Wine Making: Loquat (Japanese Plum) Zinfandel Recipe

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One of my favorite fruits to eat straight off the tree’s as a kid was Loquats (aka Japanese Plums). I used it as inspiration in this wine blend.

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This wine has an amazingly fragrant aroma a beautiful color. It already taste sooo good, but needs a little more aging¬† because it’s really strong (16% Alc Vol).

Loquat Zinfandel Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4lbs Loquats (aka Japanese Plums)
  • 1/2 Can (23 fl oz) Zinfandel Blush Concentrate
  • 50 fl oz Apple Juice
  • 54 fl oz Water
  • 24 oz Sugar (3 cups)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Pectic Enzyme
  • 1 Teaspoon Acid Blend
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Grape Tannin
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Super Nutrient
  • 1 Camden Tablet
  • 1 Packet of Yeast

Directions:

  • Pit and Mash Loquats
  • Create a Simple Syrup with the water and sugar
  • Add all ingredients (except Yeast) to Primary Fermenter and cover
  • Let sit for 24 hrs
  • Sprinkle Yeast on Ingredients and cover
  • Let sit for 7 days
  • Transfer to Secondary Fermenter
  • Rack as needed until clear
  • Age at least 4 months
  • Back sweeten as desired

Wine Making: How to Make a Naturally Red Watermelon Wine

Since it’s watermelon season, I decided to make Watermelon Wine. After researching recipes, I realized it’s one of the hardest fruit wines to make due to how quickly it spoils. Additionally, it doesn’t maintain it’s red color and changes to a yellow/orange color.

My Experience
For some reason, I thought my experience would be different if I juiced my watermelon first. Ahhh, no…my wine didn’t spoil, but it still turned yellow/orange. Who wants to drink a yellow/orange Watermelon Wine? I don’t!!! It’s just not right for my mental :?.

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The Solution
Most winemakers add red food coloring to get it back to red. However, I figured there has got to be a way to keep it red. So, Apples came to mind 🍎. When you cut a apple, it begins to change brown due to oxidation. However, you can stop it by adding an acidic juice (i.e., Lemon, or Lime juice). So, I added fresh lime juice to my next batch.

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After fermenting in my primary, I noticed the juice was still red! Then I transferred it to my secondary, and watched as the days and weeks passed….still red!

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So, if you are looking to make Watermelon Wine, add some lime juice to keep it’s natural color.

Wine Making Class: Final Class – Bottling

Our last wine making class was absolutely amazing!

I brought in the Brie Toast with Chardonnay Soaked Raisin (Recipe) and received tons of compliments.

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Now for the fun…
Throughout our previous classes, we made different types of wine (Riesling, Malbec, Raspberry Mead, and a Blend with Table Grapes).

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So, now it’s time for bottling!

Step 1: Sanitize Bottles and Corks

We used the following sanitizing rack. Simply add your sanitizer to the top with your corks. Then you can insert each bottle over the white tip and push. It will shoot sanitizer into the bottle. Once done, you sit the bottle on the rack go dry.
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Step 2: Siphon Wine into Bottles

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Step 3: Cork Bottles

We used the following corker model, which inserted the corks easy.
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Step 4 & 5: Label and Heat Seal Wrap

We used the following equipment to seal the pvc wrap on the bottle.

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The final product:
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After bottling our batches of wine, we had Graduation. So, it’s official! I now have my Doctorate of Winemaking ūüėČ
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Wine Making: Strawberry Breeze Riesling

Welch's Frozen Strawberry Breeze Juice

I decided to make a light and fruity summer wine, so I choose to us the Welch’s Strawberry Breeze frozen concentrate along with the remaining Riesling Concentrate I had left over from the Peach Riesling I started in February.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Can (23 fl oz) – Alexander Reisling Grape Concentrate
  • 2 Can (11.5 oz) – Welch’s Strawberry Breeze¬†(Save 1 Can for sweetening before bottling)
  • 93 fl oz – Water
  • 16 oz – Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp – Super Ferment
  • 1 tsp – Acid Blend
  • 1/4 tsp Tannin
  • 1/2 pkg – Yeast ( I used Red Star Pasteur Champagne)

Directions:

  • Add the Reisling Grape & Strawberry Breeze Concentrate to your primary fermentor and stir.
  • Create a simple syrup mixture with the water and sugar (Heat the water on the stove and stir in sugar until completely dissolved). Set the simple syrup mixture aside for cooling until room temperature.
  • Mix all remaining ingredients except Yeast
  • Sprinkle yeast and leave in primary fermentor for 3 to 5 days
  • Transfer to secondary fermentor for the remaining fermenting and bulk aging
  • Rack as needed (i.e., transfer wine off yeast and other sediment to another fermentor)

This batch should be ready just in time for summer…looking forward to it!
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Wine Making Class: Week 1 – Wine Kits, Hydrometer, & Acid Titration Test

My local brewing & wine supply store (DeFalco’s) has a wine making class once a year in the¬†spring, so I decided to take the class and perfect my craft!

We meet every Tuesday from 7-9:30pm for 6 weeks and the class was only $79 (includes material).

