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Shackybracky

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Hi everyone.

This is our first attempt at making wine and it appears to be going well. We have used a Wine Expert Chai Maison Chardonnay kit. We have followed the instructions exactly and the wine has been in the second plastic fermenter for 24 days now. We checked it after 14 days but it wasn't clear so we left it longer as per the kit instructions and it's now looking nice and clear. I have a couple of questions about what we do now.

Although clear, there are a few bits floating in the glass as we draw some out of the tap. Is there a way to prevent these small bits going into the bottles?

If we want to age the wine for longer than six months am I right in believing we need to add something like metabisulphate? If so how much and when?

Thanks in advance.

Kev and Rach
 

Scooter68

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Hate to be a PITA here but there is Clear and then there is Crystal Clear. And sometimes on closer examination it turns out to be hazy.

So Back to the question - with a question - where is the tap you draw from located? If it's close to the bottom of the fermenter then the tap is pulling debris from the bottom of the fermenter. As a rule a glass container is far better for aging the wine than plastic and you can more accurately determine if the wine is truly cleared and ready to bottle. So an additional racking into one or more glass carboys would be advisable if it is currently in a plastic bucket or plastic carboy. You can buy them or find them at local recycling centers. Most of the ones I've found are actually 4 liter bottles (1 gallon + 7 oz) but they work great, I just plan on that extra amount of must to fill my 4 liter carboys.

So you can eliminate the finer lees by a careful racking and at the same time add the metabisulfate you need to preserve the wine while it ages. Racking should be repeated about every 30 days. Some add another dose of metabisulfate every time they rack and other folks (my process as well) is to dose the wine every other time it's racked.

Now as it gets closer to being finished and you are ready to bottle there are filters that you can use to do a final, pre-bottling polishing of the wine but those filters cannot handle a hazy wine - You'd end up with a less hazy wine perhaps if the filter doesn't stop up half-way through your filtering. So it's good idea to have that wine in a clear glass carboy so that you can decide when it has completely cleared. Most kit wines now come with fining agents to clear the wine, if yours did not that's not a bad thing, it just means that the maker felt it wasn't needed or they decided to let the wine maker determine if the needed fining agents or what type they want to use.
 

Shackybracky

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Hi Scooter. Thanks for the reply.

The kit used Isinglass to clear. The wine looks very clear in a glass. By looking through it can see magnified details of what's on the other side of the glass.

The tap is on the bottom of the plastic fermenter.

What kind of filter would you recommend?
 

jgmann67

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If it's me... Once I get to the end of the instructions (racked like I'm about to bottle), I'll leave it 3 months undisturbed (other than checking my airlock for vodka). Then, rack it to a clean carboy, dose with KMS and wait another three months. At the sixth month, taste it.

Is it what you were hoping for? If not, figure out why. It may not be properly degassed, for example. If it's clear and tasting great, and you want to bottle it, great. Rack it, dose with KMS and leave it overnight.... Then, bottle.
 

JohnT

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I agree with Jim. There is a great benefit to bulk aging. New wine (although clear now) can/will continue to drop sediment over time. The longer you bulk age, the more of that sediment is removed when you rack or bottle. I bulk age my wines for a minimum of 18 months.
 

DoctorCAD

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24 days is just not long enough to bottle.

Let it sit for 3 to 6 months and then start to think about getting ready to bottle.

The longer you wait, the better it will turn out (within reason, of course).
 

Scooter68

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The kit information (Advertising) says ready in 4 weeks. Key here is regardless of what the instructions say - how does it taste? Nowadays so many of these kits are designed for rapid fermentation and consumption quickly. The only issue I see with aging your wine is that the alcohol content advertised is at the low end (10%) of what is recommended it you are planning on keeping your wine and aging it for an extended period. Aging it shouldn't be a problem but First thing I would do is get it out of any plastic containers into glass.
 

Shackybracky

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Thank you all for your replies.

What is KMS and how much do we dose?

When we rack into a glass carboy do we need to maintain the steady temperature for the whole time it is in there? We have been using a heater to keep it within a degree of 24°.

What is 'checking an airlock for vodka'? We have just had water in the airlock.

Should we be tasting the wine as it is now or just rack it into a glass carboy and not taste it for 3 to 6 months? The instructions said not to taste for at least a month after bottling, which it said to do now.

