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Beginner needs some advice (Few Questions)

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BigEasy43

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So this is my first time using wine kits as I have always done all grain beer kits. My favorite Mother in law likes wine, so that's how I got here. So I have done a Riesling and a Merlot. I have a few questions:

This degassing get's me all worked up as I feel like I am not doing it correctly. With the White I used a spoon to stir over two days (8 times) and with the Red I used a cut plastic clothes hanger on a drill and did the same amount of times over two days. Do I need to do it this much when using a drill?

With the wine kits it states to let the wine sit in bottles for white one month and red two months does this need to be done? Called my local wine making store and was told no need as they are only 4 week kits and not much more finish will happen.

Also I noticed that both my wines finished at 0.994 after the primary fermentation, so do I need to put in secondary for another 12 days?? Or can I skip this step??

Any help would be great. Thanks
 

cpfan

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This degassing get's me all worked up as I feel like I am not doing it correctly. With the White I used a spoon to stir over two days (8 times) and with the Red I used a cut plastic clothes hanger on a drill and did the same amount of times over two days. Do I need to do it this much when using a drill?
Did both methods fully degas the wine? Personally I find that a round-and-round action is not as successful as a back-and-forth method. Thus I don't think a drill helps much. Temperature is more important. A warmer wine degasses faster.

With the wine kits it states to let the wine sit in bottles for white one month and red two months does this need to be done? Called my local wine making store and was told no need as they are only 4 week kits and not much more finish will happen.
One month minimum for either kit. Longer aging is better.

Also I noticed that both my wines finished at 0.994 after the primary fermentation, so do I need to put in secondary for another 12 days?? Or can I skip this step??
Don't be in a rush. I would put it in secondary and let it sit to ensure that fermentation is finished.

Steve
 

Scooter68

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1) Kit instructions give timelines that are not related to reality. The reality is the wine will be done fermenting when it's done fermenting - Not 4 or 5 or how ever many days they state in the instructions. The only way to track the status of a fermentation is with a hydrometer. Even with a kit wine an initial reading should be taken and then monitored.

The accepted standard for determining the end of fermentation is when the SG reading is below 1.0000 and remains unchanged for 3 days or more. Unless you have a sudden and extreme drop in the temperature where the wine is sitting, that is the best way to know when the wine is finished fermenting. Your reading of .994 suggests that the wine in probably through fermenting. BUT check that reading for at least 3 days. If it remains unchanged then it is indeed finished fermentation and ready for the next steps of clearing, aging, stabilizing, back sweetening (If desired) and then bottling.

While your wine store may say the wine is ready at 4 weeks - That only means it should be "drinkable" in 4 weeks. That does not mean it going to be enjoyable in 4 weeks. Wine needs time to clear, and to lose the sharp 'edge' that is present in all new wines. There is a big, huge difference in the taste of a drinkable wine and an enjoyable wine.

Degassing - There are several methods to degassing including the methods you are using. Some folks use a vacuum pump to pull out the CO2 gas or the "All in one" pump mentioned on here. Others just let time do the job for them. A wine aging in proper conditions will degass itself normally within 6 - 9 months. (Unless it's aged in a very cool room with temps below about 55 degrees)

The hardest thing for new winemakers to learn is patience (He says looking in the mirror). Aging wine at least 9-12 months is a good starting point. Wine, unlike beer, simply gets better with age.

Hopefully your M-I-L will understand about aging making things better.
 

Smok1

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I use a vacuum pump to degas while racking over 9-12 months, however i did but the metal wand for the drill, it works pretty good, stirring with the spoon never quite worked for me, maybe i just dont have the patience
 

tjgaul

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Whatever you decide as far as the secondary and/or bulk aging, you can always feed the M-I-L a few of the bottles as early drinkers and save at least half a dozen to see how much better they get over time. She will thank you when you pull out the 18 month old gem and it tastes fantastic.

Not sure it was mentioned above, but adequate degassing is essential to allowing the wine to fully clear. Especially if you are planning to bottle soon after fermentation. The suspended CO2 binds to particulate in the wine causing it to be difficult to clear. I've used a drill mounted wine whip from the start and have very good luck degassing . . . sometimes too good. Can you say volcano of foam?

Good luck.
 

jgmann67

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I would give it a little time in a secondary vessel to finish fermentation and allow for some of the junk to fall out of the wine. Your wine is in no danger of spoiling and (as many have repeated) time is your friend.

On the subject of degassing, even when you think you've sufficiently beaten the CO2 out of the wine, you could still be looking at enough residual to impact your flavor. I also age wines at least six months in a carboy (I have sufficient stock and can wait a year now). From primary to bottling, I vacuum pump the wine over at least four times.

Also, you should consider your wine temperature when degassing. Best results are at 70*+.
 

Scooter68

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Should the M-I-L ask when the wine will be ready a good response would be: "Wine, like women, Get better with age." That should keep her happy and a happy M-I-L means a happy wife and peace in the family.
 

BigEasy43

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So leaving the Wine in the secondary for a number of months causes no issues? I assume as long as the temp is correct.
 

GreenEnvy22

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So leaving the Wine in the secondary for a number of months causes no issues? I assume as long as the temp is correct.
As long as it's airlocked in secondary, you can age it for years if you want to. You'll want to rack it into another container if you can see any visible sediment (lees) on the bottom of the container. Usually you need to do this once a couple weeks after primary fermentation is done, and again a few months down the road.
As other said, time is your friend. When a wine first finishes ferment, it has a very sharp flavour. Over time, this mellows out. Degassing helps with this, as the trapped CO2 is responsible for some of that sharpness.
I really like the vacuum pump (all-in-one) method, since it racks and degasses at the same time, while also limiting exposure to oxygen.

Temp is somewhat important in my experience, but not the most important. My wines all ferment and age im my cellar, which is under my porch.
In summer it's up in the mid 20's celcius (mid 80's) and in winter it's like 10 c (45-50F). i'm sure keeping it constant would be better, but I still really like how my wines turn out. Temp control is probably more important for long term storage, like 5+ years. I haven't had any wines get that old yet.
 

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