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eightysixCJ

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My second year making wine.

I have this grayish-purple stuff in the neck of my carboys. It appears to have risen from the wine, sliding up the top of the carboy and collected at the neck. Not seeing anything else weird in the wine.

I crushed 6 crates of California Cabernet Sauvignon and one crate California Merlot. Fermentation seemed to go great, I pressed after nine days when brix was at -.5* and moved to four 5-gallon carboys.

After ten days I racked into fresh 5-gallon carboys and added 2.5tsp K-Sorbate and 1.5gm K-Meta to each carboy. I topped each with some tap water to bring the level up to the necks. The wine smelled and tasted fine.

After about a week I saw this. It does not seem to have gotten any more significant/any more amount.

Does it look like something to be concerned about? If so, any suggestions? Any comments on my process so far?

Thanks,

Tom
 

Charlietuna

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Never seen anything like that. But it's my first year of doing wine from grapes. Hope someone can chime in with a positive answer for you.
A side note, be very careful adding water to top off carboys. It's easy to dilute it too much. I use my older wine of a similar type. Store bought if you don't have any around.
I've seen a friend ruin a wine kit by adding water because the instructions told him too.
 

Luse_Cellar

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I concur that topping with water isn't the best idea. It probably didn't ruin the wine, especially if it still tastes good, but going forward it is far preferable to not add any water except maybe some right at the start if sugars need to be reduced. This is because that water addition then gets skin contact throughout fermentation and basically becomes wine. After this time, water will purely dilute the wine and should be avoided.

I take it you won't be putting the wine through ML? It's tough to tell, and that's a pretty thick mass of stuff so it would seem to me to be something added to the wine. I would say it'd be best to rack the wine with the intention being to not get any of this into the racked wine. Whatever it is, it can't be good unless you're intending on making sherry. It may be of low consequence but at any rate I would get the wine away from the stuff and sanitize that carboy as soon as possible. Going forward, try to limit oxygen exposure, and top the carboy with more volume (with wine this time preferably). If active fermentation is no longer happening, it's best to top the carboy all the way to the top if you're using a carboy cap. If you're using a bung or stopper, again assuming no more active fermentation is going on, then the level of the wine should be right at the bottom of the stopper/bung. Give the wine a really good smell and taste take note of what you find. Any "barnyard," vinegar, rotten egg, cooked cabbage, rotten garlic, etc. type smells should be of concern. If no bad odor is noticed, the stuff on top is likely of little consequence.
 

wineforfun

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Why did you add sorbate, especially this soon?
Are you planning to backsweeten this wine?
 

Rob_S

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I concur about adding wine instead of water, and when you have to add small amounts of water say when you are adding yeast nutrients, etc. at the beginning, or sulphites later on dissolved in a bit of water, you are better off using distilled water so not to add any chlorine or anything else.

Rob
 

JohnT

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Never top off with water. You should re-check your acid levels and adjust with an addition of tartaric if needed. The Ca grapes normally run light in acid to begin with, so I would make this a priority.

As far as that stuff in the neck of the bottle, it looks like yeast to me.
 

lisanordmann

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I had the exact same thing happen with my chambourcin. I added metabisulphite and suctioned it off. I kept the carboy topped up and it went away. I think it is called yeast film infection.
 

eightysixCJ

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Thanks folks.

I usually top off with store bought wine but had none the day I had time to rack. Just topped with about a pint in each but will use wine from here on.

I did not plan to run through ML but prior to racking there was a period of tiny bubbles. I haven't tested yet to see if it went on it's own.

Jim, that's kinda my impression but not having experienced this last year I figured it's best to ask. Last year I had a much smaller ring of something similar. More gray in color. That was in a 5-gallon batch and did not return after the next racking. So far no off odors or any sign of bubbles or increase in whatever it is.

It's been a couple of weeks. I had planned on racking after a month or so but guess I'll rack shortly. I also plan to add oak cubes with the next racking.

Tom
 

eightysixCJ

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Never top off with water. You should re-check your acid levels and adjust with an addition of tartaric if needed. The Ca grapes normally run light in acid to begin with, so I would make this a priority.

As far as that stuff in the neck of the bottle, it looks like yeast to me.
Thanks John,

I'll check. Is the yeast an issue to act on?

