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skylerl33

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Now that I have a couple wine kits under my belt, I figure it's time for me start understanding the "why" when I'm doing something instead of just blindly following the directions that come with kits. I know that the kits are designed to be as simple and forgiving as possible, so I'm just hoping this post will help me gain a better understanding of what I'm doing and will help with my progression towards hopefully making wines from grapes some day (Hoping for next harvest season next year)
While this forum and so many members have been invaluable so far, there are a couple questions I've written down in my notes while making my kits that I couldn't find specific answers to searching through old posts, so I figured I'd throw em out there and hope to gain some much needed knowledge and opinions here in my own post.

1) Yeast question for kits - Both the kits I have done so far have been reds from WineXpert (gonna do a FWK next), and the directions just have you sprinkle the included yeast packets on top of the must. They never mention making a yeast starter or adding any nutrients. Both of my kits fermentations took off right away and had no issues, so I'm wondering why making a yeast starter and adding nutrients would ever be needed? My best guess is that the included yeasts with the kits (EC-1118 and RC212) are just yeasts that don't need that and start and thrive easily on their own? Would there be any advantages to making a yeast starter with these instead of just dumping onto the must dry of my kit?

21) Secondary Fermentation - I just noticed that the directions don't call to rack into a secondary fermenter at all during the fermentation process, which seems to be a standard procedure in all other winemaking. The directions want you to start fermentation, checking SG periodically, and then rack out when you reach the target SG <.996 into a carboy. You then move right on into clearing by adding kieselsol and then chitosans the next day. Would my wine benefit from being moved into a secondary vessel at about 1.020-1.030 instead of leaving in the original fermenter the entire time per the directions? My (assumed) understanding of the purpose behind moving into a secondary fermenter is to eliminate the large head space as the fermentation draws near completion and there is less co2 being produced to protect the wine from oxygen. Why would this be any different in kit wine making than any other method? I don't see a reason to leave it in one fermenter the entire time and risk oxygen effecting the wine near the end when it could be prevented by finishing it off in a carboy instead of a bucket. I guess my question is what is the real purpose of moving into a secondary fermenter and if there is a logical purpose, shouldn't I be doing it with my kit wines?

3) Sanitation products - I have been experimenting back and forth between using star san and k-meta for my sanitizing. I have been trying to see the pros and cons of each, I'm leaning towards just going with k-meta, but there are things about both of them that worry me. With the "3 tablespoon: 1 gallon water" k-meta solution, obviously the cough inducing odor and 10 minute wait times are cons, but my main concern is using this solution to sanitize bottles for bottling. I find it hard to believe that the remaining liquid left in the 750ml bottle after rinsing isn't adding to the so2 level, which of course would be in addition to the 1/4 teaspoon of k-meta I already added to the carboy. Is this not an issue? Is it perhaps better to sanitize bottles with starsan before bottling for this reason?

4) Clearing/ Fining - Both kits used the same things ingredients for what I believe the purpose is clearing the wine: Bentonite before fermentation, and a kieselsol/ chitosan combo after fermentation.
I am assuming these are used to speed up the clearing process so the wine can be bottled in 4/6/8 weeks, but since I am bulk aging all my wines 6+ months, could I skip these without any harm? Especially the bentonite (what a PITA). My wine should clear on its own in that time right?

5) Potassium sorbate - There is a packet of this included in the kits and the directions say to add it right when fermentation is done and you've racked it out of the fermenter. It is my (again, assumed) understanding that the purpose of this is to stop any wild yeast strains that are in the wine from starting to ferment. If I'm not back sweetening (which I'm not because I'm making dry reds), I don't understand the purpose of adding this at this step, or even at the time of bottling, especially since I am adding that 1/4 teaspoon dose of k-meta every time I rack and before I bottle. Shouldn't that do the job and make the sorbate unnecessary?

Sorry for the long winded novel and scattered thoughts, I thank you in advance for all the advice/ knowledge/ opinions I get! You have all been so unbelievably helpful and loaded with great information!!!
 

CDrew

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You live in California, why are you making kits?

