En Primeur Chardonnay stuck fermentation at 1.003

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RichB1

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After fermenting in a 72 degree room down to around 1.015, I racked to a carboy and put the carboy in my keezer at 70 degrees. After a few days I got a bit overzealous based on advice from "an expert" and turned down my inkbird to 65, then to 62, then to 60, despite the instructions recommending fermentation temp 65-72. A week later, expecting gravity to be well below 1.000, I was surprised to see that it was at 1.003.
Discovering the likely temp mistake, I moved the carboy back inside and left it for another 5 days, expecting the yeast to warm back into activity. No luck. Still at 1.003. Although only 5 points off the target FG of 0.998, there is definitely sweetness that I would like to reduce if at all possible.
Is it worth getting a yeast starter going at this point (I am an avid beermaker so quite familiar with yeast starters), maybe with champagne yeast that supposedly is pretty active? Anything else that might help? I am reluctant to stir up the yeast/lees at this point but am open to suggestions. Or should I accept the 1.003 and a slightly sweet chardonnay? I plan to keg it with argon after clearing, but I could possible turn part of it into sparkling wine with CO2. I have a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc kit arriving this week that I was planning to eventually carbonate but I could keep it still and use the chardonnay for the sparkling wine experiment. Apparently carbonation makes the wine taste significantly drier than in still form. Thanks in advance for any advice. Rich
 

VinesnBines

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I had a stuck Chardonnay and nothing seemed to get it kick started. I moved it out of carboys into buckets, added starter after starter, finally threw up my hands at 1.030 and poured it back into a keg and carboy. It started re-fermenting almost immediately. I'd say stir it up, I don't think a starter will push it over the edge. If all else fails, make it sparkle.
 
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@RichB1, welcome to WMT!

I agree with @VinesnBines, a bit of agitation may help. Your temperature is probably fine -- I ferment fall wines in the low- to mid-60's F and rarely have problems. Don't worry about stirring up sediment -- it dropped once, it will drop again.

Everything you know about beer making does not apply to winemaking. The most important thing is the "P" word -- patience. Winemaking is an exercise in patience. I've had wines take months to ferment out -- this is not typical, but it's also not unknown. When it happens, don't sweat it.

How long has the wine been in primary? If it's more than a week, rack to a carboy and ignore it for 2 to 4 weeks. [Part of patience is setting aside your own need to see how things are going and let the yeast do its thing.]
 

RichB1

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Thanks for the replies. I racked it from fermentation bucket to carboy about 2 weeks ago.
I took @VinesnBines advice and agitated the sediment then vacuum transferred to another carboy, then back, for added agitation. Hopefully that woke up the yeast.
I am thinking of making a starter tonight using a stir plate that should be ready to add to the carboy by tomorrow afternoon. First time making wine starter.
I read somewhere boil a cup of water with 3 tablespoons sugar in my 2 liter flask, cool to room temp, add a cup of wine from carboy, then aerate and pitch the yeast packet and let it run overnight on my stir plate until high krausen (or the equivalent in the wine world).
I also read to add yeast energizer to the carboy.
Any thoughts on doing or not doing yeast starter at this point?
Also, what is your opinion on heightened risk of bacterial infection of stuck fermentation? I have been pretty good about sanitation - starsan everything. Based on @winemaker81 comments, I assume not something to be overly concerned about...
Much appreciated!
 
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Also, what is your opinion on heightened risk of bacterial infection of stuck fermentation? I have been pretty good about sanitation - starsan everything. Based on @winemaker81 comments, I assume not something to be overly concerned about...
Your wine will set in bulk for months. If you are practicing good hygiene and (post-fermentation) top up the carboy and keep the airlock full of liquid, the wine is in no more danger than it is in the bottle.
 

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