I've been reading lately about the importance of must temperature, especially with regard to adding the yeast. That being said, the basement room where I make my wine is usually somewhere between 16.5°c/61°f - 19°c/66°f at this time of year, depending on the weather.
With my last kit (Wine Kitz Traditional Vintage 10 litre Australian Cabernet Sauvignon), I put the concentrate and lukewarm water into the primary and simply added the yeast (Lalvin EC-1118) to it immediately, without regard for the temp as I didn't have a thermometer at the time (initial SG was 1.092). I own a bru-belt but didn't bother using it at first, opting to keep an eye on things first.
It took a few days to get going in earnest, but things progressed well until about 3/4 of the way through and then fermentation slowed down dramatically. I suspected it might be a tad cold at that point, so I stopped in at my winemaking suppier and bought a thermomether to check the temp of the must. It was about 18°c/64°f at that point. At their suggestion, I added my bru-belt and the next day the temp was up to about 20°c/68°f & fermentation was once again active. It proceeded to finish off nicely - final SG was 0.092.
I'm about to start another kit (Cellar Craft Showcase 18 litre Chateau du Pays with grape skin pack) & my question is this:
When starting a kit, is it advisable to prepare the must (in this particular case, bentonite, juice/concentrate, water & grape skins per kit instructions) and then apply the bru-belt and leave it until the temperature stabilizes before adding the yeast? I ask because I've been reading about yeast, methods of rehydrating it & simply sprinkling it on top etc. I now understand that the temperature is very important in terms of getting fermentation started properly. I'd like to make sure the must temp is in the proper 20°c/68°f - 25°c/77°c range before I sprinkle the yeast on top. Is there any harm in combining the ingredients and then waiting a day before adding the yeast?
I searched this site as well as the internet but couldn't find any information on this specifically, though I learned a lot about rehydrating etc...
There's never enough money to do it right - but there's always enough to do it over!