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Wine FrequentlyAsked Q's

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These are common questions that get asked alot!! If you dont find the answer to your questions here, Please feel free to email me.
I can most always help with various situations, as I have been through most of them..

How do I know how much acid is in my wine?                

Where can I find ingredients to make wine?              

Why do I have so much settlement in the bottom of my fermenter?

What is the difference between aerobic and anaerobic fermentation?          

How long does it take to make wine?

When do I bottle my wine?                                                                                

How much wine can I make?

Acidity of wine
Using an acid test kit is the only way to measure acid in a wine. You can use PH papers but its not near as accurate. you can buy kits very inexpensively
and they are well worth the small cost.. Around $10.00 they measure acid in percent tartaric...
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Finding Ingredients to make your wines
You can buy your fruit for fruit wines from the grocery store. or you can buy fruit wine base and Pure'e from wine supply shops. Fresh fruit is better but not
near as easy. there are also pick your own vineyards and orchards, you will need to scout your area to see if you can find some.
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Why doesn't my wine start fermenting ?

Usually the result of to cold a temperature or because you added to many Campden tablets, or added your yeast to soon after adding campden tablets. move wine to a warmer place. 75-80 degrees and see if it starts after a couple of days. If it doesnt start and you think you added to much sulpher dioxide, try transfering the wine back and forth between to containers letting it splash a whole lot, and stirring rapidly in between transfers. This will help to percipitate the S02 out of your wine. If all else fails, wait a few days, stirring really well and then add more yeast and nutrient. You can also separate say 5 gallons of over sulphited must into 1 or 2 gallon batches add more fruit to each of those batches, and adding no campden tabs.
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Settlement in fermenter

This is normal!! depending on the amount of fruit you use, you can get alot of settlement. Dead yeast will also settle out can give you alot of lees on the bottom of your fermenter. NEVER allow your wine to stand to long on settlement. rack off of the lees and 3-4 week increments. or sooner if alot of settlement occurs

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What is difference between aerobic and anaerobic fermentation ?

Arobic means with air, and is o.k. during primary fermentation. (first 5-10 days) Anarobic means without air and is called secondary fermentation. after primary fermentation, always keep the air from your wine after primary fermentation...

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How long does it take to make wine?

This varies depending on fermentation temperatures and type of wine yeast used. But usually fermentation takes around 1-2 months, and then you should let wine age in bulk an additional 2-4 months

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When do I bottle my wine

Bottling time will vary greatly, depending on the fruit used and the fermentation environment. For instance if your wine has developed a haze, you will need to fine it and this could generally take longer, and postpone bottling. I find that with the majority of fruit wines, you can bottle at about 3-4 months after your start your wine.(though additonal aging in bulk will be better.) This time frame is allowing for a cool fermentation of about 65 degrees, and natural clearing of the wine. Remember fermentation is usually completed in the first month or so, then the racking takes place right after fermentation ends. One or two other rackings should be done in 1-2 month intervals to help your wine clear and stabilize. You should observe your wine for around 2 months or so after the last racking to see if any more settlement is forming in the bottom of your carboy. If it is, then rack the wine and let sit for anouther month or two, Until you longer see any settlement at all. This is when it will usually be safe to bottle your wine. You can also filter prior to bottling for added clairity, and protection from additional yeast settlemnt in the bottle. Add 25ppm sodium metabisulphate to wine before bottling. 1/8 tsp.  Settlememt in the bottle is VERY hard to avoid, and it will take meticulous attention in order to avoid it. Filtering with a 1 micron filter or smaller is the best way to avoid settlement. the second best solution is extended aging in bulk.. 6 months to a year....

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How much wine can I make

The amount of wine you can make depends largely on the amount of fruit or grapes you have, and to some extent the size of your fermenting vessels. The amount of fruit to aim for is roughly 3 lbs per gallon of finished wine. I have found that with only 2 lbs of fruit your wine will not have enough flavor. roughly 15-18 lbs of fruit will be needed to produce 5 gallons of wine. Remember when in doubt, use more fruit it will never hurt your wine and will lend a stronger fruit flavor in the end. BE CAREFUL with raspberry's they are very strong flavored and its easy to use to much. keep the fruit to around 2 - 2 1/2 lbs per gallon. Tast the must before you start fermentation, if its got a nice good flavor, then your will should too!! OH!! by the way, federal laws in most states allow a single individual in a single residence to make only 100 gallons of wine per year for personal consumption. 2 persons can make 200 gallons a year.

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Revised: May 19, 1999.