Bulk aging

Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum

Help Support Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum:

edsey

Junior
Joined
Jun 25, 2015
Messages
14
Reaction score
18
During aging for say 1 year, should I rack at any time even if there is no sediment and should I rack when adding Kmeta every 3 months ?
 

ChuckD

Supporting Members
Joined
Nov 29, 2021
Messages
635
Reaction score
1,229
Location
NE Wisconsin
During aging for say 1 year, should I rack at any time even if there is no sediment and should I rack when adding Kmeta every 3 months ?
From what I have learned it’s no, you don’t need to rack if no or minimal yeast Lee’s. And no you can just pop the top and add the K-meta. Not sure if you should stir that in though. Better wait for more experienced voices.
 

BarrelMonkey

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2021
Messages
157
Reaction score
216
Location
Northern California
Agree with @ChuckD, the only time you really need to rack is to get it off gross lees. A second racking might also be helpful once fine lees have settled, but a lot of winemakers keep the fine lees through bulk aging (depending on the style of wine). Fewer wine movements is generally better, particularly with whites that are more prone to oxidation.

I've heard different opinions on whether to stir in the Kmeta. You definitely want to get it into solution before adding it, and I like to make sure it's not super-concentrated at the point of addition, but I don't think it's necessary to thoroughly stir it into the bulk wine.
 

NorCal

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
Joined
Apr 17, 2014
Messages
3,677
Reaction score
4,920
Location
Sierra Foothills, Nor Cal
I only do grape wine from fruit. I press, let settle for 24/48 hours, rack. When MLF is done (6-12 weeks) rack. 3 months later rack (unless it was super clean fruit, I’ll skip), rack a day or two before bottling. I‘ll check SO2 at racking after MLF, and every 6 weeks in barrel, 9 weeks in flex tank and 12 weeks if in carboy.
 

Scooter68

Fruit "Wine" Maker
Joined
Aug 29, 2015
Messages
4,017
Reaction score
3,325
Location
Northwest Arkansas
IF you don't have the means to check your SO2 levels, racking every 3 months with a K-meta addition is considered the safe route. You may do fine without racking and K-Meta additions and the choice is yours. The key is how much risk you are willing to take and of course your experience in the hobby.

The issues raised stem from a couple if diverse schools of thought - One seeks to follow the old world ways without chemicals, and rudimentary processes. The other seeks to use all the modern products to reduce risk and produce more consistent results. Keep in mind that in Europe there are some very strict rules about additions to wine and those seem to be a mix of both preserving the tried and true methods and protecting the public. Most of those rules apply only to wine that will be sold.

One last thought, Remember the comments in movies etc where certain years are noted as being far above other? That was for at least two reasons. First the quality of the grapes due to weather and growing conditions and secondly due to possible variations in how well the wine was processed that year. If all you do is take the grapes and use identical processes every year the variations due to environmental differences can still significantly affect the outcome. These days wineries have people on staff to take the key measurements of the fruit before they even harvest it in order to try to produce a consistent result.
 

Jovimaple

Kaptin Winemaker
Joined
Feb 11, 2021
Messages
474
Reaction score
943
Location
Minnesnowta
@Rice_Guy can correct me if I am misrepresenting his words, but I seem to recall him pointing out on another thread that the kmeta protects by binding with the oxygen, and the oxygen would be at the top of the carboy, so the kmeta doesn't need to be stirred in to do its job.
 

hounddawg

Dawg
Joined
Oct 23, 2014
Messages
3,811
Reaction score
4,287
Location
40 mile yonder & PLUM NOWHERE
every time you rack , you add K-meta to avoid oxygendation , once it has cleared up and you no long need to rack ,,you have no need to keep adding, beings you keep your airlock full, as @Scooter68 stated the 2 schools of thought, i was raised with the old fashioned country way, but to keep to continually make good wine year after year,,, i married the old with the new ways, so i produce a descent wine year after year, @Scooter68 is very good at what he does,,
Dawg
 

wineview

Supporting Members
Joined
Sep 12, 2018
Messages
598
Reaction score
299
I only do grape wine from fruit. I press, let settle for 24/48 hours, rack. When MLF is done (6-12 weeks) rack. 3 months later rack (unless it was super clean fruit, I’ll skip), rack a day or two before bottling. I‘ll check SO2 at racking after MLF, and every 6 weeks in barrel, 9 weeks in flex tank and 12 weeks if in carboy.
What temperatures do you keep your wine during MLF?
 

