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Sep 18, 2021
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Got some Cabernet Sauvignon in the back yard so want to make some wine. Basically going to follow this video () and mix of reading guides I found on internet

High level instructions seems to be

1) Crush grapes in fermentation bucket and add potassium metabisulfite to stop oxidation

2) Check sugar level and adjust if needed

3) Leave for for 24hour with a cloth cover the top

4) After 24 hour add yeast

5) Let it ferment until it stop (about 5-7days) Punch down cap 3 times a day during. Add malic bacteria near end

6) Transfer juice / press pulp into carboy with airlock

7) rack a couple time to clear up the wine during the fermentation period to get rid of sediment

8) add potassium metabisulfite and bottle

Does this seem like a good start for a novice? Also when buying my supplies, the clerk mention that I should be adding potassium metabisulfite each time I rack.. Wouldn't that kill the yeast or malic bacteria? Most guide out there mention only to use potassium metabisulfite in the beginning and before bottling.
Yes malo-lactic bacteria are killed by metabisulphite. It is normal to omit meta till malolactic is over. ,,, you could “kill” the wild yeast in the juice with meta, a few of us let the wild yeast do the fermentation, as a newbie commercial yeast is safer.

? do you need a malo-lactic fermentation? In the Midwest (zone 4) with Minnesota hybrids? Then yes, as well as chilling to 30F ish to pull tartaric out. ,,, In the Central Valley no. Cab says California/ hot or warm climate ,,, an easy answer is what do the neighbors do, the harder answer is test pH and titratable acidity.

The process is basically good. I try to rack three or four times, roughly a week, a month and at bottling, and yes I add meta each time.

welcome to wine making talk :hug
A lot of us on WMT cringe at the mention of winemaking videos on YouTube, as many are really bad, but this one is reasonably good.

I wouldn't worry about the whole berries. The hand crushing/destemming does a decent job, and punching down 2 or 3 times per day will get 'em all. And besides, they'll ferment anyway.

As @Rice_Guy said, the initial dose of K-meta is not necessary. I've never worried about initial oxidation. If using a good commercial yeast, it will crowd out wild competitors, and the malolactic probably won't start with SO2 present.

Nor would I wash the grapes. A good commercial yeast will crowd out its wild competitors.

I add 1/4 tsp K-meta/5 gallons at each racking, and every 3 months during bulk aging.
Thanks for the feedback @Rice_Guy and @winemaker81 . I have a bucket of 6Gallon and a 5 gallon of cab grapes in primary fermentation. Was worried for the first day or so since I didn't see any activity. Yeast wise, I'm using RP-15 Rockpile and BM45 in the other bucket.

As for malo-lactic fermentation, I'm located in Gilroy so it could get around 60 at night 80s in the day time. Will add k-meta at each racking. Thanks!

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