Friday, December 15, 2017

2017 Orange Wine

It is December and wife Jenny bought oranges to be healthy, but later we decided we’d rather make wine from it. Orange wine is a little unusual, but there are recipes on line. Jenny and I decided o make a very sweet wine, where the yeast would die leaving the wine sweet.

Orange Wine Recipe
7 oranges, squeezed
1 lemon, squeezed
57 oz orange juice (Meijers Organic)
1 Tablespoon orange zest
3 lb 1 oz sugar
2 g yeast energizer
1 pack Lalvin 71B-1122

I measured the sugar at 13.6% (specific gravity of 13 Brix and a density of 1.05 g/ml). This would make a wine of just 6.5%. I added 3 lb of sugar to just 2.6 L of juice to bring the sugar up to 20%. The idea is for the yeast to die and leave the wine sweet.

I just converted from Red Star to Lalvin yeast. I used 71B-1122, which is for white wines, and especially wines with residual sweetness.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

2017 Hard Cider

My wife bought a gallon of organic apple juice because she thought it would be good for her stomach. She decided not to drink it, and so it was available to make wine. It is a true juice rather than a cider, so the apple selection is more for little kids rather than adults.

The sugar content was 14% Brix. This should make 7% alcohol.

Hard Apple Cider Recipe

1 gallon Apple Juice  (Organic from Manzana Products, Sebastopol CA)
3/4 lemon chopped with rind
3/4 tsp of pectic enzyme
1/2 tsp of yeast enzyme
1 packet of Red Star Cotes des Blancs

The plan is to ferment to dryness, then rack, filter, chill, add sorbate and sulfite, and then sweeten.

Friday, December 8, 2017


I had a chance to go to Italy, and stayed in the Piedmont region near Alba. They had this nice Nebbiolo wine made from the grape that is a regional specialty. Wikipedia has an excellent article and a whole paragraph full of alternate names for Nebbiolo.

Anyway, it had a clear taste with nice berry-like fruitiness. I wish I could buy some, but of course I never really have looked for it.

While I was at the restaurant at Villa d Amelia , they had the excellent jam made from Nebbiolo.  It had a rich more complicated flavor. I don't think that is sold online.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Lalvin Yeasts

I bought some yesterday from Grape Grain and Bean Home Brewing Supply, and because I am switching from Red Star to Lalvin, I wanted to copy out their notes on Lalvin yeast.

Selected in Narbonne at the Institut national de recherche en agriculture (INRA) by J. Maugenet. The selection was designed to isolate yeasts that would produce a fruity yet fresh character in wine that would live long after fermentation.

Oenological properties and applications
The 71B strain is a rapid starter with a constant and complete fermentation between 15° and 30°C (59° and 86°F) that has the ability to metabolize high amounts (20% to 40%) of malic acid. In addition to producing rounder, smoother, more aromatic wines that tend to mature quickly, it does not extract a great deal of phenols from the must so the maturation time is further decreased.
The 71B is used primarily by professional winemakers for young wines such as vin nouveau and has been found to be very suitable for blush and residual sugar whites. For grapes in regions naturally high in acid, the partial metabolism of malic acid helps soften the wine. The 71B also has the ability to produce significant esters and higher alcohols, making it an excellent choice for fermenting concentrates.
An excellent choice for blush & residual sugar whites, nouveau & young red wines. Also a good choice for late harvest wines.
The EC-1118 strain was isolated, studied and selected from Champagne fermentations. Due to its competitive factor and ability to ferment equally well over a wide temperature range, the EC-1118 is one of the most widely used yeasts in the world.

Oenological properties and applications
The fermentation characteristics of the EC-1118 — extremely low production of foam, volatile acid and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) — make this strain an excellent choice. This strain ferments well over a very wide temperature range, from 10° to 30°C (50° to 86°F) and demonstrates high osmotic and alcohol tolerance. Good flocculation with compact lees and a relatively neutral flavor and aroma contribution are also properties of the EC-1118.
The EC-1118 strain is recommended for all types of wines, including sparkling, and late harvest wines and cider. It may also be used to restart stuck fermentations.
An excellent choice for champagnes and late harvest wines. Also a very good choice for dry whites.ICV D-47
This strain was isolated from grapes grown in the Côtes-du-Rhône region of France by Dr. Dominique Delteil, head of the Microbiology Department, Institut coopératif du vin (ICV), in Montpellier. ICV D-47 strain was selected from 450 isolates collected between 1986 and 1990.

