5 beginner questions I couldn't find answers to

Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum

Help Support Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum:


Supporting Members
Supporting Member
May 14, 2017
Reaction score
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?
I used to use one step too, but I cant get it anymore. I liked it better.


Senior Member
Sep 30, 2009
Reaction score
Banbury UK
Have a look at Chuck D's thread in Country Fruit Winemaking and you'll see one of the reasons for racking to a secondary container. If you're careful about oxidation it will also make your wine taste better. :b


Oct 23, 2014
Reaction score
40 mile yonder & PLUM NOWHERE
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!!!
first go to school to learn to count,,, that wasn't a couple questions, lol ,,, you can pour early into the secondary, to stimulate oxygen, no finings, I use what's called time and patience. sorbate is used just before back sweetening,, you ,,haunt written down no Scobey do novelty's? HAVE YOU
Dec 4, 2021
Reaction score
Love it! Great perspective and really got me thinking! Thanks!! I have been searching for a decent basket press, but they seem to be very hard to find these days!

@skylerl33 check out www.grapemust.com... they are out of Livermore and offer frozen must buckets like Brehm and WGD, BUT, they are much lower cost and include free shipping too. They won't have the high end stuff like WGD, but it's a nice option between kits and frozen must pails. BTW, I think Brehm is slowing phasing out of the frozen must business and WGD are starting to take over their remaining inventory.