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Apr 2, 2008
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Thanks to those of you who answered my previous question. I have another. I started my wine around late September, have racked twice and will do my third tonight. My question is when should I bottle? I know there are many schools of thought out there, so what are the pros and cons? Based on my previous non-wine brewing experiences, I'm guessing that the wine could be bottled right now if we wanted to make the carboy available, or we could keep aging it in the carboy and bottle at a later time. Bottle aging vs carboy aging?

Also, with summer coming, whether we age in carboy or bottle, what temperature do I want to keep the wine at? Max/min.


As you stated you can bottle now provided it has cleared or you can continue to bulk age. At this stage it's pretty much your call. I personally like to free up carboys to have them on hand when I'm ready for them.

I keep my wines between 73-78F since that's what my home is normally kept. The worst thing for wine storage is wide swings in temp.
Bottle aging versus bulk aging is a matter of preference
and chemicals.

Bulk is less influenced to temperature changes as bottles will be.
Think of it like a small pool of water and a big one.
The smaller one will cool and heaten faster as the big one
and that will be the case in the bottles versus the carboy.

Temperature is another issue.
Wine aging has to do with chemistry.
Most chemical processes will fasten if they are heated.
So the compounds in the wine will react with eachother
faster when temperatures are higher.
A wine will eventually get 'over the top' and a lower
temperature will help putting that time into the future.
On the other side there is a real taste difference between
a wine that is aged and a young wine.
Best is to age a (non-kit) wine for a year.
For kits look at the packaging that indicates the aging period.

So if you have a cool cellar it is preferred to keep the wine

When aged in bulk there is the obvious advantage that
you will not drink it too soon..........
When aged in bottles the advantage is a free carboy.....

You choose :p

It certainly is a preference. I like to bulk age my wine in carboys for anywhere up to 2 years. The important think is to keep the wine properly sulfited and to make sure there is minimal head space (air) between the wine and the cork. I keep the head space at about an inch. If you have temperature swings the wine can expand so if you have too little head space you may find the wine in contact with the cork or it can even pop the cork off the carboy.
So it can be bottled as soon as it clears? Doesn't matter if I use egg white or clearing agents (gelatine) to clear it up quickly? I only have the one carboid so I am kinda wanting it back right away.

Does the flavor chage a whole lot when I leave it in the basement for a long time? I mean if it's not so nice going in the bottle, is it going to be much better later?
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Measure the SG of the wine.
If it is around or below 1000 and the wine is not 'bubbling' anymore and the wine is clear it is ready for bottling.

If you want to sweeten it you will have to stabilise it with sulphite and sorbate to prevent refermentation.
Then you will have to wait again for a few weeks if indeed the fermentation will not start again.
Then you can bottle.

And indeed age the wine.
The flavor will change a lot when wine ages.

I never used to age my wines and drink them young.
For some wines that is ok they are meant to be drunk young.
But most wines will improve dramatically when aged.
One example is dandelion wine which will be ready to drink one year after it is made. Before that it is not or barely drinkable.

I have a beet wine that is now in its second year of aging and is till not good.......

I made a wine from concentrates (store bought juice) which is now a pleasant wine after 6 months aging.

So do yourself a favor and lock the bottles away.......

Hi Luc,

I'm making that Jam recepie :D

It's been a few days now and most of the bits of fruit are on the bottom, except a very thin skin on top. I have stired it each day, be that skin keeps coming back.

When is it time to rack? Not to bottles yet, but to the secondary?

It's still bubbling away but if I understand it, I should get the wine away from all that stuff on the bottom of the bucket.

How can I be sure there is enough yeast still suspended to keep up the good fight?

Again, does it matter how I get the yeast out later? If I use these two pots of stuff from Ethos.. kalium sorbaat and sulfiet poeder then the yeast will all drop out and fermentation is done for sure right, I also have klarvit, and even 24 turbo klaar, but will these products impart nasties to the wine? I wouldn't want to rush it now and wait months to taste someting awful ;)


Just wait until the wine stops fermenting.
Then you should rack it of the lees.

If you will rack it now, you will not only rack it off the lees
but also rack it of most of the yeast cells that live at the bottom
of the carboy. You could therefore stop fermentation and end with a sweet wine.
Or fermentation might stop and then start again if the colony of yeast cells that float in the wine is big enough to restart the fermentation.
So just wait until fermentation stops.

Kalium sorbate and sulphite will not stop fermentation.
Sulphite will stun the yeast for a certain time but in the end fermentation will start again.
Kalium sorbate does not kill the yeast but it will stop the yeast reproducing.

So Sulphite and Kalium sorbate are only used when a wine is finished. Then it is cleared and when it is totally ready the two chemicals are added to make sure that the (very small number) of yeast cells in the wine will not start reproducing and making a big colony again.

I never used klarvit. But I did once use turbo yeast. It imparted off-flavors to the wine as it is meant for making pure alcohol only which is de-coloured and stripped of flavors by active coal.
So the 24 turbo klaar is not meant to fine normal wines. I think it may strip your wine from flavors and color as it is meant to be used with turbo-yeast where this does not matter.