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Advice regarding Weighing down grape skins

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acommonsoul

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So, I am just about to begin my first attempt at wine making. I have been making homebrew beer for years and I figured it was time to try wine. So I will be doing a Winexpert Eclipse Cab and I have seen videos with people weighing down their grape skins with glass beads and such. If I do this, do I still have to open the fermentor and stir during the first 7 days as the directions state? Coming from beer brewing, opening the fermentor is a big no-no due to the exposure to oxygen. Any advice will help....I have a lot to learn before I begin.
 

Runningwolf

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Do not weigh down the grape skins. You just punch them down several times a day. Eventually as the fermentation ends the skins will fall on their own.
 

jumby

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I put 25-30 marbles in the bottom of my skins bag. I stir mine once daily until fermentation is complete.
 

salcoco

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stirring at least once daily is recommended yeast like a little oxygen. the acid level of wine is higher than beer so bacterial contamination is less likely from air exposure. this is not to say that good sanitation practices still need to be followed but not to the extent of beer making.
 

Mismost

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I put 25-30 marbles in the bottom of my skins bag. I stir mine once daily until fermentation is complete.
last time I used a big old heavy ceramic coffee mug...worked just fine. I like the bag staying under the surface...just made me feel better...don't know about the wine yet! Still stirred once or twice a day.
 

acommonsoul

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Now does anyone inject pure oxygen in the wine? I typically do that with beer before adding yeast to ensure proper O2 levels
 

Bodenski

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I know of mead makers that work to actively oxygenate their must. Now is there a benefit to using straight O2 as opposed to room air? I haven't had an issue with fermentation yet, so I think my yeast are getting enough.
 

AZMDTed

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There's plenty of oxygen in the air for wine yeast, no need to do anything special. Just a good stir when you mix in the water with the juice and a gentle daily stir during primary.
 

jvernice

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Do not submerge grape skins

Submerging the grape skins is not advisable. The only time it is recommended is if you are unable to punch down the cap frequently enough.

Many do weight the cap (skins) down, but it does make a difference in the tannin, antioxidant, and color extraction and can affect not only the taste, but the appearance and shelf life of the wine.

Some feel that weighing down accelerates the extraction process, but it also results in differences in tannin, color, and oxidation because the air/must interface is different.
 

Kathi

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We made that kit and followed directions to a tee. Came out great.
 

DiscoStu

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Wine is easy mode when it comes to sanitation compared to beer. High acid and alcohol prevent a lot of things from growing. When I do small batches 1 gallon I skip sanitizing sometimes. Even when it comes to bottling I sanitize but I'm not really not sure if it's necessary. Open up that primary and stir away, yeast need to breathe. Turn your head when you cough though.
 

Mismost

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Wine is easy mode when it comes to sanitation compared to beer. High acid and alcohol prevent a lot of things from growing. When I do small batches 1 gallon I skip sanitizing sometimes. Even when it comes to bottling I sanitize but I'm not really not sure if it's necessary. Open up that primary and stir away, yeast need to breathe. Turn your head when you cough though.

Disco....I think you're cruising for bruising. I'm a stirrer but I still sanitize everything that contacts the must. Why? Because it's too easy not to and I'm not gonna risk 6 gallons of wine for a nickles worth of sanitizer.
 

DiscoStu

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I do it the lazy way and use a piece of stainless steal and leave it in the primary. Never had a metallic taste. Couple bucks at the depot and cut it to size. It's not about saving a couple of cents to me. Sanitizing is just boring. That's why I rack all my wines at once clean sanitize one carboy. And just rinse the others and fill.
 

hounddawg

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Never done a kit but for the first eight to tens days of fermentation I use a shop built joint compound stirrer, I had mine made from food grade stainless steel, in a drill I stir twice daily wide open I whip into. A froth then. In the middle I pull a vortex clean to the bottom,, during fermentation oxygen is a great help to. You ferment/yeast, some time around when you get to 1.000 or lower then oxygen becomes you enemy, as stated by msmost, sanitize every thing every time with out fail,
I make all country wines from scratch, but due to listening to Bernard Smith and jericurl among others I do have a mead at better then a year in bulk aging, will sample tinker if need be and bottle this fall the mead,
Best of luck to you, and I searched for a couple years before making my first wine, and this site if full of intelligence type people whom freely give advice and in my book is the finests wine form on the net,
Dawg
 

fathertom

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Wine and beer are different. The pH in wine is much higher than beer. Because of that it is less susceptible to bacteria. So, many wineries use open fermentors for the first fermentation, with plastic sheets over the top. If you have a covered fermentor, just remove the top, sanitize a wine spoon, and punch the bag down once a day, just as the instructions say. You will be fine, as you pull the bag with the skins out, and rack into your secondary.
 

wineh

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When I made my very first grapeskin kit, I emailed WineXpert and asked if it was ok to weigh the skin bag down. The response was that it was fine to do that. I used a crystal bowl which I sanitized. I have since done it both ways, and I have never noticed a difference in taste or longevity between weighing or stirring.
 

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