Why did you add sorbate, especially this soon?
Are you planning to backsweeten this wine?
I don't plan to backsweeten. A friend recommended stabilizing it sooner so I tried that. I'm guessing I did not need do that with reds?

Tom
 

Johnd

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I did not plan to run through ML but prior to racking there was a period of tiny bubbles. I haven't tested yet to see if it went on it's own.
Tom
At this point in time, MLF would ruin your wine if it took place. The presence of sorbate in wine which undergoes MLF produces an irreversible geranium odor and is considered a major wine fault. Keep your sulfite levels up above 50 PPM and consider adding lysozyme to prevent MLF.
 

Floandgary

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I concur that topping with water isn't the best idea. It probably didn't ruin the wine, especially if it still tastes good, but going forward it is far preferable to not add any water except maybe some right at the start if sugars need to be reduced. This is because that water addition then gets skin contact throughout fermentation and basically becomes wine. After this time, water will purely dilute the wine and should be avoided.

I take it you won't be putting the wine through ML? It's tough to tell, and that's a pretty thick mass of stuff so it would seem to me to be something added to the wine. I would say it'd be best to rack the wine with the intention being to not get any of this into the racked wine. Whatever it is, it can't be good unless you're intending on making sherry. It may be of low consequence but at any rate I would get the wine away from the stuff and sanitize that carboy as soon as possible. Going forward, try to limit oxygen exposure, and top the carboy with more volume (with wine this time preferably). If active fermentation is no longer happening, it's best to top the carboy all the way to the top if you're using a carboy cap. If you're using a bung or stopper, again assuming no more active fermentation is going on, then the level of the wine should be right at the bottom of the stopper/bung. Give the wine a really good smell and taste take note of what you find. Any "barnyard," vinegar, rotten egg, cooked cabbage, rotten garlic, etc. type smells should be of concern. If no bad odor is noticed, the stuff on top is likely of little consequence.
Actually,,, if you need to add any more than 750ml of anything to top off, you'd do well to simply go to a smaller vessel. Save a lot of worry:db
 

wineforfun

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I don't plan to backsweeten. A friend recommended stabilizing it sooner so I tried that. I'm guessing I did not need do that with reds?

Tom
I never add sorbate if not backsweetening.

Also, I wait until wine is clear and close to bottling before adding sorbate, if and when I do use it.
 

eightysixCJ

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At this point in time, MLF would ruin your wine if it took place. The presence of sorbate in wine which undergoes MLF produces an irreversible geranium odor and is considered a major wine fault.
Will sorbate have the same affect if MLF occurred prior to adding sorbate?

I never add sorbate if not backsweetening.

Also, I wait until wine is clear and close to bottling before adding sorbate, if and when I do use it.
Same for white wine? I was told, but did not find it in any of my books, that the sorbate was needed to stabilize the wine prior to degassing.

Thanks,

Tom
 

Johnd

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Will sorbate have the same affect if MLF occurred prior to adding sorbate?



Same for white wine? I was told, but did not find it in any of my books, that the sorbate was needed to stabilize the wine prior to degassing.

Thanks,

Tom
If you have any live bacteria in your wine when there is sorbate in the wine, you run this risk. Sorbate and MLF do not mix.

Sorbate is birth control for yeast, it keeps it from reproducing, rendering it unable to metabolize sugar into alcohol. Regardless of color, red, white, or rose', you don't need sorbate if your wine is dry and you don't intend to add sweetness to it. It is not necessary for degassing, but is typically furnished by kit manufacturers as extra insurance for the winemaker.
 

eightysixCJ

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If you have any live bacteria in your wine when there is sorbate in the wine, you run this risk. Sorbate and MLF do not mix.

Sorbate is birth control for yeast, it keeps it from reproducing, rendering it unable to metabolize sugar into alcohol. Regardless of color, red, white, or rose', you don't need sorbate if your wine is dry and you don't intend to add sweetness to it. It is not necessary for degassing, but is typically furnished by kit manufacturers as extra insurance for the winemaker.
Thanks John. This is very helpful.

Tom
 

wineforfun

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What John said, concerning sorbate. ^^^
 
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