All-in-one wine pump and Head Space Eliminator

Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum

Help Support Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum:

Dukeisaac

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2022
Messages
18
Reaction score
8
Location
Maryland
After degassing a FWK wine, I stabilized wine by adding the packet containing K-Meta and sorbate. Instead of topping off the carboy with a similar wine, I used a AIO head space eliminator.which draws a vacuum to eliminate any oxygen that would sit on top of the wine. When drawing the vacuum, lots of bubbles can be seen making their way up though the wine to occupy the head space. I'm concerned that I'm getting rid of the SO2 introduced by the addition of the K-Meta and sorbate. Am I right to be concerned of is there something that I do not understand about how the head space eliminator or SO2 in wine work?
 

vinny

Mildly Amused
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2022
Messages
1,680
Reaction score
3,858
Location
Central Alberta
You are pulling the CO2 produced during fermentation out of your wine. SO2 reacts with O2 and isn't a factor yet. The wine is still degassing. Drawing a vacuum pulls more CO2 than you can get out with agitation. No reason to be concerned.
 

Rice_Guy

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2014
Messages
3,212
Reaction score
4,296
Location
Food Industry - - Retired
Yes you are correct that you should be concerned. a small fraction of the metabisulphite has turned into free SO2 and that will be pulled off. My concern when I make wine is that CO2 acts as non-reactive head space filler, ,,, so I should save it till I am ready to bottle or else take nitrogen or argon and refill the head space with inert gas.
My current procedure is to run with air lock nine month or a year and when looking at final racking and emptying the carboy I will transition to a check valve in a cork. ,,, The head space eliminator is not recommended for more than a few weeks. When testing hardware I found that old rubber and mechanical joints leak. To be done well you need to follow the same rules as if putting in gas lines. I would also add you need a vacuum gague not a yes/no indicator.

Am I right to be concerned of is there something that I do not understand about how the head space eliminator or SO2 in wine work?
 

Dukeisaac

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2022
Messages
18
Reaction score
8
Location
Maryland
You are pulling the CO2 produced during fermentation out of your wine. SO2 reacts with O2 and isn't a factor yet. The wine is still degassing. Drawing a vacuum pulls more CO2 than you can get out with agitation. No reason to be concerned.
I didn't see many CO2 bubbles when I degassed with a drill mounted regarding wand and later with the head space eliminator (HSE). Its after I added the SO2 that a whole lot of bubbles started appearing.
 

Dukeisaac

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2022
Messages
18
Reaction score
8
Location
Maryland
My concern when I make wine is that CO2 acts as non-reactive head space filler, ,,, so I should save it till I am ready to bottle or else take nitrogen or argon and refill the head space with inert gas.
Do you wait until right before bottling to degas, assuming that most of the CO2 didn't escape during aging?
Instead of nitrogen or argon, can I add CO2 since I already have a system that I used to make seltzer?
 

vinny

Mildly Amused
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2022
Messages
1,680
Reaction score
3,858
Location
Central Alberta
I didn't see many CO2 bubbles when I degassed with a drill mounted regarding wand and later with the head space eliminator (HSE). Its after I added the SO2 that a whole lot of bubbles started appearing.
My apologies, I assumed you had just used the wand and then put it under vacuum for the first time.

I just bought some different wines to top up my kits. Personally I think it is way easier to top up your wine. I have found it is more work to monitor vacuum than an airlock. Other members here have also noted that wine isn't 100% CO2 free and that putting it under vacuum for long periods COULD effect flavors.

I have done it myself under different situations, but just thought I would mention what others have discussed.
 

nodor

Junior
Joined
Oct 11, 2021
Messages
10
Reaction score
25
After using vacuum pump to degas I added metabisulfate and started bulk aging with the headspace eliminator.
Carboy was full so not much airspace. At 3 months I added more metabisufate and gotta say it was hard to get the bung out and it sounded like a champane bottle lol. I would like to get a gauge instead of rubber bulb so I would know if the vacuum level changes but I don't think it pulled much out of solution.
 

Rice_Guy

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2014
Messages
3,212
Reaction score
4,296
Location
Food Industry - - Retired
Do you wait until right before bottling to degas, assuming that most of the CO2 didn't escape during aging?
Instead of nitrogen or argon, can I add CO2 since I already have a system that I used to make seltzer?
CO2 is inert, it works. I must be cheap since I use the gas yeast produce. ,,,, Yes I degas in the week before bottling. Being a wine judge I have seen panels that have lots of bubbles on a glass,, froth I dock points on not bubbles. My definition of good enough is can I pump it down and it stays below 5inches Hg for half an hour.
 

Dukeisaac

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2022
Messages
18
Reaction score
8
Location
Maryland
Thank you for your inputs.
From all the comments and suggestions., I've deducted that the best course of actions after primary is to first degas as much as possible using the AIO and HSE, then add SO2 (k-meta and sorbate when necessary if residual sugars are present). Top off with similar wine, add an inert gas to displace any O2, then install airlock. Add more SO2 (1/4 tsp for 5 gals) every 3 months. If aging for long period, after making sure the wine has completely degassed, the HSE can be used instead of topping off. The winemaker should then, at least every week, turn on the vacuum pump to ensure that the HSE is still keeping O2 out. A final degas just before bottling when needed, and additional SO2.
 