1-I've never made a kit but I think they are already dosed with nutrients so you don't need to add any. And likely they are primed to ferment properly, so a starter is likely not necessary. Use the yeast they give you. But a starter does get things going faster. Your call. I make 1 hour starters, not overnight starters. Works great.

Once you start making wine from grapes, then paying close attention to fermentation nutrition and starters will make more sense.

2-There is no such thing in kits as secondary fermentation. There is alcoholic fermentation. You might rack once before it is done, but only one fermentation. When making wine from grapes, you will likely do MLF which I guess you could call a secondary fermentation but most people just call it MLF (malo-lactic fermentation)

3-Use what works for you. StarSan is great for large vessels. I prefer Kmeta solutions for bottles. But Starsan is really great stuff.

4-If you wait a bit they will clear on their own, no fining agents needed. Bentonite is effective but kind of a pain and risks leaving a bentonite settlement in the final wine. BTDT.

5-Sorbate is not needed. You are not back sweetening. Don't use it. You risk bubblegum taste.
 

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Now that I have a couple wine kits under my belt, I figure it's time for me start understanding the "why" when I'm doing something instead of just blindly following the directions that come with kits. I know that the kits are designed to be as simple and forgiving as possible, so I'm just hoping this post will help me gain a better understanding of what I'm doing and will help with my progression towards hopefully making wines from grapes some day (Hoping for next harvest season next year)
While this forum and so many members have been invaluable so far, there are a couple questions I've written down in my notes while making my kits that I couldn't find specific answers to searching through old posts, so I figured I'd throw em out there and hope to gain some much needed knowledge and opinions here in my own post.

1) Yeast question for kits - Both the kits I have done so far have been reds from WineXpert (gonna do a FWK next), and the directions just have you sprinkle the included yeast packets on top of the must. They never mention making a yeast starter or adding any nutrients. Both of my kits fermentations took off right away and had no issues, so I'm wondering why making a yeast starter and adding nutrients would ever be needed? My best guess is that the included yeasts with the kits (EC-1118 and RC212) are just yeasts that don't need that and start and thrive easily on their own? Would there be any advantages to making a yeast starter with these instead of just dumping onto the must dry of my kit?

21) Secondary Fermentation - I just noticed that the directions don't call to rack into a secondary fermenter at all during the fermentation process, which seems to be a standard procedure in all other winemaking. The directions want you to start fermentation, checking SG periodically, and then rack out when you reach the target SG <.996 into a carboy. You then move right on into clearing by adding kieselsol and then chitosans the next day. Would my wine benefit from being moved into a secondary vessel at about 1.020-1.030 instead of leaving in the original fermenter the entire time per the directions? My (assumed) understanding of the purpose behind moving into a secondary fermenter is to eliminate the large head space as the fermentation draws near completion and there is less co2 being produced to protect the wine from oxygen. Why would this be any different in kit wine making than any other method? I don't see a reason to leave it in one fermenter the entire time and risk oxygen effecting the wine near the end when it could be prevented by finishing it off in a carboy instead of a bucket. I guess my question is what is the real purpose of moving into a secondary fermenter and if there is a logical purpose, shouldn't I be doing it with my kit wines?

3) Sanitation products - I have been experimenting back and forth between using star san and k-meta for my sanitizing. I have been trying to see the pros and cons of each, I'm leaning towards just going with k-meta, but there are things about both of them that worry me. With the "3 tablespoon: 1 gallon water" k-meta solution, obviously the cough inducing odor and 10 minute wait times are cons, but my main concern is using this solution to sanitize bottles for bottling. I find it hard to believe that the remaining liquid left in the 750ml bottle after rinsing isn't adding to the so2 level, which of course would be in addition to the 1/4 teaspoon of k-meta I already added to the carboy. Is this not an issue? Is it perhaps better to sanitize bottles with starsan before bottling for this reason?

4) Clearing/ Fining - Both kits used the same things ingredients for what I believe the purpose is clearing the wine: Bentonite before fermentation, and a kieselsol/ chitosan combo after fermentation.
I am assuming these are used to speed up the clearing process so the wine can be bottled in 4/6/8 weeks, but since I am bulk aging all my wines 6+ months, could I skip these without any harm? Especially the bentonite (what a PITA). My wine should clear on its own in that time right?