Rice_Guy

Supporting Members
Joined
Jan 29, 2014
Messages
2,670
Reaction score
3,362
Location
Food Industry - - Retired
contents: Traditional red wines resists oxidation better, oxidation develops color, sulphite bleaching, measuring reductive strength, less odious- chemistry principles, sulphite free wine, 43 minutes
* Oregon Wine Symposium 2016 | Oxygen Management in Winemaking, Clark Smith author Post Modern Winemaking, Are you curious about your wines appetite for oxygen? How does temperature influence oxygen uptake? Is SO2 as effective as we think it is? How do we "grow" structure in the vineyard to help us manage oxygen in the winery? Oxygen considerations when making white wine and Pinot noir will be presented. Your wines appetite deserves your attention in this session!
@edsey ? ? adding Kmeta every 3 months ?
A how sloppy is your technique? Factory made wine operates with a legal limit of how much SO2 can be added to the food. We look at the process to identify risk/ oxygen exposure and minimize oxygen exposure which translates to less SO2 is used in commercial wine than home wines.
what are you fermenting? Red grapes have polyphenols which react with oxygen so it was possible to make good reds in the 1700s without chemicals. Whites and fruit wine do not have the oxygen buffering capacity so meta is needed to build shelf life. Other as temperature, iron and copper and light exposure also create oxidation.
Scott Labs and Nomacork have given training/ sales seminars and I posted hours of info related to oxidation/reduction/ risk in the thread COURSE, the logic goes back to every operation moving wine out of a SS tank creates a risk so operations are minimized. As home wine maker I routinely add 50ppm but only if I have a purpose in opening up a carboy, my goal is three transfers before bottling

should I rack at any time even if there is no sediment?
Factories do; hazard analysis and critical control points. There is little risk just letting wine sit is stainless. There is risk every time a wine is moved (as 1-5ppm oxygen pick up) or bottled (around 10-15 ppm oxygen). percentage risk is larger in a small five gallon carboy (more in 750ml) than a five thousand gallon tank. ,,,,, The positive on all this is that Redox state of a wine is like money in a wallet. You can get away with spending some, the wallet is bigger with lots of polyphenols, ,, and a few ppm oxidized ethyl alcohol (Acetaldehyde) will not be detected in a taste test.
The articles say that gross lees will putrify (release sulfur based compounds from protein) so it is worth while removing them. As a home wine maker my technique is not sloppy enough that I have experienced this. As a contest judge I see enough acetaldehyde but not putrification flavors. ,,,,, Your goal as a winemaker is to minimize risk.
 
Last edited:

Rice_Guy

Supporting Members
Joined
Jan 29, 2014
Messages
2,670
Reaction score
3,362
Location
Food Industry - - Retired
I have the Vinmetrica 100, which measures milliamperes (Redox potential while titrating) but not pH. The SC300 will measure both. The titration is easy to run. The chemicals are expensive at $50 but it still is fairly cheap per test run. The vinters club SC300 has had issues with the contacts on the probe, so far mine is good.
What are you guys using for reliable SO2 testing...
 

BarrelMonkey

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2021
Messages
157
Reaction score
216
Location
Northern California
I keep the wine between 64-69 degrees in the wine box I made to store wine in a garage, even in 100 degree weather. I use a vinemetric 300 to measure free SO2.
That wine box looks really cool (hah!) though I had to laugh/cry when you said that all that framing lumber, plywood and screws only cost you $140...
 
Joined
Nov 5, 2006
Messages
4,881
Reaction score
12,357
Location
Raleigh, NC, USA
Before performing ANY action, ask yourself, "What benefit am I getting from this action?"

I see no value in racking during bulk aging unless there is gross lees, or if I need to get wine away from an additive such as oak cubes. Racking exposes the wine to air and contaminants, so in this case it produces risk without a balancing benefit.

Free SO2 gets used up as it binds with contaminants (including O2) to render them harmless. I add 1/4 tsp K-meta per 5 US gallons every 3 months during bulk aging to replenish losses. Keep in mind that light damages wine, so being in a sealed container is not 100% protection.

When adding K-meta, I gently stir the wine as wine has no convection currents and the K-meta will not evenly distribute without a bit of help. Vigorous stirring is not necessary and I do not recommend it. I use a drill-mounted stirring rod, gently stir the wine at low speed for 10 or 15 seconds, add the K-meta in a gradual stream, and then stir again.

I have been practicing bâtonnage (stirring of fine lees) and this goes hand-in-hand with adding K-meta.

