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1st Attempt - Sparkling Sauvignon blanc

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cpedroson

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After a years of home brewing beer and a recent trip to Italy, I wanted to try my hand at Wine to learn more about the process. I had remarkable success with my first batch of Cabernet Sauvignon (Winexpert – Vintner’s Reserve). I decided to try my hand at a white and I am now working on my second batch of wine, a Sauvignon blanc (Winexpert – Vintner’s Reserve). I am interested in sparkling this batch but I have read so many different approaches. That said, I wanted reach out to the wine making community to make sure I am on the right track. My plan is to sparkle without disgorging. I will be using sparkling wine bottles from previously enjoyed bottles of Prosecco with crown caps and wires.

I am in day 10 of secondary fermentation and my SG readings are spot on at 0.996. Based on what I have read, I should degas the wine with the isinglass clarifier BUT without adding the stabilizers (metabisulphite and sorbate). I would then would allow the wine to clarify for 14 days. (Correct?)

Bottling is where the direction and advice gets a little hazy. In some cases, wine makers recommend adding priming sugar (3.25 cups) directly the carboy before bottling and allowing the bottle to sit for 6+ months. Others recommend pitching Champagne yeast with priming sugar (3.25 cups) with 75 mL of bentonite for 2 months.

While I am fine with any approach, I want to avoid any “Bottle-Bombs”. I am currently defaulting to the advice from Tim Vandergrift’s article in WineMakerMag.com (https://winemakermag.com/893-sparkling-wine-from-kits-wine-kits). I would love to get some advice from those with firsthand experience.

Cheers,
Curt
 

salcoco

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you are correct as to clarifying first and not adding any K-meta or sorbate. as a beer maker the next step is similar to carbonating beer. I add 3/4 cup of sugar to the 5 gallons stir vigorously for two minutes to assure sugar is dissolved. bottle in either beer bottles with caps or champagne bottle with plastic and wire. no bentonite or yeast required. yeast will still be in the wine to ferment the added sugar. you can add some yeast but then I would definitely bottle in Champagne bottle to take the additional pressure. carbonation will take about a couple of weeks. some yeast residue will be in the bottom of bottle but just be careful when pouring. have fun
 

cpedroson

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Great. Thank you for confirming those details. Some questions:

  • When Adding sugar, should I use normal baking cane sugar or a priming sugar used for beer (Corn Sugar)?
  • I currently have 6 Gallons, would I still only use 3/4 cup (170g) of sugar?
 
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stickman

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170oz is way too much, maybe you mean 17oz sugar. If you use 17oz sugar you better use high quality Champagne bottles or you may end up with a mess.
 

cpedroson

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170oz is way too much, maybe you mean 17oz sugar. If you use 17oz sugar you better use high quality Champagne bottles or you may end up with a mess.
Sorry, I was trying to convert cups to grams. 3/4 cup would be 6 oz, correct? Is that enough if I plan on using champagne bottles?
 

salcoco

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yes the sugar is right at 6 oz and corn sugar or table sugar is fine.
 

joeswine

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Great Idea, keep us posted I would like to try this also..
 

Redbird1

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Here is an excellent resource for calculating priming sugar additions. It lets you pick which style (or alternatively lets you select the desired carbonation level) and then spits out the answer for 16 different types of fermentables in ounces, grams, and cups!

Edit to add: It is focused on beer, so you'll have to input higher values if you want champagne levels of carbonation.
 

cpedroson

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Here is an excellent resource for calculating priming sugar additions. It lets you pick which style (or alternatively lets you select the desired carbonation level) and then spits out the answer for 16 different types of fermentables in ounces, grams, and cups!

Edit to add: It is focused on beer, so you'll have to input higher values if you want champagne levels of carbonation.
Now, this is interesting... I did some digging and found people using 1/2 or 3/4 a cup (6oz) of priming sugar per 5 gallon batch did not get a the desired fizzy result. In fact, they only achieved a 2-2.5 volumes of CO2, which is suitable for beer. Sparkling wine is typically carbonated to 6 volumes of CO2.

Based on the calculator, I should be adding almost 2.5 cups of Corn Sugar (dextrose) for my 6 gallon to achieve Champagne level carbonation. I may drop to 2 cups to be safe. That said, I have sparkling wine bottles, with plastic crown corks and wire tops ready to go. I do want to achieve the desired level of bubbly, but without exploding any bottles.

2.5 cups is a LOT of sugar. Is the original yeast from the primary fermenter still active/healthy enough to convert 2 (or 2.5) cups of sugar in to the desired volume of C02 per bottle without altering the flavor of the wine?
 

joeswine

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Keep this thread going ,I think I'm going to try this same process.
 