5) Potassium sorbate - There is a packet of this included in the kits and the directions say to add it right when fermentation is done and you've racked it out of the fermenter. It is my (again, assumed) understanding that the purpose of this is to stop any wild yeast strains that are in the wine from starting to ferment. If I'm not back sweetening (which I'm not because I'm making dry reds), I don't understand the purpose of adding this at this step, or even at the time of bottling, especially since I am adding that 1/4 teaspoon dose of k-meta every time I rack and before I bottle. Shouldn't that do the job and make the sorbate unnecessary?

Sorry for the long winded novel and scattered thoughts, I thank you in advance for all the advice/ knowledge/ opinions I get! You have all been so unbelievably helpful and loaded with great information!!!
Try to find a winemaking club close to where you live to get a chance to be with better winemakers to taste there wine and possibly make wines with them.
great decision
One more thing for you to do:

subscribe to this i.e. the best amateur info IMHO in the USA

 

skylerl33

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Try to find a winemaking club close to where you live to get a chance to be with better winemakers to taste there wine and possibly make wines with them.

One more thing for you to do:

subscribe to this i.e. the best amateur info IMHO in the USA

I actually just subscribed to that last week!! So I'm glad to hear it is highly recommended and worth while! Thanks for the tips! greatly appreciated.
I have searched online quite a few times but have yet to find a local winemaking club. hopefully I can find one soon!
 

skylerl33

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You live in California, why are you making kits?

1-I've never made a kit but I think they are already dosed with nutrients so you don't need to add any. And likely they are primed to ferment properly, so a starter is likely not necessary. Use the yeast they give you. But a starter does get things going faster. Your call. I make 1 hour starters, not overnight starters. Works great.

Once you start making wine from grapes, then paying close attention to fermentation nutrition and starters will make more sense.

2-There is no such thing in kits as secondary fermentation. There is alcoholic fermentation. You might rack once before it is done, but only one fermentation. When making wine from grapes, you will likely do MLF which I guess you could call a secondary fermentation but most people just call it MLF (malo-lactic fermentation)

3-Use what works for you. StarSan is great for large vessels. I prefer Kmeta solutions for bottles. But Starsan is really great stuff.

4-If you wait a bit they will clear on their own, no fining agents needed. Bentonite is effective but kind of a pain and risks leaving a bentonite settlement in the final wine. BTDT.

5-Sorbate is not needed. You are not back sweetening. Don't use it. You risk bubblegum taste.
I figured kits would be a good way to get my feet wet and make my rookie mistakes on. I also dont have a crusher/destemmer and had basically zero knowledge of how to make wine when i started my first kit.
I wasnt refering to an actual secondary fermentation, I was talking about moving the fermenting must out of buckets and into a smaller necked vessel before completion. Is that not a thing? Is MLF the only reason to move it into a second fermenter?
Thanks for all the answers and advice!!! It's greatly appreciated!
 

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My opinion and comments, worth price charged:

1. Making a starter promotes the growth of a healthy colony. However, IMHO, all commercial wine yeasts are able "to figure it out" after simply sprinkling, so that is what I do.

2. Kit instructions formerly directed you to transfer to a secondary fermenter for the reasons you stated. They simplified the process in their instructions a few years ago. FWIW, I follow the protocol you (and the old kit instructions) suggest, in order to minimize O2 exposure.

3. I find Starsan easier.

4. Yes, time generally takes care of clearing. There are some problems that persist (like a haze from proteins, I think?), but most clear with time.

5. Yes, if you are not backsweetening, and the wine is fully dry, you do not need sorbate. Most here skip it for dry wines. Kits include it as "insurance" for those who wind up with a little residual sugar. (BTW, sorbate has nothing specifically to do with "wild yeast." Rather, it is "birth control" for all yeasts, to prevent further reproduction of your wine yeast.)
 

