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Degas Wine from Grapes?

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sfmike22

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Hello, please don't shoot me if I missed the answer, I did a quick search and didn't find anyone asking the question prior...

I have made several kit wines and learned in the process degassing the wine is critical to success. I am currently making my first batch of wine pressed from grapes (2018 Brentwood Cabernet Sauvignon). My question; Is degassing a critical step in the process of making for wine from grapes? The various instructions I have read do not seem to place an emphasis or even call for the step?

Thanks - I'm a newbie, appreciate the help.
 

Ajmassa

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Nope. Not critical at all. One of many natural questions when going from kits to grapes. [emoji1303]
Only critical for kits because they instruct to bottle so early. I Didn’t even know degassing was a “thing” until I bought my 1st kit. Kits will do that: lead you to believe each suggested step is critical to the process.
Time and routine racking usually has it free of co2 by 9-12 months of not earlier for me. Naturally Co2 free was how my family would decide to bottle.
 

Boatboy24

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As AJ said, it isn't necessary, but the kits are marketed to be bottled in 8 weeks or less. If you're making wine from grapes, bulk aging and/or barrel aging; the degassing will happen on its own. (and if you are making wine from grapes, you SHOULD be aging for at least a year)

Welcome to WMT!!
 

bathman

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So do you need to keep an airlock on the vessel when aging to allow the wine to degas and release CO2? Or do you only need to use the airlock for a short period after racking?

Just wondering, I have just started aging my red and was going to put bung the airlock hole to make it completely air tight, but now worried this will prevent degassing
 

NorCal

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So do you need to keep an airlock on the vessel when aging to allow the wine to degas and release CO2? Or do you only need to use the airlock for a short period after racking?

Just wondering, I have just started aging my red and was going to put bung the airlock hole to make it completely air tight, but now worried this will prevent degassing
Not sure the answer to your question. I just use a vented silicon bung, waIt a year, then don’t have to worry about it.
 

Johnd

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So do you need to keep an airlock on the vessel when aging to allow the wine to degas and release CO2? Or do you only need to use the airlock for a short period after racking?

Just wondering, I have just started aging my red and was going to put bung the airlock hole to make it completely air tight, but now worried this will prevent degassing
Yes you need to use some type of an airlock to allow gas to escape as it comes out of solution. As stated above, a vented silicone bung allows this to occur as well, and also what I use.
 

winemaker81

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Dissolved CO2 holds sediment in suspension longer. Degassing eliminates the CO2, so the wine will clear more quickly. It's not essential, but it is beneficial. Now days I degas all wines, kit or otherwise.

I started mead in late August. In late September I degassed and fined with kieselsol/chitosan, like the kits. I racked it 2 weeks later, and when I just looked at the carboy, there is no sediment. The method used by kit wines works for anything -- it's not specific to kits. I could bottle now but will probably wait a month. I'm an old school guy who is adapting to modern techniques.

One of the reasons for bulk aging is to clear the wine. If not degassing, the CO2 can take months to come out of suspension, so (of course) the wine takes months to clear. The modern technique of degassing/fining eliminates the need for bulk aging. The only reason I would bulk age is if the wine is in a barrel or is being oaked with cubes/chips/dust.

This doesn't mean you shouldn't age the wine for a year before drinking -- most reds benefit from at least a year of aging, as do most whites. But don't feel bad if you "peek" at the 3 or 6 month mark. I find it beneficial to understand how wine changes as it ages.

If your'e interested, I wrote a white paper on bulk aging in which I go into more depth: https://wine.bkfazekas.com/bulk-aging-wines/
 

Ajmassa

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Dissolved CO2 holds sediment in suspension longer. Degassing eliminates the CO2, so the wine will clear more quickly. It's not essential, but it is beneficial. Now days I degas all wines, kit or otherwise.

I started mead in late August. In late September I degassed and fined with kieselsol/chitosan, like the kits. I racked it 2 weeks later, and when I just looked at the carboy, there is no sediment. The method used by kit wines works for anything -- it's not specific to kits. I could bottle now but will probably wait a month. I'm an old school guy who is adapting to modern techniques.

One of the reasons for bulk aging is to clear the wine. If not degassing, the CO2 can take months to come out of suspension, so (of course) the wine takes months to clear. The modern technique of degassing/fining eliminates the need for bulk aging. The only reason I would bulk age is if the wine is in a barrel or is being oaked with cubes/chips/dust.

This doesn't mean you shouldn't age the wine for a year before drinking -- most reds benefit from at least a year of aging, as do most whites. But don't feel bad if you "peek" at the 3 or 6 month mark. I find it beneficial to understand how wine changes as it ages.

