Non Alcoholic Wines

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Wine male

Wine male (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

OK I know why bother but some people can’t drink alcohol but might enjoy the taste of wine or beer. I recently had an opportunity to try a few. The wines are actually made as wine first (cabs, merlots, etc)( then the alcohol is removed. The taste is very close to the original wine without the buzz. On the beer side St Pauli Girl from Germany is as good as the alcohol version. It would be hard to tell them apart in a blind taste test.

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The Bottling of the Lemoncello

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Limoncello

Limoncello (Photo credit: Dave77459)

I BLOGged previously on making lemoncello. We found great lemoncello bottles online and bottled it last week. Of course we had to taste some. It was great. It was sweet and overly alcoholic. The color was a dark yellow. I would have prefered a bright yellow. Next time I would use more lemon zest during the second stage.

All racked Up & No Place to Go

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limoncello

limoncello (Photo credit: Shamballah)

I racked my (2) Californians and (2) Italians one last time before bottling in end of April. The (2) whites were so clear I could see through them clearly. They all tasted great. I will bottle in April and then into cold storage for aging. The Lemoncello was so yellow! I added sugar water and rest of vodka and it is now a little cloudy. It needs to sit until end of April. It should get a good yellow color by then. Then I will strain out lemon peels and bottle it. Lemoncello must be drunk iced in freezer for months. It won’t freeze but it will get syrupy and take the harsh edge off the vodka. Enjoy. Let me know what you are making.

Amazing Clarity in White Wine

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This image shows a white wine glass (WMF Easy)...

This image shows a white wine glass (WMF Easy) with white wine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am always amazed at how clear I can get my white wines. When I first move them from the primary fermentor to secondary (glass), they are VERY cloudy almost milky. After 30 to 45 days they have cleared and I rack off the clear wine and throw away the sediment at the bottom. After  or 3 rackings, the white wine is crystal clear! After all who wants to drink a white wine that is not clear? Enjoy your wine making.

Spring Wine Making

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A 6.5-gallon (24.7 l) glass carboy acting as a...

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Spring is a time that I bottle my fall Italian & Californian wines, freeing up my carboys and demijohns for the Spring Chileans. I ordered 6 – 6 gallon bucks of Chilean juice this year. It has completed primary fermentation in the plastic buckets with the yeast and has been siphoned into carboys and demijohns for secondary fermentation. Tomorrow I will check Specific Gravity readings and if ready will add some sulphites to stop fermentation, rack to clean off raw sediment and move them into cold storage for aging. At this point they are technically wines but not very good yet. They are way to young to drink. As they slowly age they will mature and get much better tasting. Then I will bottle them and let them age for 2 years in the bottles. At that time they will be ripe for drinking and enjoying. Here is to enjoying an ancient drink we call wine!

Snowy Day to Rack my Wine

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Tempranillo varietal wine bottle and glass, sh...

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On this day with snow and ice falling, I decided it was a good day to rack my wine. I have two industrial strength wire tables that hold 3 carboys/demijohns each, so I can rack 6 bottles at a time. I first sterilize each piece of equipment I will use. I place a plastic bucket (from the Must) below each bottle and siphon out the wine. I look for clarity as the wine moves into the bucket. The siphon prevents the last bit of wine to be moved with the sediment in it. I then wash the glass bottle and siphon. I use a standard drill with a wine stirrer (you can buy these in any wine making supply store or on the net. I stir the wine to release gasses. If it starts to foam up, STOP or it will overflow onto your floor. I make note in the cellar log of how much gas I find in the wine. You NEVER want to bottle with gas or it will never escape (unless you are making Champaign). I place the bucket of wine up on the wire table and the empty carboy/demijohn below it. Now I re-siphon the wine (clarified) back into the glass bottle. I move the racked wines to the floor and put up any other bottles to be racked on the wire table. I normally leave them settle on the table for 4 to 5 days. This allows the sediment to settle to the bottom of the bottle. Do not move or shake the bottles or the sediment will go back into the wine. I normally taste my wines as I rack them to get a feeling of how they are progressing. They are getting closer to bottling day and then they can be enjoyed.

Winter and Wine Making

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Sangiovese grapes in a vineyard of Montalcino,...

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I am in the north-east and its cold this time of year. Wine making involves a time for yeast to transform sweet grape juice into dry wonderful wine. Yeast needs temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees F. I tried making a few kits last year around this time. I needed to turn on space heaters to get the area up to 65 degrees F. That probably cost me more than the Must did. I was filling a relatively dead time in home wine making in with a few kits. I will still make kits but do them in Spring, Summer or Fall. This time of year I rack my wine but otherwise sit back and dream about what it will become in the next year or so. I usually dream about this while opening a bottle of 4 or 5-year-old wine. It is always amazing to me how the wine changes. As it ages it get mellow and the flavors are stronger. Yum!

Home Wine making is all about a craft and a bit of an art that brings you so much pleasure. You watch your Must change into a young wine and then mature into older and older wines. You might experiment with blending different wines to come up with a unique wine. In reality all wine is unique. Like snow flakes, no two are the same. You might drink some wine you made a few years ago and say WOW what a great wine. You can by the same Must from the same country, The problem is the vintage (year) is different and your racking, fermenting and handling is different. The amount of aging and temperatures are different. All of these things cause the Must to produce a very different wine. Although all Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon taste similar, each has its own unique flavors.

Learn about wine, make some and enjoy it with family and friends.