CDrew

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I figured kits would be a good way to get my feet wet and make my rookie mistakes on. I also dont have a crusher/destemmer and had basically zero knowledge of how to make wine when i started my first kit.
I wasnt refering to an actual secondary fermentation, I was talking about moving the fermenting must out of buckets and into a smaller necked vessel before completion. Is that not a thing? Is MLF the only reason to move it into a second fermenter?
Thanks for all the answers and advice!!! It's greatly appreciated!

This is a good plan. I think everyone should make a kit, or a juice bucket, or a bucket of frozen must before the first year of wine making. Sort out your procedures and get ready for harvest!

Eliminating head space is essential practice in home wine making.

Moving wine from vessel to vessel is an attempt to leave the dross behind and clear the wine. Keep doing that!
 

skylerl33

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My opinion and comments, worth price charged:

1. Making a starter promotes the growth of a healthy colony. However, IMHO, all commercial wine yeasts are able "to figure it out" after simply sprinkling, so that is what I do.

2. Kit instructions formerly directed you to transfer to a secondary fermenter for the reasons you stated. They simplified the process in their instructions a few years ago. FWIW, I follow the protocol you (and the old kit instructions) suggest, in order to minimize O2 exposure.

3. I find Starsan easier.

4. Yes, time generally takes care of clearing. There are some problems that persist (like a haze from proteins, I think?), but most clear with time.

5. Yes, if you are not backsweetening, and the wine is fully dry, you do not need sorbate. Most here skip it for dry wines. Kits include it as "insurance" for those who wind up with a little residual sugar. (BTW, sorbate has nothing specifically to do with "wild yeast." Rather, it is "birth control" for all yeasts, to prevent further reproduction of your wine yeast.)
Thank you!!! I love the advice and opinions!!! Worth alot more to me than the price charged!!
With the starsan, do you rinse your empty bottles with it and then add the wine while its still wet?? I know the manufacturer says its no issue, but all that foam in such a small bottle really worries me as well. Never had any issues with that?
 

skylerl33

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This is a good plan. I think everyone should make a kit, or a juice bucket, or a bucket of frozen must before the first year of wine making. Sort out your procedures and get ready for harvest!

Eliminating head space is essential practice in home wine making.

Moving wine from vessel to vessel is an attempt to leave the dross behind and clear the wine. Keep doing that!
Awesome! Thats what I was planning. My progression I have planned is this, let me know if you think it sounds good or if I should add or skip any steps.
1. A couple of wineXpert kits (done)
(next) 2. FWK kit with skinpacks, seems a little more involved
3. a couple of Frozen grapes pails from Brehm, using my own yeast/additives/ decision making
4. Fresh grapes next september/october
 

CDrew

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There are also high quality frozen must from winegrapesdirect.com. Very good guys to deal with.

You don't need to do the FWK thing at all. Not needed. You'll be set with a couple of 5 gallon must pails making great wine. To me, must pails from reputable suppliers like Brehm or Wine Grapes Direct is a great place to start making great wine. Then next fall, you're well versed and ready to make some nice wine.
 

ChuckD

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I was talking about moving the fermenting must out of buckets and into a smaller necked vessel before completion. Is that not a thing?
That is definitely a thing! After fermentation is complete, or near completion, you need to get it into a vessel with limited air exposure. You transfer to a carboy for settling, MLF, and/or aging.
 

sour_grapes

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Thank you!!! I love the advice and opinions!!! Worth alot more to me than the price charged!!
With the starsan, do you rinse your empty bottles with it and then add the wine while its still wet?? I know the manufacturer says its no issue, but all that foam in such a small bottle really worries me as well. Never had any issues with that?

Yup, "Don't fear the foam!" :)

I sometimes overfill the bottle to get the foam out (then pour the excess wine back into the bottling bucket), but I don't worry too much about the residual Starsan.
 

Gilmango

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There are also high quality frozen must from winegrapesdirect.com. Very good guys to deal with.

