A couple of things I don't understand

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Feb 27, 2010
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In my efforts to learn all I can about wine making, It has become apparent there are several schools of thought.

1. Yeast needs oxygen. Some say leave to top open during primary fermentation. Others say snap the lid on and use an airlock. Which is best?

2. Every article I've read or video I've watched state to add the bentonite at stabilizing & clearing, I have made RJS and CC kts and they both have me add the bentonite at the beginnng. I do as the kit instructions say but am A bit confused with what I read.
Good questions, RJB.

1. As I understand it....if you stir vigorously before pitching the yeast, you have probably incorporated enough oxygen into the must. I do not recommend leaving the top open, because foreign matter will have too easy an access. The primaries that I use have a solid lid that doesn't fit air tight.

2. This is a very common question about bentonite. Basically there are different ways of doing things. The books and videos are not wrong, and neither are they correct. Bentonite is not a 'standard' clearing agent, it removes protein haze by combining with the proteins. This can be done at the must stage or the haze stage. If done at the must stage (ie primary fermentation), less bentonite and less stirring are required.

I would never leave the lid "off" for any length of time, as flies and gnats like grape juice, too.

For the first stage of fermentation (before racking to carboy), if you have a fermentor bucket, which has a lid that can snap closed to form a good seal, don't snap it down. Just place the lid on the bucket so nothing can get in around it. Go ahead and add an airlock, so the lid won't be bouncing around.

It is the second stage of fermentation, when you rack to a carboy, that you really need a tight seal (bung with air lock in place).

Adding bentonite at the beginning of fermentation is as much for the benefit of the yeast as anything else. It helps them get started better.

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