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Vintners Reserve German Mueller Thurgau - step by step through the wine making process

Posted by Ron Goodhew, August 26th, 2012 | 3 Comments

Delicious flavours of apricot, green apple and peach aromas of Riesling, and the early ripening qualities of Silvaner. A great sipping wine, it's a perfect choice for potato chips (there's nothing like a crisp glass of Muller-Thurgau and some Lay’s chips!), but mostly it's a very satisfying wine to quench a thirst in good company.The Müller-Thurgau, or Rivaner, is the second most widely planted grape in Germany and accounts for about a fifth of the total vineyard area. It is named after Professor Müller of Thurgau, Switzerland, who created it in 1882, by crossing Riesling and Gutedel . It yields about 30% more than Riesling and ripens earlier, usually in the latter part of September. While it requires less sun and makes few demands of the climate, it does need more rain than Riesling, as well as soil with good drainage. Its wines are generally light, with a flowery bouquet and less acidity than Riesling. Müller-Thurgau often carries a hint of Muscat in its flavor. The wines are best consumed while fresh and young. Dry versions are increasingly marketed under the synonym Rivaner. It is grown throughout German wine country.

Included with the Vintners Reserve kit - 15 G of Elderflower and flavour pack.

Sweetness: Off-Dry | Body: Medium | Oak Intensity: None

read more- wikipedia...

In the kit is the large bag of concentrate, a small flavour pack, edlerflowers, yeast, bentonite, potassium sorbate, potassium metabisulphite and isinglass.  The first thing to do is sanitize anything that is going to touch the concentrate.  Once the primary is sanitized I add the concentrate (always rinse the bag out with some water and add it) and then add reverse osmosis water and bring the level to 23 litres.  Before I add the bentonite I check the Specific Gravity which is at 1.080.  The instructions say that it should be 1.080 to 1.097.  I add the bentonite and then stir using the wine whip and drill.  To make award winning wine I believe this is the most important step.  Stir Stir Stir - if you don't have a whip multiply these numbers by at least three.  5 minutes, took a brake and then another 5 minutes brings it up to 1.092.  I then sprinkle the dry yeast and elderflower package onto the surface.  Lid on with water in the airlock.  Teperature is 20 C.  Nothing to do for a week.

Day 1 - SP is 1.090, temperature remains at 68F/20C.




Day 5 - SG is 1.020 temperature at 70F/21C.  The instructions say after 5-7 days the SG should be 1.010 or less.  The number of days is a ballpark guess, we always go by the actual SG.  We wait.



 Day 6 - SG is 1.010 temperature is 70F/21C.  Ready to rack - will do it tomorrow.




Day 7 - SG is 1.002 temperture is 70F/21C.  The surface has gone real creamy.  Never be in a hurry when it comes to wine making.  An extra day at this point only helps.  I transferred the wine using my syphon hose into a sanitized carboy.  I left the yeast bed behind.  Here on the right is this new wine as it joins my wine room.  The instructions say that after 10 days to check the SG which should be .996 or less.  The yeast continues to ferment the natural sugars and will create a new yeast bed as well as the surface will soon be covered with bubbles.  I use the surface as an indicater to help me determine progress - as long as there is any activity I wait.  This may take up to 3 weeks maybe more.

Day 8 - lots of CO2 activity - everything loods good.




Day 9 - fermentation continues  The instructions read that after 10 days, check your SG. It should be 0.996 or less.  You can see a lot of surface activity so I just leave the carboy alone.  25 days later the activity slows - fewer bubbles around the rim.  The secret of making award winning wine is time and patience.  If you follow the instructions according to days you will not produce excellent wine.  On day 41 - I have some time to stabalize my wine.  The SG is 0.992.  I add the package of metabisulphite to the carboy, then the sorbate and finally the chitosan.  I then stir these in the carboy stirring up the yeast bed.


Day 41 - I use a degassing system to remove the CO2.  Once most of the gas is removed I then finish degassing with the Vacuvin system.  In this picture the foam is one inch from overflowing through the bung.  I control the vacuum for over 2 hours slowly increasing the vacuum.  Check out .

5 hours on the Gas Getter and the CO2 is almost done, at 9 hours the picture on the right shows how the wine is starting to clear.

Once my wine is degassed and starting to clear I will rack it off the sediment and then add the F-Pack.

Day 42 - Way to determine the final alcohol level - take your starting specific gravity, subtract your finished specific gravity and divide by 7.36. For example: Initial S.G. was 1.092; Final S.G. 0.992; drop in gravity 0.10.  Next, the figure obtained in this way is divided by 7.36. The result obtained is the % of alcohol by volume in the wine, i.e. 10 / 7.36 = 13.6% alcohol.  It is 24 hours since I stabilzed this wine.  I used the vacuvin this morning and it clicked right away, all the CO2 has been removed.  It is clearing nicely, the top 2 inches is clear.


Day 44 - the wine continues clearing - now 2/3rds clear.




Day 50 - the wine has cleared, you can see the yeast bed and yeast dust on the sides in the picture on the left.  Today I sanitized another carboy, added the Flavour-pack to the carboy and then racked the wine off the sediment bed.  In the racking you can see that the wine on the right is a little cloudy so it will need some time to clear.  I like to bulk age so will give this project lots of time.

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Shawn wrote on Feb 7, 2013 12:38 PM:
Thanks for your article (I realize it's half a year old now). In the past I have been guilty of not stirring very well or not at all after adding the water/concentrate into the primary. For the two kits I just started last week I purchased a mixer that goes on the end of a drill. I hope this makes a difference.

My 2 questions are:

Is it ok to stir the wine in the primary each day after fermentation starts? I have been doing so but did not see you mention if this is something you do.

Secondly, it sounds like after 25 days the wine was essentially finished fermenting but you waited until day 41 to degas the wine. Does that mean you reduced the temperature after day 25 from fermentation temperature to "wine storage" temperature?

Ron wrote on Feb 7, 2013 12:52 PM:
Do not stir after the first day in the primary - the bentonite is pulling out things which form a yeast bed which you leave behind when you rack to your carboy.
I stabilized the wine and started degassing on day 41 simply because I always give it extra time. I left the wine in my main wine room which runs at about 19C
Norma wrote on Jun 24, 2017 5:56 AM:

You added the bentonite after the juice pack and water - the directions say to add it first with warm water! Which is the correct or best way to do this? Also the directions don't say about stirring so vigorously- please clarify this for me. Thanks


You can do it either way, but I tend to add it first with warm water and sprinkle gently while stirring so it doesn't clump.  The reason we suggest stirring vigorously is to oxygenate the juice, thus giving the yeast a better chance at starting fermentation.


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