Today I started a new wine kit, a WinExpert Montagnac Vieux Chateau d’Oc.
Here’s what came in the kit:
The first thing they have you do is stir in a bit of bentonite — which is like clay — into a half gallon of hot water.
Then you add about 2.5 gallons of grape juice concentrate that comes with the kit. Then you add the grape pack, which is a bunch of crushed grape skins. I deviated from the instructions here. Rather than just dump the grape skins in, I got a 5 gallon nylon paint strainer from Home Depot, and put that on my bucket, and put the grape skins into that. That will make getting the wine into the carboy for secondary fermentation a lot easier. Then you add water to top it up to the right level. Before doing that, I measure the temperature, and knowing that the yeast wants to start out at about 70 degrees F, I adjust the tap water to be a temperature which, when added to the grape juice, should bring it near that target.
Here I took the specific gravity which turned out to be 1.086. According to the instructions, it should have been in the range 1.090 – 1.100. Hmm. Maybe I added too much water? I don’t think so. Well, they don’t tell you what to do in the instance that the SG is out of range, so, I guess I’ll just forge ahead. Maybe my wine will be a slightly weak in the alcohol department.
Then, add the oak chips, stir things up a bit. Finally, sprinkle the yeast on top and put the lid on the bucket. Here it is just after sprinkling the yeast (“pitching the yeast”, if you want to use the technical term.)