Oenological properties and applications
The ICV D-47 is a low-foaming quick fermenter that settles well, forming a compact lees at the end of fermentation. This strain tolerates fermentation temperatures ranging from 15° to 20°C (59° to 68°F) and enhances mouthfeel due to complex carbohydrates. Malolactic fermentation proceeds well in wine made with ICV D-47.
Recommended for making wines from white varieties such as Chardonnay and rosé wines. An excellent choice for producing mead, however be sure to supplement with yeast nutrients, especially usable nitrogen.
An excellent choice for dry whites, blush wines and residual sugar wines.

Selected by the Institut coopératif du vin in Montpellier among numerous killer strains isolated and studied by Pierre Barre at INRA, the K1V-1116 strain was the first competitive factor yeast to go into commercial production and has become one of the most widely used active dried wine yeasts in the world.

Oenological properties and applications
The K1V-1116 strain is a rapid starter with a constant and complete fermentation between 10° and 35°C (50° and 95°F), capable of surviving a number of difficult conditions, such as low nutrient musts and high levels of sulfur dioxide (SO2) or sugar. Wines fermented with the K1V-1116 have very low volatile acidity, hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and foam production.
The K1V-1116 strain tends to express the freshness of white grape varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Seyval. The natural fresh fruit aromas are retained longer than with other standard yeast strains. Fruit wines and wines made from concentrates poor in nutrient balance benefit from the capacity of K1V-1116 to adapt to difficult fermentation conditions. Restarts stuck fermentations.
Highly recommended for dry whites, aged reds, and late harvest wines.

The Bourgovin RC 212 strain was selected from fermentations produced in the Burgundy region by the Bureau interprofessionnel des vins de Bourgogne (BIVB). It was selected for its ability to ferment a traditional heavier-style Burgundian Pinot Noir.

Oenological properties and applications
The RC 212 is a low-foaming moderate-speed fermenter with an optimum fermentation temperature ranging from 20° to 30°C (68° to 86°F). A very low producer of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and sulfur dioxide (SO2), the RC 212 shows good alcohol tolerance to 16%.
The RC 212 is recommended for red varieties where full extraction is desired. Lighter red varieties also benefit from the improved extraction while color stability is maintained throughout fermentation and aging. Aromas of ripe berry and fruit are emphasized while respecting pepper and spicy notes.
An excellent choice for both young & aged red wines.

An excellent choice for wine styles like Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Chardonel and Gewurztraminer. Low nutrient and oxygen requirements, and it has been known to ferment juice at low temperatures (59 degrees F) to dryness. An excellent thoil converter making it a complementary yeast for developing varietal Sauvignon Blanc passion fruit character. It also produces large amounts of the enzyme beta-glucosidase during growth which allows for the release of bound terpenes in aromatic varieties. 

Saturday, September 30, 2017

2017 Merlot

This year I have a photo of the very plain and today, very busy grape business, California Wine Grapes on Fort Street in Detroit. They are very busy for 4-6 weeks a year. Not sure what they do the rest of the year.

They have two large refrigerated rooms with wine grapes in them. They one large grape crusher where they crush grapes for customers. The also have a backroom where they ferment wine in barrels and 45 L demijohns. Not sure who that wine is for.

When I got, I walk thru the coolers tasting the candidates. The best tasting grape I found was this Merlot

2017 Merlot Recipe

108 lb Merlot grapes (Colavita, Stockton CA)
4 g pectic enzyme
11 g yeast energizer
Premier Red yeast from Red Star

2017 Zinfandel

As is my tradition, I tasted all the grapes at the place and I choose the Zinfandel (Big Brass)

Zinfandel Recipe

108 lb Zinfandel grapes (DePalma, Ripon CA)
 32 oz cherry juice concentrate (Montmorency Tart from King Orchard, Central Lake MI)
8 oz cranberry juice concentrate
4 g pectic enzyme
11 g yeast energizer
Premier Red yeast from Red Star

The grapes were very sweet at 28.4 Brix, but the cherry concentrate made it sweeter, and the cranberry less so. Still I am at 29.4 Brix which is 15.7% alcohol. Probably stronger than I want.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

2017 Moscato

Muscato Wine Recipe

108 lb Moscato wine grapes (Top Brass. Earlimart, California)
471 g sugar
7.5 g pectic enzyme
12 g yeast energizer
1 Pack Red Star Premier Classique (formerly Montrachet)

The juice had a density of 1.09 g/ml, and 21 Brix by refractive index which corresponds to 11% alcohol. The density implies the Brix is actually 23. The average of 22 Brix would give 10.5 which is too low. 

The grapes were very juicy and I am estimating 8 gallons of juice. That is 2 5/8 gallons per 36 lb crate. Juicy grapes are often less sweet. Calculations show that 660 g of sugar should bring this to 12.6% alcohol. I heated this amount of sugar in a quart of juice in the microwave, and was able to dissolve almost all the sugar without too much heat. 

The fermentation went vigorously, and had a creamy top by the next morning.