Jeff and I bottled 29 bottles of our Sauvignon Blanc a few weeks ago. It was an interesting process. The kit we bought came with a neat siphon gadget that has a plunger in the bottom. We figured that we'd put these in the bottles, push down to start the flow of wine, and then let up when the bottle was full. Bad idea. They filled up about half way before the siphon lost its suck and the wine stopped flowing. Then we had to restart the siphon, which can be a messy production consisting of water getting all over the floor. Finally we decided to use the siphon hose straight up without the auto-siphon at the end. Until I realized that the flow valve might be a good idea to use we made quite a mess as wine spilled all over the floor at a high flow rate while I was going in between bottles.
The wine has been sitting for almost a month, and we have opened and drank a few bottles already. I'm hoping that the mildly strong bouquet will go away with time, I think it probably comes with the sulfites that are added right before bottling the wine. Honestly, I would like to do without sulfites entirely but I am not sure how else to sterilize the wine. I know that some people do without, but I would be worried about wild yeasts giving our wine a vinegar taste. The wine kit also recommends adding the sulfites if you want to let the wine age for more than six months in bottles. Clearly, I'd like to let my wine age, so I added it just to make sure it won't go bad.
We'll try some before Thanksgiving to make sure it tastes good enough to bring to Jeff's for the holiday. If it's good by then, it'll also be good enough to give as holiday gifts in December. I just need to print out some labels to put on the bottles.
Right now our cider wine is settling. We used sparkalloids, which are a mix of some polysaccharides and diatomaceous earth, as far as I can tell on my Google searches. It takes longer to clear than isinglass, but I'm really happy not to be putting any fish bladder in my wine! For our next batch, Jeff and I will have to find a wine kit that doesn't have any pre-packed inside the box. (The first wine kit we purchased came with the grape juice as well as all the packets of sterilizers and fining agents.)