Bottling head space

Discussion in 'Wine Making from Grapes' started by derekjames100, Feb 10, 2019.

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  1. Feb 10, 2019 #1

    derekjames100

    derekjames100

    derekjames100

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    This may be an ocd question but...

    I have varying head space in my bottles after bottling...due to settling I believe. Some bottles have almost no space between the bottle and the wine. Some have an inch.

    I read ideally that it should be 3/4 inch space for temp fluctuations. But does a quarter inch to 1/2 inch variation each way matter that much?

    All of them have the wine crossing the shoulder to the neck. Some stop there and some go all the way to the cork, I would saying ranging from 1/4 space to 1 1/4 inch space.

    Am I obsessing too much. I need these bottles to last 18 months for a family event.
     
  2. Feb 10, 2019 #2

    dralarms

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    It’s better to have it between 1/2 to 3/4 inch. But if it’s over the shoulder and into the neck you should be fine for now. How are you bottling that it varies by that much?
     
  3. Feb 10, 2019 #3

    derekjames100

    derekjames100

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    I use the all in one wine pump I bought from Steve. I thought I was consistent but it seems to have settled.
     
  4. Feb 10, 2019 #4

    dralarms

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    Sounds like you don’t have it set correctly. Using it you can fill the bottle almost full, and then push the pressure release valve and let the level go back down to the correct level. Of course this only works if the carbon is lower than the bottle.
     
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  5. Feb 10, 2019 #5

    derekjames100

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    Thanks. Should I unicorn and rebottle? Does an extra 1/2 inch risk oxidation? I know of people that do 1-1.5 inches for beer
     
  6. Feb 10, 2019 #6

    dralarms

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    If it’s in the neck it’s probably fine.
     
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  7. Feb 10, 2019 #7

    stickman

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    I think headspace oxygen plays a role, but not enough to warrant re-bottling; the wine would pick up far more oxygen during the re-bottling process.
     
  8. Feb 11, 2019 at 12:20 PM #8

    bstnh1

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    I bottle using an auto siphon and spring loaded bottling wand - lift the wand and the flow stops. I let it fill until it reaches the top of the bottle, then lift it. Using #9 corks, I get a very consistent 1 1/4" head space. No issues even after 5 years in the bottle.
     
  9. Feb 11, 2019 at 12:37 PM #9

    FTC Wines

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    D J 100, We use the AIO bottling system and our head space has been uniform for over a 1,000 bottles. That’s about 2.5 years. Seems to me your holding the release button inconsistently, but I can see how that would give you high neck levels but not low levels. Just my 2 cents, Roy
     
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  10. Feb 11, 2019 at 2:18 PM #10

    bstnh1

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    What exactly do you mean by "settling"?
     
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  11. Feb 11, 2019 at 6:41 PM #11

    Rice_Guy

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    # Agreed - to re cork after removing a few ml with a baster (or dropper) would likely oxygenate a second time. To empty into a pail and re-bottle should saturate the wine with oxygen another time:

    Some quick numbers with a bordeau bottle: the volume of a cork is about 10 ml, add the target 3/4 inch ullage and you are at 19 ml of ambient air when you start corking. If you are at 1.5 inch ullage you are at about 28 ml of space. The oxygen in the neck probably is under pressure so some/ to all of it entered the wine creating what is called bottle shock a first time.

    Theoretical damage;To saturate 750 ml takes 4.5 to 5 ml of pure oxygen (but the atmosphere is 20% O2) therefore 22 to 26 ml of ambient air can saturate the wine in a 750 ml bottle. ie when you corked the bottle you may have pushed enough oxygen in to get to 80% to 100% saturated oxygen in the wine. If you are using cork the suggestion is keep it upright to let the excess pressure bleed out the pores on the cork for 3 days, therefore reality may be half as bad as theory would predict.

    Some of the big wineries flush with nitrogen or do vacuum corking.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019 at 11:12 PM
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  12. Feb 11, 2019 at 8:24 PM #12

    bstnh1

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    If 3/4" head space is 19 ml of ambient air, then 1/1/4" would be about 31.6 ml. If 22 to 26 ml of ambient air will saturate the wine with oxygen, then every bottle of wine I have made with 1 1/4" ullage should have been oxygen saturated. And yet not a single bottle of wine has ever been bad.
     
  13. Feb 11, 2019 at 11:08 PM #13

    Rice_Guy

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    The initial question was should one rebottle. I would argue that there isn’t enough expected good simply for the purpose of reaching a target fill level. It would be like pushing the product through bottle shock a second time.

    The chances are good that every bottle we both have made goes through bottle shock. Likewise we probably put SO2, in at 40ppm for reds / 60ppm for whites and country wines to condition the wine so it can absorb some oxygen - It gets bottled - It produces some acetaldehyde- the acetaldehyde reacts with SO2 and is reduced back to alcohol - we don’ have levels develop that can be tasted after bottle shock stabilizes. There is some tolerance in oxidation chemistry and quite a bit of tolerance if you focus mainly on reds. it would be interesting to find some papers on tolerance for oxidation in bottled wine and follow to when it expires. The closest I Have seen would be that in oak barrels a range of 30 to 40 ml oxygen per liter per year should be expected to slowly diffuse in and react with tannins/ alcohol etc. or a racking could quickly infuse 5 to 6 ml of O2 per liter. BUT what does this translate into for shelf life?

    All in all the “skilled in the art” stories say minimize exposure, top off carboys, flush with CO2 and nitrogen, buy a DO meter, minimize exposure to light, and there is a gain in shelf life. It seems for me that when I started being more conscious about air exposure (mainly a country wine maker) it became easier to get a year old and not have notable off flavors starting.
     
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  14. Feb 12, 2019 at 2:37 AM #14

    vacuumpumpman

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    If you have any questions about the allinonewinepump - please contact me directly as I will walk you thru the entire process if needed to make sure that you get it consientant liquid level fills.
     

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