We have a lot to learn and we don't want to waste the effort we've put in so far.
 

jgmann67

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Okay -

KMS or Potassium Metabisulfite. Dose with a 1/4 teaspoon per 6 gallon carboy of wine. I thief some wine and premix it, then pour into the carboy before racking it over.

Changing temps are okay provided they're gradual. If you can keep your wine at 72* F, groovy.

Everyone keeps their airlocks topped up differently. Some use a kms solution, others use just water. Still others, like me, use cheap vodka for airlocks. It keeps bad stuff from happening to your wine.

Taste your wine! It's the only way you truly know whether it's ready for the bottle. Honest, I taste all along the process - it helps me get a better feel for where I am and what I'm doing to the wine. An ounce is fine.
 

StBlGT

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Do not bottle. Way too early. I made a sauv blanc kit and just racked it after 3 months of bulk aging and there was quite a bit of sediment. I am letting it go another 3 months before bottling.
 

Shackybracky

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The shop sold us a tub of sodium metabisulphite. Is this ok to use or do we need to source potassium metabisulphite?

We will taste some wine today and see what we have. We'll also get a glass carboy too.
 

StBlGT

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Sodium is good for sanitizing. Potassium is the go-to when sulfiting the wine to prevent oxidation and what not (the stage you're at). Will sodium work? Yes. But, do you really want to add sodium to your finished wine????
 
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Shackybracky

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We want to the shop to get a glass carboy and potassium metabisulphite and...it was closed. So I'll call in on Monday after work.

We had a taste of the wine and I can't say it's pleasant at all. It's almost got a burn to it, almost acidic, and no real oak flavour. It's the right colour and clear but we wouldn't drink it if that's the final flavour. Have we done something wrong or does it just need longer?
 

jgmann67

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We want to the shop to get a glass carboy and potassium metabisulphite and...it was closed. So I'll call in on Monday after work.

We had a taste of the wine and I can't say it's pleasant at all. It's almost got a burn to it, almost acidic, and no real oak flavour. It's the right colour and clear but we wouldn't drink it if that's the final flavour. Have we done something wrong or does it just need longer?

You definitely have gas...
 

Shackybracky

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Lol too many curries.

When we did the degassing we used a drill attachment to stir the wine and we noticed the bubbles get less and less until there was very little left that wasn't go away. So what do we do to get the rest of the gas out? The air lock will bubble maybe once every couple of hours.

The 21 litres of wine is in a 30 litre plastic fermenter. Does the the airspace make a difference? Does it need to be in a carboy that's closer to 21 litres?
 

jgmann67

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How to get the gas out? Three ways:

Free and simple - stirring, time and temperature.

Cheap and simple - brake bleeder and glass carboy.

More expensive, less work and equally simple - vacuum pump and glass carboy.

As to your container question: Yes. Once you're done fermenting, you should minimize your wine's exposure to oxygen. So, the less airspace the better. Your wine will oxidize otherwise.

Example: meet the twins...

ImageUploadedByWine Making1473508068.989831.jpg

To me, the one on the left has a little too much airspace (I topped it up to the neck). The one on the right is fine.

If your wine is still making your airlock bubble, even once every couple hours (or even once every day for that matter), then it's not ready to bottle.
 
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Shackybracky

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Ok thank you very much for your help. It's extremely helpful and without it we would have just followed the kit instructions and bottled what we have now and probably ended up with something we didn't want to drink.

I will get the glass bottle on Monday and stir the wine for longer. I will also research what a brake bleeder is.

The kit specified a temperature of 22°C to 24°C so we have had it steady at 24. Is this temperature ok for getting the glass out?
 

montanaWineGuy

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New wine makers are eager to bottle and admire their success. I was one of those. And although it is not recommended, I'd do it again. Now on my 3rd season of wine making, I can wait, and I know the pitfalls of early bottling. I've had exploding bottles, and corks being popped out and wine being spilt. If you do bottle early, drink it soon.
 

Scooter68

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Best way I can describe the difference in a new wine and an aged wine is that the new wine has a sharpness, an edge that gets you attention to the determent of the wines actual taste. An aged wine will mellow and you are able to clearly taste the complexity in your wine not a bite on the tongue are sharp aftertaste.
 
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montanaWineGuy

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We had a taste of the wine and I can't say it's pleasant at all. It's almost got a burn to it, almost acidic, and no real oak flavour. It's the right colour and clear but we wouldn't drink it if that's the final flavour. Have we done something wrong or does it just need longer?
Probably needs some sugar.
 

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