1st Time - Help With Process

Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum

Help Support Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Sep 30, 2007
Reaction score
This is my first time making wine. I have received some guidance from a friend but would like a view of the the over all process.

I am using Regina juice, 2 buckets of Merlot and 2 buckets of Zinfendal (every already balanced) with RC212 yeast.

Hear is what I have done so far:

1) Sanitized everything with Potassium Metabisulphite
2) Created a yeast starter with water at about 104 degrees F (per yeast directions) 4x
3) Poured into buckets, stirred, replaced lid with one side loose in order to vent co2 (per friend who has been making wine for years and local brew shop)

Plan on leaving it in the primary fermentation for 7 days

Now Moving forward is where I have questions:

How often do I stir the contents in primary fermentation?

When do I add Potassium Metabisolphite (juice was already balanced when received)?

How may times do I rack (duration between)?

When do I add oak chips (how do I sanitize them)?

Do I every add any other "chemicals" other then Potassium Metabisolphite?

How or do I stir while in a carboy after racking to release co2 (small opening), also I thought that at this point you do not want air mixed in with your wine, confused?

Last, is there a step by step process out lined for using this type of juice?
Last edited:
Sounds like you are off to a good start. Did you add or are you planning on adding a yeast nutrient during fermentation? I would recommend Fermaid as a nutrient. You add 1/2 to 1 gram per gal when the brix reading is about a third completed (e.g if your initial brix was 24 then you would add the nutrient when the brix is around 16). This will help to reduce the possibility of hydrogen sulphide (rotten egg odor) and volatile acidity (nail polish odor). When fermenting wine in buckets I simply set the lid on top, no need to keep it tight.

As for your questions:
1. I do not recommend stirring the juice during fermentation. For some white wines the lees are stirred to help increase the mouth feel but for red wine I haven’t done it and don’t think it is necessary. Although others may have a different opinion.
2. Potassium metabisulfite is added to the juice prior to fermentation to keep the wild yeast at bay and give the yeast starter a better chance for doing its job. The next time you want to add pot meta is when your fermentation is completed. This means after you transfer the wine to your carboys and notice the bubbles have stopped coming out of the air locks. Then you want to add 50 ppm of pot meta, which is ¼ tsp per 5 gal. (thoroughly mix a ¼ tsp in 2 oz water). So that I don’t have to worry about stirring in the pot meta, I pour the solution into the carboy before I transfer the wine. This way the solution and wine get mixed without having to try to stir the wine.
3. Before I get to racking, if you are going to add oak, add them to the glass carboy when you transfer the wine from the buckets. You could sanitize the oak cubes/chips using a sanitizing solution of pot meta like you used to sanitize your equipment. Put the oak in the carboy before you transfer the wine. Fill the carboys up to the neck. At this point you want to minimize the surface area of the wine to air.
4. After you have transferred the wine to the 5 gal carboy, wait a month then do your first racking. 2 months after the first racking you should be ready for the second racking. After each racking you will want to add a little pot meta (25-30 ppm). This time mix an 1/8 tsp of pot meta to 2 oz water.
5. Unless you are testing for acid you should not have to add any thing else. There are ways to reduce acid or add acid, if needed but your post said the juice was balanced. Do you know what the acid and pH was? Mixing air into your wine is not a good thing, which is why you want to lightly sulphite at each racking. By the way, when you rack the wine, keep your siphon tube close to the bottom of the carboy so you keep any air to a minimum.
6. As for a step by step process, go to www.morebeer.com. Look for their section called More Wine. In that section they have free user guides for both red and white wine making that you can download. They are excellent reference material.

Hope this helps.
The only chemical I'd add is pectic enzyme 1/4tsp (liquid) to 5gal batch. This helps to break down must for sugar and color extraction.

I'd also stir the must daily to ensure the grape skins on top don't dry out and to incorporate a little air into the must. Air is considered your friend in the primary but only the primary. Once it's moved to the secondary with air lock attached it's no longer your friend...hence the air lock, no stirring necessary.

If oak is added to the secondary be sure to sample your wine for oakiness every week or two. Once you detect the oak flavor that is when to remove it IMO. If you over oak, that is how it will remain unless it is blended with another wine to lessen the effect
The only chemical I'd add is pectic enzyme 1/4tsp (liquid) to 5gal batch.

Not trying to annoy you but ............ pectic enzyme is an enzyme so
a natural product not a chemical.

Just trying to be a wiseguy :D

Since I am using grape juice that has already been corrected do I still need to add the enzyme and stir daily.

I am confused about stirring. It was my understanding that when in primary fermentation you want 'things' to settle out of your wine so they do not become transfered over to your secondary fermentation (bucket to carboy). Therefore stirring will not allow settling.

Second part, when I transfer to secondary do I dump from the bucket to barboy through a funnel? Or do I siphon it so I limit the exposure to oxygen. I hear varying opions on this.

Third how do I know to transfer to the secondary fermenter? I have been told 7 days.

Last edited:
I am new at this as well but I will throw my two cents in. Someone please correct me if I am wrong.

I would still add the Pectic Enzyme. I believe it will aid in breaking down the pulp and keeping the wine from having a pectin haze. I would add the yeast nutrient, I have had great luck with that stuff.

I would stir the wine in the primary. Think of it as a transfer to the carboy not a racking. You will be straining out the pulp but not the lees, so settling is not really an issue.

I usually try to scoop out the pulp that is floating with a strainer and then I siphon the must through the strainer.

I usually give it ten days on the pulp but I am sure that seven would be fine as well.

Hope this helps and hope it is correct.
Last edited:
Welercat gave good advice. On the "balance" portion of the question...I believe this is refering to the addition of acid. So the must is in balance if the acid measurements equal a known or prefered position for the palet.
I don't use pectic enzymes with red wine making. I do use it when I am making a fruit wine like raspberry.