You don't need to do the FWK thing at all. Not needed. You'll be set with a couple of 5 gallon must pails making great wine. To me, must pails from reputable suppliers like Brehm or Wine Grapes Direct is a great place to start making great wine. Then next fall, you're well versed and ready to make some nice wine.
The biggest difference is the price point. Winegrapesdirect and Brehm both offer great grapes from top AVAs and seem like great companies to work with, but to fill a 6 gallon carboy with pressed wine from either one you are probably looking at $350 or more plus heavy shipping costs for 2 5 gallon buckets of must (EDIT - to be clear each bucket is about half of that, but to get 6+ gallons of pressed juice you will need two buckets). Plus you need a way to press, I know bucket press is cheap way to get started. So to me doing a FWK kit (specifically a "Forte" kit which comes with double pack of skins and seeds), will run you less than half that cost with cheaper/lighter shipping costs too. And again, in my opinion, it is a really affordable way to take a step up the winemaking ladder without so nearly much cost.

I personally learned alot making a few FWK kits (and a few RJS kits before that). I'm also in CA so going forward I may just do fresh grapes I pick every Fall (as I did last year and this year), but I'm hopeful that the FWK kits I made will prove to be tasty enough (once aged) that, should I get the itch to make a wine in the Spring, I can do it for half the price with FWK without sacrificing too much in quality. Then again, I may decide that if I'm going to put in the "free labor" I'm better off buying great grapes from WGD or Brehm.

But if $ is no object, I agree, dive into premium AVA grapes by buying 2 of those buckets from either supplier, buy a press too if you are sure the hobby is for you.
 
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Gilmango

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Now that I have a couple wine kits under my belt, I figure it's time for me start understanding the "why" when I'm doing something instead of just blindly following the directions that come with kits. I know that the kits are designed to be as simple and forgiving as possible, so I'm just hoping this post will help me gain a better understanding of what I'm doing and will help with my progression towards hopefully making wines from grapes some day (Hoping for next harvest season next year)
While this forum and so many members have been invaluable so far, there are a couple questions I've written down in my notes while making my kits that I couldn't find specific answers to searching through old posts, so I figured I'd throw em out there and hope to gain some much needed knowledge and opinions here in my own post.

1) Yeast question for kits - Both the kits I have done so far have been reds from WineXpert (gonna do a FWK next), and the directions just have you sprinkle the included yeast packets on top of the must. They never mention making a yeast starter or adding any nutrients. Both of my kits fermentations took off right away and had no issues, so I'm wondering why making a yeast starter and adding nutrients would ever be needed? My best guess is that the included yeasts with the kits (EC-1118 and RC212) are just yeasts that don't need that and start and thrive easily on their own? Would there be any advantages to making a yeast starter with these instead of just dumping onto the must dry of my kit?

21) Secondary Fermentation - I just noticed that the directions don't call to rack into a secondary fermenter at all during the fermentation process, which seems to be a standard procedure in all other winemaking. The directions want you to start fermentation, checking SG periodically, and then rack out when you reach the target SG <.996 into a carboy. You then move right on into clearing by adding kieselsol and then chitosans the next day. Would my wine benefit from being moved into a secondary vessel at about 1.020-1.030 instead of leaving in the original fermenter the entire time per the directions? My (assumed) understanding of the purpose behind moving into a secondary fermenter is to eliminate the large head space as the fermentation draws near completion and there is less co2 being produced to protect the wine from oxygen. Why would this be any different in kit wine making than any other method? I don't see a reason to leave it in one fermenter the entire time and risk oxygen effecting the wine near the end when it could be prevented by finishing it off in a carboy instead of a bucket. I guess my question is what is the real purpose of moving into a secondary fermenter and if there is a logical purpose, shouldn't I be doing it with my kit wines?

3) Sanitation products - I have been experimenting back and forth between using star san and k-meta for my sanitizing. I have been trying to see the pros and cons of each, I'm leaning towards just going with k-meta, but there are things about both of them that worry me. With the "3 tablespoon: 1 gallon water" k-meta solution, obviously the cough inducing odor and 10 minute wait times are cons, but my main concern is using this solution to sanitize bottles for bottling. I find it hard to believe that the remaining liquid left in the 750ml bottle after rinsing isn't adding to the so2 level, which of course would be in addition to the 1/4 teaspoon of k-meta I already added to the carboy. Is this not an issue? Is it perhaps better to sanitize bottles with starsan before bottling for this reason?

