First time wine making

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edenwalker
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First time wine making

Post by edenwalker » Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:31 pm

Hi all,

I’m a first time wine maker...over the summer I decided to pick a load of elderberries from the tree at the end of my garden, and turn them into wine.
All has been going well and the wine is now very clear and sat been sat in demijohns for the past 4-5 months.
I’ve done some readings with a hydrometer and they haven’t changed in a long time, so I’m assuming the fermentation finished long ago.
Upon tasting the wine, I can tell it is very young and not particularly smooth, but the problem is that the wine is quite dry, so not the most pleasant to drink so far.
Should I counteract the dryness by stabilising, then adding sugar? I’ve heard of various methods, but just looking for advice.

Also, I made some apple wine at a similar time. I used 100% cooking apples given to me by a friend from their garden.
It’s very clear and seemingly ready to be bottled, but the problem is that it is very acidic tasting; unsurprisingly, like biting into a raw cooking apple.
Is the solution to stabilise and add sugar, to cover the acidity? I have read of other methods such as trying to precipitate the acidity using low temperatures—I could do this by putting it in the shed, outdoor temperatures are currently low. Or, I have heard of other things like adding bicarbonate of soda, to raise the PH.

Thanks

Eden

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MarkA
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Re: First time wine making

Post by MarkA » Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:39 pm

I would personally leave it to mature in the demijohn to see what it turns in to before making any adjustments. I usually leave elderberry wine for at least a year, often two, in which time it mellows out and loses some of its tannin and becomes smoother.

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MarkA
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Re: First time wine making

Post by MarkA » Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:46 pm

As for the apple, if I have a wine that's too acidic I either add more sugar during fermentation (can be risky as you can add too much) or add some non-fermentable wine sweetener at bottling time.

Welcome to Jim's btw!

oldbloke
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Re: First time wine making

Post by oldbloke » Sat Jan 20, 2018 1:25 am

Straight elderberry wants a good bit of aging. Personally I like dry. Rack it, leave it stoppered up tight for 6 months, have another taste. You might be OK with it then. If not, I wouldn't use sugar - even at that time extreme, there's too much risk of just starting more fermentation. Try something like Splenda. OR blend it with a medium or even a sweet wine from a shop.

Crastney
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Re: First time wine making

Post by Crastney » Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:39 pm

you could blend the two together... I have elderberry cider which isn't terrible.
elderberry wine on it's own is definitely going to be high tannin, and as others say, will mellow over a couple of years.
if you've got time, and space, you could mix with a sweet wine, and fortify with brandy, and leave for another several years, to make an elderberry port.

edenwalker
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Re: First time wine making

Post by edenwalker » Sun Jan 28, 2018 2:39 pm

Thanks for all your replies!

I’m quite keen to keep both wines as homemade as possible, so I’d like to avoid improvements just by mixing it with shop bought wine.
I’ll leave the elderberry wine at least a few more months, and then will see if there are any improvements.

As for the apple wine, I might take a sample and mix with some sweetener to see if it does actually improve the taste at all. Considering making some of it into sparkling wine, just add sugar and bottle using beer bottles?

Thanks

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MarkA
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Re: First time wine making

Post by MarkA » Sun Jan 28, 2018 6:29 pm

edenwalker wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 2:39 pm
As for the apple wine, I might take a sample and mix with some sweetener to see if it does actually improve the taste at all.
It's best to test the sweetener in very small amounts as, depending on the sweetener, a little can go a long way

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