Another reason for stirring is to ensure test samples reflect the wine as a whole. IME the wine next to oak cubes will absorb a LOT more oak character than is generally in the batch. Gently stirring the wine an hour ahead of sample homogenizes the wine so taste testing is more accurate.

but I seem to recall him pointing out on another thread that the kmeta protects by binding with the oxygen, and the oxygen would be at the top of the carboy, so the kmeta doesn't need to be stirred in to do its job.
O2 is not the only potential contaminant, so I recommend stirring to distribute.
 
Joined
Nov 5, 2006
Messages
4,881
Reaction score
12,357
Location
Raleigh, NC, USA
I have never thought to do this. Makes sense. It will be standard procedure from now on.
I found this out the first time I racked a barrel. After racking I poured the loose sludge (fine lees) into a 1.5 liter bottle and put it in the fridge for a week. The sediment settled to ~1", and I poured the clear wine off it.

The wine was TOTALLY undrinkable, it was so heavily oaked. Serious AACCKKK!!! The barrel was neutral and I had 6 oz medium toast cubes for flavoring. The wine came from around the cubes.

Over the next few months I used that wine to top the barrel. I figured the wine had already been in there, and the excess oak character would be diluted. This proved very correct, and it saved me 1.5 liters of lost wine ... and taught me a valuable lesson.
 

NorCal

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
Joined
Apr 17, 2014
Messages
3,677
Reaction score
4,920
Location
Sierra Foothills, Nor Cal
Happened to do my testing yesterday.
82C300EA-0E41-4AE8-AAA1-9E8563ABD842.jpeg

Results were as follows, and actually different than what I would have expected. This is the first test since MLF completion, where I hit all the wines with 55 ppm SO2. Normally I would see the barrel consuming 25% more SO2 than a Spiedel and even a higher % if it is in a glass carboy. I think it goes back to the initial condition of the grapes and that the Petite Sirah barrel this year was all free-run.

Petite Sirah blend in a 60 gallon barrel - 32, consumption of 2.0 ppm of SO2 per week
Mourvedre in a Spiedel - 26, consumption of 2.5 ppm of SO2 per week
Cab Franc in a Spiedel - 24, consumption of 3.0 ppm of SO2 per week
Estate blend in a Spiedel - 20, consumption of 3.4 ppm of SO2 per week

It does show that a 1/4 tsp (1.5 grams), which is 50 ppm for a 5 gallon carboy every 3 months would assume a consumption of 3.8 ppm per week. Making that addition, on that schedule, in that container would be very safe.
 
Joined
Feb 25, 2017
Messages
4,779
Reaction score
4,128
Location
Centerville, Northern Virginia
Happened to do my testing yesterday.
View attachment 83932

Results were as follows, and actually different than what I would have expected. This is the first test since MLF completion, where I hit all the wines with 55 ppm SO2. Normally I would see the barrel consuming 25% more SO2 than a Spiedel and even a higher % if it is in a glass carboy. I think it goes back to the initial condition of the grapes and that the Petite Sirah barrel this year was all free-run.

Petite Sirah blend in a 60 gallon barrel - 32, consumption of 2.0 ppm of SO2 per week
Mourvedre in a Spiedel - 26, consumption of 2.5 ppm of SO2 per week
Cab Franc in a Spiedel - 24, consumption of 3.0 ppm of SO2 per week
Estate blend in a Spiedel - 20, consumption of 3.4 ppm of SO2 per week

It does show that a 1/4 tsp (1.5 grams), which is 50 ppm for a 5 gallon carboy every 3 months would assume a consumption of 3.8 ppm per week. Making that addition, on that schedule, in that container would be very safe.
You've been doing this a lot longer than me but I have to tell you a 10 ml burette makes it so much easier.
 

Raptor99

Fruit Wine Alchemist
Joined
Sep 6, 2020
Messages
409
Reaction score
610
Location
Oregon
@NorCal Thanks for sharing your test results. We need more experiments like this to provide a solid basis for our choice of procedure.

Did you do more than one test since adding the Kmeta? It seems to me that most of the free SO2 would be used up in the first week. Once the dissolved O2 had been removed, the SO2 levels would probably not decline as much. If you only did one test after adding the Kmeta, then I'm not sure that that can be projected to a certain amount of consumption per week.

If you do more than one test, you would let in some O2 each time you open the carboy for a test. So the best test would be several identical containers with wine from the same batch. Add equal amounts of Kmeta. Then open them at different times and test the free SO2. For example, test one after 1 week, one after 1 month, one after two months.
 

Latest posts

Top