Bottled wine is still fermenting?

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Montane73

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I made a 2 gallon batch of wine from cherries grown in a friend's backyard. I froze the cherries for 2 months before using. The recipe I followed never called for K_Meta or Campden tablets or K-Sorbate. I used a Montrachet yeast.

Where I went wrong I think is that it was a dry wine recipe but I wasn't liking the final flavour after it fermented dry. It was much too tart, so I back sweetened slightly.
Well 2 months after bottling I noticed some dark stains on the floor below my wine racks. The wine had begun to seep and bleed through the composite corks (see attached pic). I've never had this happen before after making at least a dozen batches of wine from scratch already!

When I uncorked one bottle, it popped slightly and fizzed but tasted quite good. I have since put the rest of the "bleeding" bottles in a refrigerator to be safe.

My question is should I be using Campden/K-Meta and K-Sorbate for every single batch of wine I make no matter what it's made from?

wine corks.jpg
 
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cmason1957

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Adding k meta, yes to every batch. It does so much good and doesn't do much, if any harm. K sorbate, yes, if you backsweeten or if you don't let it ferment to something below 1.000.

Now to that cork picture, did you happen to soak your corks in kmeta water or boiling water before using? I had some do that back when I used to soak before use, but never since I give them a very light spritz of kmeta and then insert.
 
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Montane73

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Good point, I often forget to treat the corks, doesn't seem to affect kit wines.
I'll be sure to do that from now on and "sterilize" the wine every time before bottling.
 

balatonwine

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My question is should I be using Campden/K-Meta and K-Sorbate for every single batch of wine I make no matter what it's made from?
It is first important to understand what something like K-Meta actually does so you can make an informed decision if they are really necessary and essential or just desired and helpful. Avoid just throwing in chemicals in type or amount unless you know what they are doing.

K-Meta is essentially an antioxidant, which means it removes free oxygen in the must. It has many uses in wine making, but adding it at the time of fruit crush is mainly to stun (starves them of oxygen) the existing microorganisms on the fruit (like wild yeasts and bacteria) so they are suppressed enough to allow your applied commercial yeast (Montrachet in this case) to out compete the wild yeast and bacteria.

Some fruit recipes simply say to pour boiling water over the fruit. This is also usually sufficient to suppress the wild microorganisms on the fruit and acts similar to K-Meta in this case to suppress unwanted microorganisms (in this case, you killed them with heat). Of course boiling water has no antioxidant properties, and for fruit wine that normally is consumed within a year or two the additional benefits of adding an antioxidant is, arguably, not necessary.

I have made cherry, black mulberry and dandelion wines with just boiled water and they came out fine. However, for a beginner, using something like K-Meta is probably a good idea as it more guarantees your success. However, the effectiveness of K-Meta will depend on the pH of your must (the higher the pH, the more K-Meta you should add). So you will need to be a bit of Chemist, and use pH meter. If the wine was sour when you tasted it, then the pH of the must may have been too low (especially if these were sour cherries) and you should correct for this before adding yeast, not after fermentation by adding sugar (unless you want a sweet wine or want to make sparkling wine).

K-Sorbate is a preservative. I agree with cmason1957, if you added sugar you need to probably add K-Sorbate. However, alcohol is also a preservative. And if your fermentation results were satisfactory (the wine's flavor, aroma and acidity were all good) and alcohol content (your specific gravity) was sufficient so you hit the wine making sweet spot, then you can usually rely on the alcohol alone to preserve your wine till you can drink it.

Wine kits take out all the guesswork by supplying a set of additives and instructions on their use to help reliably make a wine, taking the view that even if some additives are not needed for any batch, they won't hurt much (or any) if used. That is one view, and it is a fine one. Sans wine kit, I take the view that the more I can avoid adding chemicals the better. However, that method takes some experimenting and experience to hit that wine making sweet spot (for example, if one gets stuck fermentation, one may need to consider next time to add yeast nutrients).
 
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skyfire322

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However, alcohol is also a preservative. And if your fermentation results were satisfactory (the wine's flavor, aroma and acidity were all good) and alcohol content (your specific gravity) was sufficient so you hit the wine making sweet spot, then you can usually rely on the alcohol alone to preserve your wine till you can drink it.
Could adding a similar wine during the final top-off help this process?
 

Stressbaby

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Just to add to the above comments, backsweetening generally requires sorbate AND kmeta, not just sorbate alone.
 

Boatboy24

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Did you add any KMeta or Sorbate? As was stated, you need some KMeta for any wine. And anything that has been backsweetened or has any residual sugar should have Sorbate in addition. That you are getting a "pop" on opening, and some fizziness tells me the wine has started fermenting the sugars you added. Refrigeration was a good idea, but to be safe, you really should put it back into a carboy, add KMeta and Sorbate, then rack and rebottle a few weeks later.
 

Floandgary

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It seems that many of the "standards" have been either lost or not discovered yet (though mishaps provide the best education)!! Unfinished fermentation (no SG changes for @3 days) or additions of any form of sugars prior to bottling call for a Sorbate treatment. Left untreated, there will always be "Yeasties" of some sort wanting to devour sweets!
After corking, it's a good idea to leave bottles standing upright for a day or two to allow any gaseous pressure to dissipate through the cork vs trying to push wine through it... ;)
 

Montane73

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Thanks for the advice. I always leave my wines upright for several days, sometimes up to a week,
 

Johnd

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Thanks for the advice. I always leave my wines upright for several days, sometimes up to a week,
In that case, it definitely rules out the bleeding due to pressures created by corking. The options presented by other posters are more in play in your case.
 
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