Sunday, May 13, 2012

Making Pinot Noir

We recently purchased Selection Estate Series Sonoma Valley Pinot Noir. This will be the second time we've brewed this and am excited to brew this again. This kit comes from Winexpert, the largest manufacturer of award winning wine making products. Brewing these kits are about the easiest brewing I've experienced. But they produce some of the best tasting wine I've had. Here is the setp by step process.

Pinot Noir Kit

Contents of the kit include...

Huge Bag 'O Grape Juice

  • Instuctions
  • Juice
  • Bentonite
  • Metabisulfate
  • Sorbate
  • Isinglass
  • Yeast
  • Oak Powder - I do not use this ingredient. I filter my wine and it clogs up the filter and makes it nearly impossible for the wine to flow through because the powder is too fine. I use my own oak stick or shavings.
Kit Contents

First Step is to clean and sanitize all all of your equipment. StarSan is my preferred sanitizer because it's no-rinse. I don't have to sanitized then rinse all of it out thoroughly be for I brew.

I added a half gallon of spring water to my fermenter to stir in the bentonite. I'm using a oak stick to stir. I also let the oak stick stay in the wine throughout the entire fermentation process.

Note: Wood harbors bacteria and other microbes that you don't want in your wine. Steam any  wood for 15 minutes before  using it in your brews. I also soak it in sanitizer before but that's totally unnecessary if you steam it.

After this I pour in the grape juice. Then I will top off the fermenter with spring water to get the desired volume or initial gravity. Stir Thoroughly to mix all liquid.

When I have my desired volume, I get a wine thief and hydrometer to get the original gravity reading. This wine in particular had a reading of 1.092 OG. A full fermentation should get this wine to around 12% ABV.

Hydrometer In Wine Thief

Now we pitch the yeast. These kits include a packet of dry yeast or you could substitue with liduid wine yeast. The dry yeast suits me just fine for now. This means I don't have to make starters or aerate more than shaking because dry yeast is designed for oxygen deprived musts. Your juice should be around 70 to 75 degrees fahrenheit for fermentation. Temperature is one of the most important factors for good fermentation.

Note: Yeast manufacturers suggest that you re-hydrate the yeast before pitching. I have never done this and still had excellent results. Also, the instructions of these kits to sprinkle contents in and it will activate itself.

Now I'm ready to place the lid and airlock on and wait for primary fermentation to end. I will periodically check it for signs of fermentation and get sample readings with the hydrometer after the next five days. The hydrometer should read around 1.002. 

Fermenting Wine

I will update this post in the next several days to finish the entire process. Stay tuned...