, and is more than adequate for transferring liquids (racking).  I equipped the pump with a vacuum valve and vacuum gauge purchased from my local Granger store. There are a number of inexpensive utility pumps available for applications such as servicing air conditioning systems. Most of these are oil-lubricated.  I chose an oil-less pump because I have never found an oil-lubricated pump that...

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Choosing a Wine Kit – Part 2

Choosing a Wine Kit – Part 2

Winexpert kits from smallest to largest. Each kit makes 6 gal. of wine In part one of this article we discussed the characteristics that differentiate one size/price range of kit from another. http://winemakersacademy.com/choosing-a-wine-kit-part-1-owerview/  In part two we are going to look at how each of the product lines in the Winexpert family compare to each other using these characteristics.  Just by way of reminder, the aging times provided in this article are based on our experience, numerous customer reviews of various wines and a great deal of online research. However, many people are comfortable drinking their wines earlier than we recommend. Ultimately it’s your wine.  It’s up to you to decide when it’s ready to drink. A word about prices – Winexpert has instituted a Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) price fixing scheme that regulates the price that their resellers are allowed to advertise on many of their product lines. However, you may be able to get a discount from your local retailer or online retailer, they just can’t advertise a lower price. The prices shown below are based on either the MAP price if there is one or the typical internet price for non-MAP categories at the time of this writing. The cost per bottle is based on thirty bottles per kit except for the Selection Speciale kits which only make 15 bottles. The prices do not include the cost of the bottles which are reusable. The price ranges for a comparable commercial wine are subjective based on our experience.   Summary of Each Kit Type Like most things in life, you make your choice and you pay your money, and in the case of wine, you wait your time.  With that in mind here is a quick guide the differences between to the various sizes of kits and why you might choose one over the other.   Key Characteristics of Kit Lines Island Mist Vintners Reserve Selection Selection w/ Skins Eclipse Selection Speciale Size in Liters 7.5 10 16 18 18 12 Time to make 4 wks 4 wks 6 wks 6 wks 8 wks 6-8 wks Age Time White 1-3 mo 3-9 mo 6-9 mo N/A 9-18 mo 9-18 mo Age Time Red 1-3 mo 6-12 mo 9-18 mo 12-24 mo 12-24 mo 12-24 mo Aprox. Price $70 $55-$85 $85-$130 $120-$170 $160-$170 $70-$110 Cost/Bottle $2-$2.50 $2-$3 $3-$4.50 $4-$4.50 $5-$6.50 $5-$7.50 Compares to Commercial Wine costing $8-$12 $8-$14 $12-$18 $14-$24 $18-$30 $14-$30   Product Line:  Island Mist Size:  7.5 Liter Time to ferment and clear:  4 weeks Aging time:  1-3 months Approximate Price: $70 (May 2016) Cost per Bottle: $2 – $2.5        Compares to Commercial $8-$12 wine   These are great kits for new wine makers because they are easy to make and quick to drink.  They can be bottled in as little as 4 weeks and in theory consumed immediately after bottling.  However you’re probably going to be disappointed unless you wait at least a few weeks.  My wife and I have found that for us three months is about the minimum amount of aging before we start to drink these kits. They will continue to improve...

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