Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bottling the Kiwi Melon Pinot Grigio

Finally, bottling day.  It is an exciting time but also comes with a lot of work.

You should only bottle totally clear wine.   If it is still cloudy or has little bits floating around it in, let it sit for a while longer.  You can filter your wine once its cleared up, but there is a possibility that you will alter the taste when doing so.  I decided not to filter this batch.

Here is a before and after of the wine to show the clarity.
Before, looks like OJ
After, clear as glass

Since the wine was cleared up well, it was time to start the cleaning and sanitizing once again.  I needed to clean, sanitize, and rinse the:
6 gallon fermentor
bottling wand
racking tubing
30 bottles
30 corks
I collect as many wine and even champagne bottles as I can and try to get them off of friends as well, so its like recycling and it saves me money.  If your in a pinch for bottles, hit up big lots, or a dollar store and sometimes you can find sparkling ciders or other stuff to salvage the bottle at a cheap price.  These boxes are from a liquor store and can even form a makeshift cardboard wine cabnet if you lay them on the side.

Cleaning all the bottles takes a bit of time, especially because of the labels.  I think some wineries make their labels huge, colorful, and covered in glue because they can only sell a bottle because the label looks cool...not because it tastes good.

So what I do is fill a sink with soapy water and soak the bottles that still have labels on them.  This gets the cleaning part done at the same time.  I scrape the label off with a plastic scraper or a butter knife.  And to get that film off under the paper, I use rubbing alcohol.
The thread of a normal water sprayer bottle and the bottles of rubbing alcohol are usually the same, so here is my tricked out alcohol sprayer ------------->

 Don't forget to rinse the bottles well after cleaning and after sanitizing.

Once everything was cleaned and rinsed, sanitized and rinsed, I put the carboy up on the table and started siphoning.  I like to siphon back into the fermentor because it has a tap or a spigot that is controllable, my bottle wand fits in the tap, and I can focus on not getting the lees (white gunk) in the bottles.

<--- This pic shows the carboy towards the end of the siphoning.  You want to avoid getting that crap at the bottom in your bottles.  Pay attention when siphoning, because you will suck up the stuff on the bottom when the tube is about an inch above it.

I lost my siphon just after this point, and the wine left in the tube flushed back into the carboy, stirring up all the nasty gunk.  I couldn't siphon any more out because I didn't want that stuff in the bottles.  So I estimate I lost about 1 to 1 1/2 bottles from that.

Its all easy after your done with the siphoning.  Just start filling up bottles and corking them.  These labels came free at the shop where I bought the kit.  Sometimes I just use some tape and a marker.  I wrote the date I bottled on each bottle.

In the end I got 27 bottles.  Well, 26...I drank one bottle while bottling.

This stuff turned out better than I expected.  It is the first fruit flavored wine I have done.  It is rather sweet and you can clearly taste the kiwi and the melon.  It finishes with a slight crispness that you get with Pinot Grigio.  I think the flavor of the pinot will come through more with time.  But this stuff is so tasty it may not last very long.


  1. Nice read man! Do you do this commercially and sell the wine you make? Because you could have a great business with it by the looks of it.

    1. Thanks for reading man! I can't legally sell without having a business with a few permits and inspections (government basically wants to tax you 3 or 4 times, and then again when the bottle is sold). They are pretty expensive but I have been looking into starting a small winery or a micro brew. I just dont have the money right now.

  2. Wow. You looking to start a business venture?

  3. Can I come to your house and drink your booze?