For Wine Making
- Racking your wine (How often??) Read this to solve the dreaded topping up problem!!!
- Sterilizing Bottles
- Pesty Fruit Flies
- Clearing A Wine
- Campden Tablets
- Topping Up Fermenters More on this subject!!
- Acid and Sweetness (a balanced wine)
Here's the facts on this one. A typical fruit wine will only need 3 and mabey 4 rackings during its making. The problem that most folks have, and one that I get asked alot is what do I top up with? here's how to eliminate this problem...
- Dont rack to often, this leads to excessive topping of the fermenting vessels.
- Rack once 7-8 days after start (this is the racking off of the fruit)
- Rack again only after the fermentation has completely finished. 3-4 weeks later
- Rack once more in about 1 1/2 - 2 months.
- If you started with alittle over 5 gallons of must, you should use a half gallon jar or smaller and put extra in it at the first racking. air lock it just like your secondary. place it along side the larger fermenter.
- the second racking will have the most sediment in it, (wine is finished) Rack the wine, degass it and then top with the smaller jar. if you dont empty the smaller jar drink it.(wont be to good though) now let wine sit for 2 months or so.
- rack once more to either the bottling bucket or two another fermenter for further aging. either way thier wont be much settlement and you will usually fill up the recieving vessel. If not add just alittle water.
There Problem is solved. I seldom need to top up with anything other than some extra wine that I had left over. Remember!! Plan things out, and you will never have to dilute your wine with anything... the only topping that you should have to do ever, is at the second racking. and then it wont be much.. remember rack carefully but dont leave alot of good wine in the fermenter, only the settlement.
- Add a teaspoon or alittle less of sodium metabulsipite, Potassium metabulsiphite or 1 campden tablet
- to an empty wine bottle, fill half full of water and disolve the solution. now swish this around the bottle
- and then pour it into the next bottle to be sterilized. Repeat this untill all bottles are clean and steril.
This works, add some wine or some of your fermenting must to a glass, into the glass add some liquid dish washing detergent. When the flies land to get to the wine, they become stuck by the detergent and they die!! Your fermetation area will stay clear of flying fruit flies, guaranteed!!
There are many way in which to clear a wine, I am putting this here because for gerneral clearing I have found a product that works wonders. Its call Claro KC, you may have heard of it. Alot of wine and beer suppliers carry it and it does a miraculous job of clearing a wine. If you have a pectin haze or other, you may need to resort to anouther agent such as bentonite. See procedures page other wise add all your finning as per manufacturers instructions, and then rack off of the settlement when crystal clear. let your wine sit for a few months to let all the finning settle out...(Important)
Campden tablets add sulfur dioxide to your wine. This will help to sterilize it and to also kill off any unwanted wild yeast that may be present on the fruit. Wild yeast will certainly ferment your must for you, but can deliver unknown results and possible bacterial problems. I suggest the use of Campden instead of Potassuim metabusulphite because it has pre-measured doses of sulfur dioxide in it, and 5 tablets will give you 50ppm S02 in your wine must which is a good starting level for sterilization. later additions of S02 can be achieved by adding PM if you want. 1/4 teaspoon of PM equals 5 C. tablets. for S02 addition during rackings, towards the end of fermentation, for aging, or just before bottling I usally add about 1/8 teaspoon of PM. I dont add at every racking, and I keep it to a minimum. no more that 25-30 PPM needs to be in your wine after the initial sterilization. so in a typical fruit wine that ages say 4 months. Add about 40 ppm to sterilize (4 tabs) let wine finish completely and at second racking add only 1/8 tsp P.M. or 2 1/2 c tabs. then dont add anymore till bottling time.. then add 1/8 tsp or 2 tabs... see thats easy!!! to much sulfer in a wine, can be smelled and tasted.. but you do need some to help it keep.. keep it down, 23-30 ppm..
This is a topic of alot of discussion and can pose a problem for alot of wine makers. no one wants to top up with water because it dilutes your wine. If you top up with juice it adds more sugar to the must and thus takes it longer to finish working and it will make more alcohol than previously thought. I suggest, that number one dont rack anymore than you have to, a common mistake is that begginers rack to often, thus needing to top up thier containers more than usual. I usually make extra must and place it in a half gallon or 1/4 gallon glass bottle and use it for topping up. so if you are doing a primary ferment in a plastic bucket start with more must than will be required to fill the secondary, then take the extra and place it in a small glass bottle. Use this to top up with as it will also be fermenting along side the large container and will not add additional sugar to the must. You can also add small amounts of water as this wont hurt, so start with plenty of fruit so that adding water wont really hurt the flavor. Boil and cool the water first. You can also leave your wine say at about 11% Potential alcohol and top up with comparable juice containing sugar. This will lengthen the ferment time but will also add flavor and at the same time bring your alcohol level up to where you want it to be. Lastly, you can top up with some wine of the same kind or close to the same kind. I have done this often, but be carefull as you will be increasing the alcohol content in your wine, and if it gets to high before all the sugar has been consumed by the yeast, the fermentation will stop and you will be left with a sweet wine. and theres nothing you can do, except to find a yeast with high tolerance to alcohol and try to restart it.. then you will really have ALOT of alcohol in your wine.. I would not want that.. thats not what makes a good wine... 12.5% P.A. is perfect for a good table wine.
I often use a combination of all 4 methods mentioned here. and I only rack about 3 times for fruit wines...
A Balanced Wine
Finishing a wine with the proper acid and sugar levels, has alot to due with the way the wine will age, taste, and smell. OH HECK!! In fact it has everything to do with it!! As you will see my biggest quirk is that alot of fruit wines were ending up with a tart taste to them, when they are fermented out dry. I was using to much acid in the wine plain and simple. It hit me like a ton of bricks one day!! I was treating my fruit wines like a grape wine and keeping the acid level at that of a grape wine.. This is TO MUCH acidity for a fruit wine. keep your acid level about .50-.60% tartaric and leave a little residual sugar in your wine, and it will have a wonderful bouquet, and a real nice fruity flavor to it. Let it age in bulk long enough for all suspended particles to settle out, or you will have settlement in your bottles. especially if you fine your wine, You should let it sit for a few months after the initial racking off the finning lees, to give ALL the finning time to settle out completely!!
More to come: under construction....
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