Redbird1

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Now, this is interesting... I did some digging and found people using 1/2 or 3/4 a cup (6oz) of priming sugar per 5 gallon batch did not get a the desired fizzy result. In fact, they only achieved a 2-2.5 volumes of CO2, which is suitable for beer. Sparkling wine is typically carbonated to 6 volumes of CO2.

Based on the calculator, I should be adding almost 2.5 cups of Corn Sugar (dextrose) for my 6 gallon to achieve Champagne level carbonation. I may drop to 2 cups to be safe. That said, I have sparkling wine bottles, with plastic crown corks and wire tops ready to go. I do want to achieve the desired level of bubbly, but without exploding any bottles.

2.5 cups is a LOT of sugar. Is the original yeast from the primary fermenter still active/healthy enough to convert 2 (or 2.5) cups of sugar in to the desired volume of C02 per bottle without altering the flavor of the wine?
I'm not completely sure about the yeast, but I would think most wine yeast would be able to handle it, as long as they weren't stressed during the primary fermentation. I don't know if it will alter the flavor, but I would lean towards not. It essentially sounds like a very late step feeding addition. You'll get a small bump in ABV, but likely not a lot of other changes.

2.5 cups sounds like a lot if you're coming from a beer background, but I've added up to 3 lbs of sugar to a mist kit before. Others have done even more.

As a brewer, you're likely well aware, but that much sugar will likely leave a fair amount of sediment after carbing, so be careful when pouring. If you store them on their sides while aging, you might kick that back up when handling them. It might make sense to very carefully stand them up a week or more before you plan to open them to allow everything to settle back down to the bottom of the bottle.

Take all of this with a grain of salt as I've never done this first hand. I'm just combining my beer and wine experience and applying it to this situation. I've considered doing this myself and am interested in hearing how it turns out.
 

salcoco

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okay I checked my notes from someone who is more a chemist than I am, but some details above are correct. 3/4 cup(146grams) is the usual dose for 5 gallons of home brew beer. this is based on the fact that 15.2 grams/gallon of sugar will produce 1 volume of CO2
a beer bottle will hold 3 volumes,a champagne bottle will hold 7 volumes. so if you choose to use beer bottles that corn sugar of 29.2 grams/gallon produces 1.9 volume of CO2
and 36.8 grams/gallon will produce 2.4 volumes for champagne bottles. boil the corn sugar in 1.5.cups of water for 5 gallons.
store bottle up right for about 30 days at room temp. chill in refrig before opening . yeast residue will be in bottom of bottle.
 

cpedroson

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Salcoco and Redbird1- Thanks for the support and advise. :b

Based on my recipe, the next step is to bottle since has it been clear for a few days. Since I am looking to add priming sugar, should I approach this like beer priming (i.e. siphon into a bucket with sugar, leaving behing the sediment). Or, do I stir in the priming sugar to the carboy and thus mix up the bottom sediment?

I have heard of brewers reusing yeast from the 'cake' which makes lean toward adding priming sugar to the carboy and mixing it in with the sediment so there is enough yeast to carbonate in the bottles. I would most likely use the degasing wand to ensure the sugar is properly mixed in. I am sure I would have more sediment in the end but it would make sure I have enough active yeast to sparkle the wine. Would anyone disagree with this thinking?

If the above is correct, I will most likely proceed as follows tomorrow:
  1. Stir in 2 cups of water into 2 cups of hot water and then cooling to under 80°F in the freezer. I have 6 gallons at the moment, so 2 cups would give me roughly 42.6 grams/gallon which would get me around 3.6 volumes of CO2 and closer to the 6 volumes for sparkling wine. (@Salcoco- Is that correct?).
  2. Once the sugar and sediment is well mixed, I would bottle 30 sparkling wine bottles
  3. I would add plastic corks and add a wire cap using a wand.
  4. Store upright for 3 days before storing for 30+days.


Bottle storage
Since I am not disgorging, I was wondering how to best store the wine. I have a rack that would fit all 30 bottles horizontal but that would cause the yeast sediment to collect on the side. I could store them right side up before I am ready to enjoy but I would probably be looking at days. I am sure I could "shake up the sediment" to get it off the side but I am afraid of the bottle exploding and needless shaking the bottles. If I had my way, I would rather store them on their side in the rack (after first 3 days). Thoughts?
 

Redbird1

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Salcoco and Redbird1- Thanks for the support and advise. :b

Based on my recipe, the next step is to bottle since has it been clear for a few days. Since I am looking to add priming sugar, should I approach this like beer priming (i.e. siphon into a bucket with sugar, leaving behing the sediment). Or, do I stir in the priming sugar to the carboy and thus mix up the bottom sediment?

I have heard of brewers reusing yeast from the 'cake' which makes lean toward adding priming sugar to the carboy and mixing it in with the sediment so there is enough yeast to carbonate in the bottles. I would most likely use the degasing wand to ensure the sugar is properly mixed in. I am sure I would have more sediment in the end but it would make sure I have enough active yeast to sparkle the wine. Would anyone disagree with this thinking?