4) Clearing/ Fining - Both kits used the same things ingredients for what I believe the purpose is clearing the wine: Bentonite before fermentation, and a kieselsol/ chitosan combo after fermentation.
I am assuming these are used to speed up the clearing process so the wine can be bottled in 4/6/8 weeks, but since I am bulk aging all my wines 6+ months, could I skip these without any harm? Especially the bentonite (what a PITA). My wine should clear on its own in that time right?

5) Potassium sorbate - There is a packet of this included in the kits and the directions say to add it right when fermentation is done and you've racked it out of the fermenter. It is my (again, assumed) understanding that the purpose of this is to stop any wild yeast strains that are in the wine from starting to ferment. If I'm not back sweetening (which I'm not because I'm making dry reds), I don't understand the purpose of adding this at this step, or even at the time of bottling, especially since I am adding that 1/4 teaspoon dose of k-meta every time I rack and before I bottle. Shouldn't that do the job and make the sorbate unnecessary?
.
Sorry for the long winded novel and scattered thoughts, I thank you in advance for all the advice/ knowledge/ opinions I get! You have all been so unbelievably helpful and loaded with great information!!!
1 - the dry yeasts will generally do a great job within 24 hours if just sprinkled on top. But many folks do a day or longer soak of their musts whether from kit (FWK instructions) or fresh picked grapes or thawing frozen must ("cold soak"), whether dosed with SO2 or not. So why not do a simple yeast starter if you are not sprinkling the yeast on right away? That is what FWK suggests and the ferments take off way faster. But either way, not a big deal, some may even want a slow yeast start to either extend fermentation/ contact with skins, or to give the native yeast & bacteria a little time to add some complexity before the cultivated yeast takes over (latter only works if you haven't dosed the must with SO2.
2. Many of us want to do extended macerations which mean we don't want to transfer to a carboy till 10-20 or even 50(!) days have passed. The key doing so is having a primary which you can reliably seal before the must stops off-gassing CO2 from AF (active fermentation) and/or MLF (malolactic fermentation). If you can seal your primary then a longer ferment+EM (extended maceration) is pretty low risk, just don't open it up for punch downs after you seal it up, and probably 2-4 weeks total is plenty.
3. Big fan of PBW (powdered brewers wash) for cleaning and Star San in a spray bottle.
4. I avoid all fining agents and I don't filter either, prefer to let time do its magic. Might need a year plus over 6 months though, and definitely want a wine whip or a vacuum pump to get the CO2 out.
5. I also never use sorbate.
 

Rice_Guy

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I am looking at your questions from the other side. I have done fruit wine and mom and grandpa made wine, ,, I finally did the first kit as a state fair demo in summer.
5) sorbate is bad stuff and “killed” what normally happens. I only use sorbate on a young wine that is sweetened.
6) do some thinking on pressing, my yield is better than this first kit.
1) grandpa didn’t know what a yeast packet was, ,, and with fresh fruit today we still have the choice of skipping yeast. From a food point of view the kit is commercially sterile, this means that what you sprinkle in would be the only organism available to consume the sugar.
Mom didn’t know what Starsan was and pre covid/ clean the groceries I didn’t either. Great grandpa in Europe may have known that clay helped clear the wine, but usually used a few months time. Grandpa and the yeast and any Oneococcus present didn’t know what secondary fermentation was, but they did know that oxygen is the enemy creating off flavors.

Have fun with the next step.
 
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1) Yeast question for kits
As has been noted, making a starter produces a larger initial colony in an environment more ideal for the yeast. Wine yeast likes hotter, so starting at 95 F is good for the yeast, and the starter cools down to must temperature overnight.

For kits, it probably makes little difference, other than a faster start. For fruit (grapes, juice, non-grape), there is going to be competition in the form of wild yeast, bacteria, and mold. A starter helps ensure the desired yeast will stomp out its competition quickly. I now make starters as my personal risk tolerance favors ensuring a good start.

