Over the years as I’ve expanded my experimentation and varieties of winemaking, I’ve also fine tuned the finishing process. For me. When I start new batches of wine, during the fermentation process – or sometimes I’ll wait until the bulk aging time frame – I’ll order bottles, corks, shrink caps and make sure I have plenty of labels handy. I won’t design the labels until after the wine is finished and bottled – because I make a specific label for each batch of wine.
Saturday I worked on both the Wild Blueberry Blush and Spanish Tempranillo Labels. Here’s what I came up with:
Once I finish the labels and print them out, I wipe down each bottle to make sure the surface is perfectly clean to apply the labels. Then the fun part begins – I line them all up on the counter:
Put the shrink caps on them:
Then use this ever-so-helpful heat gun to shrink the caps. I used to use just my ordinary blow dryer, but it doesn’t get quite hot enough to do the job in the shortest amount of time as possible. The heat gun makes a world of difference time-wise:
Notice I sneaked in the odd-ball green bottles in that last picture. I didn’t have enough of the cobalt blue ones for the whole batch, so some had to be bottled in green. Next time I’ll plan better!
Time for the Spanish Tempranillo – second verse just like the first… Line them up:
Add the shrink caps:
Here’s a closer look at them ‘finished’:
All done! Meanwhile, three cases of these new bottles were delivered on Friday:
Aren’t they pretty? I’ll be using these for the Black Cherry Pinot Noir that is currently fermenting. When it’s ready to bottle, I’m all set. I think these will be perfect for that wine. Meanwhile, I have some frosted bottles that are awaiting when the Apple Wine is finally ready for bottling. This batch has been taking a lot longer because I want to make sure it’s crystal clear (or as crystal clear as it can be without the use of a filter since the filter I have leaks like a sieve and I don’t want to lose any of the precious nectar. Not to mention that wine all over the floor could technically be considered alcohol abuse.) Looks like both the Apple Wine and the Apple Cinnamon Wine will be ready for bottling within the next couple of weeks sometime in February.
Today I’ll be racking the Apple-Cranberry wine, added a fining agent to it, then set the carboy outside for a few days for what’s called “cold stabilization” since the temperatures will be cold enough. You know, like refrigerator cold. I guess it would be like freezer cold at night. Cold stabilization is a great method for getting the wine to clear completely, as well as kill off any residual yeast so it won’t accidentally restart fermentation after its been bottled. It is also supposed to removed excess acidic qualities to make the wine even smoother to taste. This should be an interesting experiment! After it’s done with its cold stabilization, I’ll add more fining ingredients and it should be ready to bottle within the next couple of weeks. I better check to see if I have bottles for that wine.
Meanwhile I ordered some really unique wine kits to experiment with – Mango Citrus Symphony, described as “a delightful blend of ripe mango flavors and crisp citrus notes combined with grapefruit, peach, banana and papaya aromas of symphony”. Another intriguing one I bought is White Cranberry Pinot Gris, “a spectacular crystal white color which is the result of a special blend of white cranberry and Pinot Gris. It is somewhat less tart than regular cranberry juice due to an earlier harvest than traditional red cranberries. White Cranberry Pinot Gris bursts with sweetness”. I have four other wine kits in addition to these to start, too, but I think I’ll start with these two first.
Oh, and for those that are wondering – both the Spanish Tempranillo and the Wild Blueberry Blush turned out excellent. Here are the descriptions I put on the bottles and on my website:
Spanish Tempranillo: The quintessential red wine grape from Spain, Tempranillo (temp-rah-NEE-yo), the little early one, adapts well to varied growing conditions. Princess Nagger Tempranillo is a rich, bold blend of fruit, earth and structure, rounded out by a deliciously soft mouthfeel. We think of this Tempranillo as something like Pinot Noir in blue jeans. This delicious wine captures the sometimes elusive character of Tempranillo – luscious red cherry fruit wrapped around an earthy, intense center. The finish is long and layered with a hint of coffee and chocolate and a pinch of spice. This distinctive wine from the heartland of Spain is unlike any of the top three red varietals so utterly available from all over the world.
Wild Blueberry Blush: A light red, medium bodied wine, this smooth blush is enhanced by a burst of wild blueberry flavors, producing a refreshing beverage to suit any occasion. Our Wild Blueberry Blush pleases the palate with rich but soft notes of vanilla and fresh fruit. Made with 100% wild blueberries, this light dinner wine has something for everyone with a hint of sweetness and a lingering, dry finish. Princess Nagger Wild Blueberry Blush is light and refreshing for spring and summer, yet full bodied enough to accompany pork, turkey, chicken and pasta dinners.
It’s always nice when the wine turns out excellent vs. turning it into vinegar. Today I’ll also be making wine jelly out of both of these newest additions – that way those that are unable or choose not to partake in alcoholic imbibement can still enjoy the delicious flavors of these wines in jelly format.