If the above is correct, I will most likely proceed as follows tomorrow:
  1. Stir in 2 cups of water into 2 cups of hot water and then cooling to under 80°F in the freezer. I have 6 gallons at the moment, so 2 cups would give me roughly 42.6 grams/gallon which would get me around 3.6 volumes of CO2 and closer to the 6 volumes for sparkling wine. (@Salcoco- Is that correct?).
  2. Once the sugar and sediment is well mixed, I would bottle 30 sparkling wine bottles
  3. I would add plastic corks and add a wire cap using a wand.
  4. Store upright for 3 days before storing for 30+days.


Bottle storage
Since I am not disgorging, I was wondering how to best store the wine. I have a rack that would fit all 30 bottles horizontal but that would cause the yeast sediment to collect on the side. I could store them right side up before I am ready to enjoy but I would probably be looking at days. I am sure I could "shake up the sediment" to get it off the side but I am afraid of the bottle exploding and needless shaking the bottles. If I had my way, I would rather store them on their side in the rack (after first 3 days). Thoughts?
I've never had a problem with my beer carbing in the bottle, even with clear beer. My understanding is that you would have to use a very fine filter to remove the yeast from suspension. If it were my batch, I would stick with the regular beer method and siphon it into a bottling bucket that had the cooled priming sugar solution in the bottom and then give it a gentle stir.

I've reused yeast after siphoning off the beer and then "rinsing" the yeast cake that was on the bottom of the primary bucket.

I think saloco said you can store them upright if you have the room. That would definitely be the best way to limit the amount of sediment that might kick back up.
 

salcoco

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my math has 42.6 grams /gallon at 2.8 volumes of CO2. 61 grams per gallon will give you 4 volumes of CO2 in Champagne bottles.
it is best to rack off the sediment and mix sugar is separate bucket stir for at least two minutes. there is yeast still in suspension that will activate the re-fermentation.
Place the bottles up right the sediment will settle to the bottom making it a lot easier to pour when ready. it will take more than three days for the sediment to settle out.
 

cpedroson

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@Redbird1 I took your advice and siphoned in to a bottling bucket with a priming mixture (2 cups water & 2 cups corn sugar). I did use a degasing wand to ensure the priming mixture was well dispersed, probably a bit over kill but I wanted to ensure a thorough mixture.

I ended up with 29 bottles, capped and wired. I'm storing them, upright, in two 15-bottle Korbel Champagne boxes (one on top of the other) in a dark closet (75-78°F). I will open a bottle in about 2 weeks to see how they are progressing.

Thanks all for the advice and suggestions. I will post my final findings.
 

Redbird1

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@Redbird1 I took your advice and siphoned in to a bottling bucket with a priming mixture (2 cups water & 2 cups corn sugar). I did use a degasing wand to ensure the priming mixture was well dispersed, probably a bit over kill but I wanted to ensure a thorough mixture.

I ended up with 29 bottles, capped and wired. I'm storing them, upright, in two 15-bottle Korbel Champagne boxes (one on top of the other) in a dark closet (75-78°F). I will open a bottle in about 2 weeks to see how they are progressing.

Thanks all for the advice and suggestions. I will post my final findings.
Happy to help. I can't wait to hear how it turns out!
 

cpedroson

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my math has 42.6 grams /gallon at 2.8 volumes of CO2. 61 grams per gallon will give you 4 volumes of CO2 in Champagne bottles.
it is best to rack off the sediment and mix sugar is separate bucket stir for at least two minutes. there is yeast still in suspension that will activate the re-fermentation.
Place the bottles up right the sediment will settle to the bottom making it a lot easier to pour when ready. it will take more than three days for the sediment to settle out.
Awesome!! Im really glad to hear racking off the sediment was a good move. Especially since the Winexpert recipe directs to go directly into bottle.

It does sounds like I could have added more priming sugar. However, I feel like 2.8 volumes will be a SAFE since I am not sure how my plastic caps, wires and reused champagne bottles will fair. If this batch goes well, I can look at up my sugar.

I was worried the degasing wand would have a adverse effect. I am glad to hear I should have stirred well.

Thanks!
 

cpedroson

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After two weeks, I opened two bottles and had zero fizz/pressure. The plastic crowns may not provide a tight enough seal.

I stored the rest in boxes and will try another in 2 months.

Fingers crossed.
 

Redbird1

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After two weeks, I opened two bottles and had zero fizz/pressure. The plastic crowns may not provide a tight enough seal.

I stored the rest in boxes and will try another in 2 months.

Fingers crossed.
Was there any sediment in the bottom? That should let you know if the yeast were working or not.

If yes, then your seal wasn't tight enough. Can you remind me what kind of closure you used and what style bottle?
 

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