Most kits don't need nutrient -- it's been added already. FWK are different as the nutrient is added at the beginning, and a booster is added after 48 hours. For the reds, FWK uses RC-212, which has high nutrient requirements, so adding nutrient prevents H2S from forming. When you get to making wine from fruit (fresh, frozen, juice) pay attention to the nutrient requirements of the yeast you choose.

2) Secondary Fermentation
As already noted, there's only 1 fermentation, and kit instructions are optimized for beginners who have no experienced help, to ensure a successful outcome on every try.

When to rack/press the first time is a personal choice. Some winemakers rack/press whites and fruits around 1.020, as moving to a closed container slows down fermentation and limits blowing off of lighter aromas and flavors. Reds are often pressed after fermentation completes, which allows more "stuff" to be extracted from the grape pulp. And you can do anything in between (or beyond, some folks rack/press at 1.050). This answer probably doesn't help you much, but it sets the stage for a much more detailed discussion, where exactly what you are making may affect the discussion.

While wine is fermenting AND degassing, headspace is of little concern. Folks who follow the kit schedule have no problems with leaving headspace in the carboy up to the 8 week bottling time. Me? I'm just not comfortable with headspace beyond ~2 week after fermentation ceases, but again, that's my risk tolerance.

3) Sanitation products
IMO the 10 minute wait time for K-meta is trivial. I clean all equipment after use (prior to storage), and douse with K-meta prior to use, including racking K-meta through all tubing. Equipment typically sets for 10 to 20 minutes prior to use, so the time limit is reached.

The amount of K-meta left on equipment, if it was shaken off, is trivial. The max safe amount of K-meta is a lot more than we actually use, so the trivial amount on the equipment causes no harm.

Run a fan while using K-meta. I'm reducing the amount of K-meta I use from 3 Tbsp/US gallon to 2 Tbsp. I replace the sanitizer when the jug is reduced to half, the liquid looks ugly, or 6 months pass -- whichever comes first. The SO2 concentration in the jug should be sufficient under these conditions.

4) Clearing/ Fining
IIRC, bentonite was originally added to kits to eliminate protein haze, and it helps the wine clear faster, post-fermentation.

K&C ensure clearing so the wine can be bottled in 4 or 8 weeks. Without fining, wine takes months to fully clear.

Next weekend I start an experiment -- I'll be bottling two 2021 wines that have been in barrel since February. Two-thirds of each wine will be bottled, and the remaining 1/3 will be treated with K&C, and carboy aged another 2 to 4 weeks. The experiment is to see how much sediment is precipitated by the K&C in a supposedly clear wine, and to see if the treated and untreated wines smell and taste differently 6 and 12 months from now. There is a lot of research published on most fining agents, while K&C has little that I've found.

5) Potassium sorbate
As previously noted, sorbate is unnecessary if the wine is not backsweetened. It is included in kits to help ensure the novice winemaker does not produce 28-30 mini-volcanoes.

When making kits (I make mostly dry wines), I write the date on the package and toss it in a drawer. 12 to 15 months later, if I haven't used it in a backsweetened wine, I bin the package as sorbate has a limited shelf life, and it costs a lot less to buy some than it does to recork a batch.

I have another experiment in progress -- I recently bottled a 6 month old Elderberry, which I treated with sorbate + K-meta. I reserved 4 liters, which will bulk age another 4 to 6 months, then will be backsweetened and bottled without sorbate. I'm proving to myself that the yeast dies and sorbate is unnecessary, AND I will have identical wines to compare to see how much sorbate affects the taste.

6) Wine Press
If you're making wine from grapes, you need access to a press. Without it, you will leave a large amount of wine in the pomace.
 

QuiQuog

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I see so many people talk about using star StarSan or kmeta for sanitizing, but very few seem to use One Step. It's what my LHBS (when I had one) recommended, and what I've always used. There's no foam like StarSan, or fumes like kmeta. I've even drank it accidentally (a stupid story) and after a call to the poison center, they concluded it was no big deal. Is there no love for One Step?
 

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