First Batch - Printable Version

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- ncd - 09-03-2005 11:07 AM

Last year I planted 50 vines, 25 cap sav (clone 6) and 25 tannat. While I really wasn't expcting much of a yield this year the vines are heavy with large, deep purple fruit. So thinking about moving my wine making up a year.. Interested in thoughts about fermenting heavy bordeaux's in oak, or should I go the plastic or stainless steel route. I do have a new 8 gal french oak barrel that my wife purchased as a brithday gift; should I ferment in there and age in a glass carboy? Nick

- hotwine - 09-03-2005 08:19 PM

Welcome to the board, Nick.

Red wine is normally fermented in vats that do not impart any flavorings to the fruit; concrete, stone, glass, stainless steel are all examples of materials used as primary fermenters. The must is then racked off into oak barrels for aging, then bottled. It's all done in an orderly, scientific process that begins with measurements of the sugar content of the grapes to determine harvest time and includes frequent measurements of specific gravity of the must to determine alcohol content, and therefore the progress of fermentation. Control of aging in oak and bottle is based on the winemaker's experience. (That's a very over-simplified description of the process, by the way.)

Suggest you get a home winemaking kit from a retailer associated with BrewKing (see; their Website shows locations of retailers. If your hometown is Purcellville VA, you'll see several retailers listed in your state where you can obtain winemaking supplies and instruction materials.

[This message has been edited by hotwine (edited 09-03-2005).]

- Snakum - 09-21-2005 12:27 AM

I used inexpensive plastic containers for the initial fermentation, then racked to glass for continued fermentation, and will rack to glass at least once more for clarifying. Rather than using oak barrels, most DIY winemakers just use oak chips during the initial fermentation.

I'd say ... save your money on the barrels until you have the process down pat, and have enough grapes for a much bigger batch. Most people never get big enough to buy barrels. They're pricey. [img][/img]


[This message has been edited by Snakum (edited 09-20-2005).]