airlock water contamination

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strowheim

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I think I messed up my wine. I somehow got some airlock water into the wine, and now it looks like there is some particulate matter in the top of the carboy. Wine is about 5 days out from being racked after completing secondary ferm. i'm pissed. can someone tell me if I messed up my wine? not only are there two particles, but theres also like a little film in the water that is now present where it dripped into the wine.

i dont know if there was any sulfite solution in my airlock water. it may have just been water.

pics are here: http://picasaweb.google.com/strowheim/Wine_particle?authkey=Gv1sRgCOO1_MDk_8rtKQ#

you can see the particle in pics 1 and 6 and the film in the others.

any idea what this is? any way to get rid of it at this stage? again, 5 days out from racking... secondary LOOKS like it stopped, but no idea.

if this is bacteria, am I screwed??
 

Green Mountains

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That doesn't look pretty, but can't imagine how it came from just water falling from your airlock. Have never seen this.
 

Wade E

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Im betting this is dryed up sulfite. Idbe willing to say for youll be fine justb rack it and sulfite to prevent any further contamination if you havent sulfited already and its done fermenting.
 

strowheim

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i went back to look at it, and it looked like the sulfite or whatever dissolved, because i tapped on the carboy (its a better bottle) and it kind of broke up, looking like a bubble (i swear these arent bubbles!) there's still a little film where the water went in.

so should i sg test it and rack it away? what if its still a few days away from officially being "done"... if the sg is right should i just go ahead and sulfite/sorbate/etc?

i'm about go to into the racking/clarifying stage.

edit: re-read the instructions. it says to not rack before you add the fining and stabilzing chemicals if you want the wine to clear properly. i guess racking is out. i think we made the decision to not touch it for now until its time, and to kinda watch to see if anything happens or grows. im betting since whatever it was seems to be gone now that its not a big deal.

is there any surefire way of knowning if theres bacteria in your wine? a test? or is it just smell....
 
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rawlus

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i don't know if i'd worry about it just yet.
if the equipment were really contaminated you'd see much more obvious signs by now i think. a little bit of stale airlock water put onto the wine can create a film... probably from the volatiles and aromatics that have been bubbling through that water.... when you get to mixing you'll disperse that stuff well and it'll come out in settling/clearing.

what type of airlock are you using?
i prefer the 3-piece design with better bottles. before moving a better bottle i open the airlock and remove the inner cap piece, this keeps airlock liquid from suctioning as the bottle flexes while moving.

as to the liquid, i use my sanitizing liquid sprayed from my spray bottle into the airlock then top up with plain water, so, about 50% strength sanitizing solution.

if i little does get in, i dont worry about it, i titrate before final SO2 addition and if it's in the green zone i leave it, if not i make the necessary additions.
 

AlFulchino

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you have a lot of airspace in that carboy...from what i *think* i can see in the picture....

you mentioned you still have to sulfite this batch and i may have misse dit but if this is a kit, most often they are not sulfite by you the home winemaker until the stage you are just now at...so ...when did you sulfite before now? it seems to me that you sould have seen sulfite powder on this carboy long before now and would have done a swirl of the wine to wash it down in

correct me, if i am missing something

the final upshot from my far away vantage point is this....take a wine sample below the surface......if good to go then do all those final steps...degas...sulfite, sorbate and fine......and bottle when you are ready, avoiding any of the particulate as best as possible if still not settled from the top

...so..how does it taste now?
 

strowheim

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yeah, the pics aren't too clear, was hard to get good pics w/flash into a plastic carboy

this batch is nearing the end of secondary fermentation (winexpert cab franc)... so basically i'm waiting for the SG to hit around .996 or less consistently before i stabilize and add clarifying agents.

rawlus - thanks for the info about the film.. i think thats what i was worried most about, because it *looked* like it could be a colony of something starting in the water that somehow got in. this is my first time w/better bottles, so i'm still learning the ins and outs with how they flex. this wouldnt have happened with glass! :)

alfuchino - i will probably taste the wine shortly before the chemicals are added to see how it tastes but due to my inexperience i dont know what newly fermented wine should taste like.. am i just looking for what i would think is "gone bad" ? i dont think its anywhere near there yet
 

Greenman

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I did have an issue years ago, where some water got into the carboy from the air lock. Now I use whiskey or vodka in the airlock.
 
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