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Festa Grape Juice

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cuz

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I have been using Festa juice/wine kit for 3 years. Started to try different stuff. This year I tried a Pinot Noir and Merlot. I added oak chips, sugar to bring potential alcohol up to 15% and used a different yeast other that the one they give you. I used Lavlin SC 1118 because it can live in high alcohol (up to 18%).

The problem I am having is some bottles(seems to be random) is they have a fizz to it when opened. When I researched it I found that it could either be that the wine started to ferment again in the bottle or may have a bacteria. Although the article stated that bacteria presents as fine bubbles . These bubbles are pretty big when you first pour and the wine tastes like champagne.

I am thinking that because I added sugar and used the SC1118 I should have let it ferment longer. The Festa Kit instructions let the wine ferment 14 days. My hydrometer did sink to 0 before I stabalized the wine. Then I started reading about Malic acid fermentation but it seems that when you buy a kit with pasteurized juice you don't have to worry about that. I'm thinking I may have changed that when I added the sugar and changed the yeast.

Any thought as to where I went wrong and how to prevent it. Do you think anyone will get sick from the wine. Already gave some away.
 

pebbles2015

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Degas the wine? When I was new, I didn't Degas the wine sufficiently and it was like a sparkling when I opened the bottles. No problem, just decant and the wine is fine. Not dangerous as long as the top doesn't come off.
 

Spikedlemon

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My guess would be the same as above that it wasn't fully degassed. Decanting or those bottle-mounted-aerators would work to help this situation on your wine.

Now, I assume you're buying the pasteurized versions of the Festa Juice? I've only ever got the pre-inoculated version with, what I assumed was, EC1118. What yeast did they provide you?
 

cuz

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I don't recall what yeast came with the bucket. The past 2 years of buying Festa I wasn't satisfied with the alcohol content. Definitely not like grandpa's wine. So I did some internet research and found a yeast that would tolerate at least 15% alcohol. Then added sugar to get a potential alcohol of 15%. I think I should have let it ferment longer.
 

Mismost

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time is always a good thing to add to your wines....but I suspect you have co2 gas in your wine. Pull a cork, pour out a small glass, stick your thumb in the bottle, and give it a good shake...pop your thumb and listen for a hiss or a pop...that's gas.

if you have just shake it out...or pull the cork and it sit for an hour or so before drinking...I do a little of both.

do the same test next time before bottling and then you don't bottle gassy wine,
 

cuz

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So if CO2 is my problem (I was hoping that it was not a bacteria or a MLF problem) how did I get it and how do I prevent it - aside from shaking the bottle before corking.
 

Spikedlemon

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More aggressive degassing and/or more time for the CO2 to dissipate while it's in a carboy.

How long are you ageing in a carboy and how are you currently degassing?
 

sour_grapes

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I also tend to think the problem was just insufficient degassing, but, based on what you wrote, I cannot completely rule out refermentation in the bottle. You wrote:

I am thinking that because I added sugar and used the SC1118 I should have let it ferment longer. The Festa Kit instructions let the wine ferment 14 days. My hydrometer did sink to 0 before I stabalized the wine.
If your hydrometer read 0 brix (or 1.000 SG), then there was still sugar in it. Alcohol is less dense than water. At the conclusion of fermentation, my wines generally fall to SG = 0.992 or so. When that same must was at at 1.000, there would have been about 2 brix sugar "hidden" in there.

You say you "stabilized" the wine at this point. What do you mean, exactly? It is difficult to stop an active fermentation, so you may well have had a little additional yeast fermentation after bottling.
 

Spikedlemon

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Not to mention that my recollection of the Festa Juice kit instructions are a 4month timeframe before bottling.
 

sour_grapes

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Well, that raises a couple of questions: Did you ensure the SG was 0.996 or less before adding the k-meta? Did you wait 4 more weeks before bottling?
 
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