Week 1

After introductions, our instructor (DeFalco’s Owner, Scott Birdwell) gave us a high-level overview of what we would be doing and learning in the classes

DeFalcos Owner Scott Birdwell

For our first class, we made a Red & White wine kit from Winexpert. This was new for me, since I’ve never made a wine kit before and really wanted to know what came in it and the value of the kits before I spent money.

Wine Kits

The red wine was a Chilean Malbec Shirez, which came with:

  • Concentrated Grape Juice
  • Grape Skins
  • Yeast
  • Bentonite
  • Metabisulphite
  • Sorbate
  • Fining Agent
  • Mesh Straining Bag
  • Oak Powder
  • Oak Cubes

WE Selection Chilean Malbec Shiraz

The white wine was a Washington Riesling, which came with everything listed above except grape skins. This kit had a F-pack (Sweetening Juice) instead.

WE Washington Riesling

The Winexpert has a variety of kit types and grape varietal ranging from $60-$245. Each kit makes approximately 30 bottles of wine, which averages out to about $5 per bottle of wine.

Hydrometer & Acid Titration Test

In the week 1 class we also learned the proper methods of using a hydrometer, conducting an acid titration test.

The Hydrometer is used to check the Specific Gravity (SG) in you ingredients before, during and at the end of fermentation in order to calculate the wines alcohol content.

The Acid Tritration Test is used to check the acid levels in your ingredients. This would allow for you to add more acid to avoid a flat wine or to reduce the acid and avoid a really tart/sour wine.

Week 1 Closing

All in all Week 1 was great! I learned a lot, met some really awesome people, and sampled a lot of wine. I’m really looking forward to Week 2 and sharing my experience with you all…until next time!

Link to Week 2

Wine Making: Cranberry Pomegranate Zinfandel

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Cranberry Pomegranate Zinfandel

Ingredients:

  • Can (23 fl oz) – Alexander Zinfandel Blush¬†Grape Concentrate
  • 1 Bottle¬†(60 fl oz) –¬†Ocean Spray Cranberry Pomegranate 100% Juice
  • 45 fl oz – Water
  • 16 oz – Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp – Super Ferment
  • 1 tsp – Acid Blend
  • 1/4 tsp Tannin
  • 1 Campden Tablet (Crushed)
  • 1/2 pkg – Yeast ( I used Red Star Pasteur Champagne)

Directions:

  • Add the Zinfandel Blush¬†Grape Concentrate¬†to your primary fermentor and stir.
  • Create a simple syrup mixture with the water and sugar (Heat the water on the stove and stir in sugar until completely dissolved). Set the simple syrup mixture aside for cooling until room temperature.
  • Add all remaining ingredients except Yeast to the primary fermentor. Cover and let ingredients sit for 24hrs
  • Sprinkle yeast and leave in primary fermentor for 3 to 5 days
  • Transfer to secondary fermentor for the remaining fermenting and bulk aging
  • Rack as needed (i.e., transfer wine off yeast and other sediment to another fermentor)

So, this is is a interesting combo for wine, however they both have great health benefits!

Below are a list of benefits:

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I can’t wait for this one to be ready…I’m going to give it 2-3 months!

Wine Making: Bottling & Labeling

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My first batch of wine was complete just in time for my mom’s 60th Birthday Bash!!!

After 2 months, my Country Wine was finally ready for bottling (Link to Recipe).

Pre-Bottling Prep & Sweetening:

  • I added 1/2 tsp of stabilizer to ensure fermentation was complete 24 hrs before adding sugar. Otherwise, your wine could begin fermenting again.
  • I then added 1 cup of sugar (simple syrup mixture for easy dissolving)

Bottling:

I cleaned and sanitized my bottles and cap corks with sodium metabisulfite before siphoning the wine.

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After siphoning the wine into each bottle and adding the cap cork it was time to add the PVC shrink caps

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I used the hair dryer method, which took forever….I will be using the boiling water method next time!

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Labeling:

I really wanted to find a label that was water proof and reusable. After doing some research I found the Avery 22827 label, which met all my criteria. Plus the Avery website has a Design & Print Online tool, which¬†I used to make my Mom’s 60th Birthday Bash labels.

As you can see in the initial pictures, the labels are submerged in ice and water and the labels are not smearing or coming off the bottles (This label is a Winner!!!).

Ultimately, the bottling & labeling went extremely well for this to be my first batch!