If your'e interested, I wrote a white paper on bulk aging in which I go into more depth: https://wine.bkfazekas.com/bulk-aging-wines/
Very cool. Thanks for sharing that paper. I can see how through your years of making wine you came to these conclusions.
There’s a couple items I’d like to point out in favor of bulk aging that you didn’t mention though.
1. The use of fining agents. If deciding to bottle early then fining agents are necessary. Whether keilosol/chitosan, or isinglass, bentonite, superkleer, pectin, dualfine etc.. something is gonna be needed. I haven’t read any studies or seen it myself- but some would argue that certain agents can also strip out some desireables as a byproduct of clearing. (Tho I have seen filtering strip color 1st hand)
2. Above all else, the main benefit from bulk aging is options. In bulk you still are able to work on the wine. Bottling is completely final. No more tweaking. I don’t like to make tweaking decisions until the wines a little further along and have a better idea of what’s needed. Could add oak (and French oak can take much longer to take) or finishing tannin, perhaps an acid adjustment or sweetening. Fortifying maybe. Or if not up to par then can decide to blend down the line.
But once bottled all those options are off the table. I totally respect your opinions— they’re based off your experience after all. But i also think it depends on the winemaking style. I enjoy tinkering with those things. To me it’s fun while I’m also learning with each unique batch. I also ike to bottle when it’s good- knowing it will get better. Bottling young wine i’d be less confident of the final product.
 

winemaker81

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Very cool. Thanks for sharing that paper. I can see how through your years of making wine you came to these conclusions.
I hope the paper is useful. I try to stick to verifiable facts and experiences.

1. The use of fining agents. If deciding to bottle early then fining agents are necessary. Whether keilosol/chitosan, or isinglass, bentonite, superkleer, pectin, dualfine etc.. something is gonna be needed. I haven’t read any studies or seen it myself- but some would argue that certain agents can also strip out some desireables as a byproduct of clearing. (Tho I have seen filtering strip color 1st hand)
I didn't mention that fining agents are required for early bottling? Thanks for pointing that out, I will update the document. Actually, I expect that I'll be updating the document at least a few times in upcoming months as I spot or am notified of errors and/or deficiencies.

Also thanks for pointing out that fining agents and filtering strip out elements that contribute to flavor and aroma. That is one of the reasons I stopped filtering.

I may pull together a list of what agents strip out what, although that may be a separate white paper.

2. Above all else, the main benefit from bulk aging is options. In bulk you still are able to work on the wine. Bottling is completely final. No more tweaking. I don’t like to make tweaking decisions until the wines a little further along and have a better idea of what’s needed. Could add oak (and French oak can take much longer to take) or finishing tannin, perhaps an acid adjustment or sweetening. Fortifying maybe. Or if not up to par then can decide to blend down the line.
Good point.

I'm used to making such decisions relatively early in the process, so it didn't occur to me that others would do so later. I suspect that is due to the people who contributed to my early learning in wine making. Nearly 40 years later a lot of that early knowledge is quite relevant ... and I'm still unlearning a few things ... :)

But once bottled all those options are off the table. I totally respect your opinions— they’re based off your experience after all. But i also think it depends on the winemaking style. I enjoy tinkering with those things. To me it’s fun while I’m also learning with each unique batch. I also ike to bottle when it’s good- knowing it will get better. Bottling young wine i’d be less confident of the final product.
Also a good point! You and I are experienced -- we're comfortable with tinkering, and accepting that we have the potential to mess up a batch. It's part of our own personal risk styles.

But for a newbie, like our OP (sfmike22), I offer basic advice. I want his first batches to go well -- it will give him confidence and keep him going. A failure early on could discourage him and push him away from a rewarding hobby.
 

Ajmassa

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Also a good point! You and I are experienced -- we're comfortable with tinkering, and accepting that we have the potential to mess up a batch. It's part of our own personal risk styles.

But for a newbie, like our OP (sfmike22), I offer basic advice. I want his first batches to go well -- it will give him confidence and keep him going. A failure early on could discourage him and push him away from a rewarding hobby.
Lol. Not exactly “experienced” like you. I’m just a total winemaking nerd. True many years making wine. But only a few yrs since actually reading and researching.


I didn't mention that fining agents are required for early bottling?

Also thanks for pointing out that fining agents and filtering strip out elements that contribute to flavor and aroma. That is one of the reasons I stopped filtering.
No my response was just poorly worded. I was only pointing out that some winemakers have reported stripping of certain elements. And myself with filtering. That’s all

And again, Thanks for sharing.
 

winemaker81

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One thing to keep in mind is that we're all students. We should all be continually learning and thinking.

My opinion on bulk aging and degassing is only months old. Last summer someone made a comment on this forum -- and I cannot remember the exact comment or who said it -- but it got me thinking. I did some research, and then did a practical experiment. When done with everything, I wrote a white paper to formalize my thoughts, and that's what I posted above.

Looks like I'm a wine making nerd, too!
 

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