Rice_Guy

Supporting Members
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2014
Messages
3,212
Reaction score
4,296
Location
Food Industry - - Retired
I've deducted that the best course of actions after primary is to first degas as much as possible using the AIO and HSE, then add SO2 (k-meta and sorbate when necessary if residual sugars are present). Top off with similar wine, add an inert gas to displace any O2, then install airlock. Add more SO2 (1/4 tsp for 5 gals) every 3 months. If aging for long period, after making sure the wine has completely degassed, the HSE can be used instead of topping off. The winemaker should then, at least every week, turn on the vacuum pump to ensure that the HSE is still keeping O2 out. A final degas just before bottling when needed, and additional SO2.
You sound like you are doing a kit, degassing is extremely important in kits with a 90 day turn around. CO2 holds particulates in suspension making cloudy wine.

my target is 1) rack from the primary at about 1.020 > 2) add .20 gram per gallon K meta & let it finish fermenting in the secondary a month or what ever it takes to have stable gravity below 1.000 > rack off gross lees, add 0.2 gm/ gallon K meta & let it clarify nine months, 3) do a final racking off lees, begin cycling vacuum/ wait half an hour, repeat vacuum/ wait. The end point is holding -5” Hg for thirty minutes (suction bulb pulls in at -5” Hg) , 4) at this point I bench trial sugar levels and make bottling decisions with a goal of being in a bottle by the end of the week, storage is with a cork and check valve/ no air lock. ,, I add K meta, BUT I do not add sorbate to nine month aged wine, ,,, (less than nine, six or seven month aged gets K sorbate). 5) bottling is with a vacuum corking tool (I like vacuum as a tool)
I will not rack at three months unless I have a process step I am doing which needs to be done now. My overriding goal is minimum air exposure/ oxidation.
Once the wine meets the thirty minute goal it is degassed. It seems that just sucking at -20 inches Hg doesn’t get more gas out. Time for mixing seems to be necessary to degas and it seems to always wind up over night.

Wine is forgiving, there are lots of tweaks that work.
 

nodor

Junior
Joined
Oct 11, 2021
Messages
10
Reaction score
25
You sound like you are doing a kit, degassing is extremely important in kits with a 90 day turn around. CO2 holds particulates in suspension making cloudy wine.

my target is 1) rack from the primary at about 1.020 > 2) add .20 gram per gallon K meta & let it finish fermenting in the secondary a month or what ever it takes to have stable gravity below 1.000 > rack off gross lees, add 0.2 gm/ gallon K meta & let it clarify nine months, 3) do a final racking off lees, begin cycling vacuum/ wait half an hour, repeat vacuum/ wait. The end point is holding -5” Hg for thirty minutes (suction bulb pulls in at -5” Hg) , 4) at this point I bench trial sugar levels and make bottling decisions with a goal of being in a bottle by the end of the week, storage is with a cork and check valve/ no air lock. ,, I add K meta, BUT I do not add sorbate to nine month aged wine, ,,, (less than nine, six or seven month aged gets K sorbate). 5) bottling is with a vacuum corking tool (I like vacuum as a tool)
I will not rack at three months unless I have a process step I am doing which needs to be done now. My overriding goal is minimum air exposure/ oxidation.
Once the wine meets the thirty minute goal it is degassed. It seems that just sucking at -20 inches Hg doesn’t get more gas out. Time for mixing seems to be necessary to degas and it seems to always wind up over night.

Wine is forgiving, there are lots of tweaks that work.
When I got my vacuum pump and started using it I was amazed at how the wine literally seemed to boil. It is incredible how much C02 is in solution. After some experimenting and a lot of reading on this forum and other resources I decided to try something a little different. The problem was as long as the pump was running I had co2 bubbling out but as soon as I turned it off cuz it was hot the bubbling slowed down. I figured that the negative pressure was slowly drawing the c02 off but most of the effect was at the top of the carboy. Steve (AIO) said that 3 or 4 rackings with the splash racking cane removes most of the gas as the wine was subjected to the vacuum as it ran down the sides of the carboy. I used that as a start point but I stuffed SS wool into the ss racking cane I use. This has 2 purposes. 1- gives nuculation sites for the co2 to create bubbles. 2- restricts the flow of wine. Restricting the flow allows greater vacuum to develope in the carboy and acts on the wine in the cane.
On the first rack by the time the carboy is 1/4 full I'm approaching 400 torr and mega foam. When the foam approaches the top I press the relief valve until the pressure drops to 300 torr. Then the wine stops foaming.
On the second rack there is almost no foam untill it gets above 400 torr. After 3 rackings it sits at about 550 torr with almost no foam. That is when I call it degassed.
 
Top