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One of my next post will be a Wine Review on my own wine : )

Wine Making: Peach Reisling

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With this batch of wine I’m making Peach Reisling ūüėć

Peach Reisling Recipe:

  • 1 Can (23 fl oz) – Alexander Reisling Grape Concentrate
  • 2 Can (11.5 oz) – Welch’s White Grape Peach Concentrate (Save 1 Can for sweetening before bottling)
  • 93 fl oz – Water
  • 16 oz – Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp – Super Ferment
  • 1 tsp – Acid Blend
  • 1/4 tsp Tannin
  • 1 Campden Tablet (Crushed)
  • 1/2 pkg – Yeast ( I used Red Star Pasteur Champagne)

Directions:

  • Add the Reisling Grape & White Grape Peach Grape Concentrate to your primary fermentor and stir.
  • Create a simple syrup mixture with the water and sugar (Heat the water on the stove and stir in sugar until completely dissolved). Set the simple syrup mixture aside for cooling until room temperature.
  • Add all remaining ingredients except Yeast to the primary fermentor. Cover and let ingredients sit for 24hrs
  • Sprinkle yeast and leave in primary fermentor for 3 to 5 days
  • Transfer to secondary fermentor for the remaining fermenting and bulk aging
  • Rack as needed (i.e., transfer wine off yeast and other sediment to another fermentor)

So now we wait….Here’s my three batches in the works:

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From Left to Right:

Blueberry Port, Ari’s Country Wine & Peach Reisling

Wine Making: Blueberry Port

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When I purchased my wine making kit, I also received the Winemaker’s recipe handbook by Raymond Massaccesi. One recipe stood out to my husband immediately, the Blueberry Port. Both of us are Port fanatics, so it was only right to make it.

Blueberry Port Recipe:

  • 6 lbs Blueberries
  • 1/2 pt Red grape concentrate (for later at bottling)
  • 1/2 cup LT Dry Malt
  • 4 pts Water
  • 1 3/4 lbs Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Acid blend
  • 1/2 tsp Pectic Enzyme
  • 1/2 Energizer
  • 1 Campden tablet, crushed
  • 1 pkg Sherry or Port Yeast ( I used the Lalvin EC-118)

Directions:

Now, this is the first time I have used fresh fruit. The directions tell you to use a nylon straining bag to mash and strain out the juice into the primary fermentor. I found this to be a little weird and messy, so I placed the remaining berries on the stove with water and extracted the juice by boiling them. Then I dissolved my sugar in the hot berry juice.

Once the juice cooled to room temperature, I poured the juice and berries into the nylon straining bag over my primary fermentor (This allows you to strain all your juice into the primary fermentor and leave the blueberry pulp in the bag). I then removed the straining bag and stirred  all my ingredients EXCEPT yeast and added back my tied nylon straining bag of blueberry pulp. After the ingredients set in the primary covered for 24 hours, I added the package of yeast.

A week later, this is what I have
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Even with the nylon straining bag, some of the pulp makes it into the primary fermentor. So, I siphoned it through a strainer and then transferred it to my secondary.

I’ll rack in 4 weeks, and again in 2 months. Then it’s time for bottling, when I will add 1/2 tsp Stabilizer and 1/2 pint Red Grape Concentrate.

 Alcohol Content: 

I used my hydrometer to check my S.G., which was 1.110 when I started. When I transferred from my primary to secondary it was already at 1.000 S.G., that is approximately, 14.9% alcohol volume.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m use to my Port’s ranging from 18%-20%, so I’m not too sure this recipe could be considered a Port. Normally, Port’s are fortified with a distilled alcohol containing between 30-60%, but this recipe used a Lt Dry Malt.

Nevertheless, I’m sure the recipe will make for a great wine!

Next in the Pipeline:

My next wine will be a white wine, I’m thinking muscadines grape, peach, and apple.

Wine Making: Getting Started Making My First Batch of Wine

Ari's Country Wine

After ton’s of research via various blogs and Youtube videos, I finally decided to make make my own wine at home and join the multitude of home wine makers.

I purchased a 1 Gallon Kit, from my local Home Wine & Beer supply store in Houston (DeFalco’s), which included the following:

  • Primary Fermenter (2 Gallon Bucket w/lid)
  • Secondary Fermenter (1 Gallon Glass Carboy)
  • 4″ Siphon Hose
  • Shutoff Clamp
  • Hydrometer
  • 3 Pc Airlock and Stopper
  • Sanitizer and campden tablets
  • Wine Yeast, yeast nutrient,¬†pectic enzyme, acid blend, and grape tannin
  • Stringing Bag
  • 5 corks
  • Handcraft Winemaking Guide

I also purchased an additional Secondary Fermenter & Airlock, so that I could start another batch of wine once I moved the 1st from the primary fermenter.

Ari’s Country Wine Recipe

  • 50.7 fl. oz – 100% Apple Juice (I used Martinelli’s Gold Medal)
  • 32 fl. oz – 100% Cherry Juice (I used R.W. Knudsen)
  • 33.8 fl. oz – 100% Mango Juice (I used Ceres)
  • 12 fl. oz – Spring Water
  • 3 cups 5 oz – Sugar (Heated on stove with the water listed above)
  • 1 tsp – Acid Blend
  • 1/4 tsp – Grape Tannin
  • 1 Campden Tablet
  • 1 tsp – Super Ferment
  • 1 pkg – Red Star Pasteur Champagne Yeast

I mixed all my ingredients (excluding the the package of yeast) into my primary fermenter and let it sit for 24 hrs. Then it was time to add the yeast.

So, now I’m 2 week’s into the process and have transitioned my must from the primary to the secondary fermenter. The wine smells so good!!! I can’t wait until it’s ready to drink, but fine wine takes time.

Since my primary is free, I already started my next batch, which is a Blueberry Port.

Update: Bottling & Labeling My First Batch of Wine