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Wynecellar

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So, I just finished my first attempt at homemade wine. I'm trying to figure out how to curb the extreme acidity of it. I have already added calcium carbonate trying to calm it down but it hasn't seemed to do much. When I say high acidity I'm talking real high. Like almost vinegar.
 

Scooter68

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Need specifics to answer:
Type of wine Grape, Peach, Strawberry, Apple?
What are the pH or TA numbers. (Before you added the Calcium Carbonate and after)
When you say fininshed - do you the fermentation just finished?
What was the starting and finishing pH?

New wine is going to be rather harsh, tasting

Would also be helpful if you provided the recipe you used and the steps you took in preparing and making the wine including time spans.
 

Wynecellar

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It is from late season vignole grapes. I dont have a ph tester and i have no idea what TA is. I threw in the campden about 4 days ago.
As for the recipe i didnt really use one. I took 150 lbs of grapes @ 24% sugar (according to the refractometer), and processed them to April. 20 gal of juice, and let it sit for a month and a half. (My girlfriend is from Europe and told me how their family has done it for generations.) After testing it with a hydrometer it's now at 1% sugar. I then threw in the Camden to stop fermentation and tasted it. I then racked as much sediment out of it as i could. After tasting it and realizing how tart it was I added the calcium carbonate according to the directions. I then back sweetened with 2 quarts of simple syrup and half a cup of honey.
 
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Wynecellar

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Basically, i know now that I did a whole lot of stuff wrong from the beginning but I'm trying to save it if at all possible.
 

jgmann67

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Rather than guess, you should really spend a few bucks for a pH meter ($100+/- for a good one) and an acid test kit ($20 +/-) and figure out what your numbers are. You are probably way out of whack with a low pH and a high TA. But, until you know... you don't.

At least some of the harshness might be co2 in the wine. It's a good thing at this point in the process. But, you'll need to look beyond it to get a sense of what you have.
 

Johnd

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Not to mention that all of the backsweetening you have done, without sorbate, will possibly renew fermentation at some point. Hopefully that happens before bottling.

Before next season, and before you buy equipment, get a book and read, I’d suggest the following book:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1550652362/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20
 
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Stressbaby

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You probably know this already but after adding calcium carbonate, the calcium tartrate can take a long time to precipitate out. Small adjustments may be better made with potassium carbonate, but this can raise the pH a lot more.

So in my opinion your wine may not be stable from a couple of points of view. First, you have unfermented sugar, both from backsweetening and from incomplete fermentation. Second, you may have calcium instability from the calcium carbonate. If you want to prevent fermentation of the remaining sugar, you need to stabilize with sorbate and sulfite (KMS or Campden). This sugar will offset the acidity to some degree. Knowing the TA will help address the taste problem. If you can get those numbers somehow, post them here.

One other thought, maybe there is something about late harvest Vignoles. In 2013 I made Vignoles - the numbers didn't look bad, looked like it should have made a decent wine - 3.04, 0.84%, 1.104. I never could get that wine balanced. Maybe too much alcohol. At that time the only tool in my toolbox was sugar, so that is what I tried, I also watered it back just a bit, but it was still overpowering and tart. My wife ended up using it in wine spritzers. I have two bottles left and it is probably past its prime but I'll crack one open tonight and see if time has helped any. I made 6 gallons this year from the same vineyard, but picked earlier. 2.85, 1.5%(!), 1.086. I adjusted preferment with calcium carbonate, fermented it VERY COOL with QA 23, and I swear if you stuck your nose in a glass right now you couldn't tell it from a NZ Sauv Blanc.
 

Scooter68

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Along with what stressbaby has said...the affect of calcium carbinate can take some time to show up in your measurements. That means adding, stirring, tasting should not be done all in one day. Add, stir, wait at least a day then taste. Otherwise you could end up with a flat/flabby wine that could become infected by bacteria due to not having enough acid.

Don't give up and don't let all the responses take the wind out of your sales or curb your enthusiasm. Hang in there. Part of making wine is the learning process and the smile that grows each time a new batch turns out better than the last.
 

mike1431

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it keep fermentig

i have a 1gal, bach strawbbery wine 2.5 munths old. i added 1/2 Tsp/gal Sorbate.
to the wine so i could bottle but it started fermenting a cuple day later when i added suger to sweeten. what do i do.
 

Smok1

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i have a 1gal, bach strawbbery wine 2.5 munths old. i added 1/2 Tsp/gal Sorbate.
to the wine so i could bottle but it started fermenting a cuple day later when i added suger to sweeten. what do i do.
Is the sorbate new or old? Did you add any kmeta?
 

mike1431

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starting gravity was at 1.090 it finished at .994 The yeast i used was lalvin RC212 the hole pack the resipe did not say.
i added Sorbate then wated 24hr, then back sweetend Gravity is at 1.030 then the next day it stated fermenting.
 

Smok1

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Its a new bottle and no i did not use Kmeta
Im gonna let someone else chime in on this but pottassium sorbate just stops the reproduction of the yeast, it doesnt kill the yeast thats still in your wine, so i believe you might be seeing the yeast left in there is now feeding on that sugar. What i do is make sure it ferments dry, rack, and stabilize with the proper amounts of kmeta and sorbate, then backsweeten. Thats also quite a heavy backsweetening, for my liking anyways, i usually backsweeten to 1.000-1.005, 1.030 is alot of residual sugar
 

mike1431

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if i add some Kmeta that might help i hope. Thanks for the help. P.S. ya it is pretty sweet all most to sweet for me. But the wife would disagree lol. you have a grate day.
 

Peter Gaulton

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My two bits of advice are that 1) potassium sorbate will stop the yeast from reproducing, so effectively stop fermentation. 2) storage of a grape wine below 5C will encourage potassium tartrate to precipitate out and form crystals which enables you to rack the wine off leaving the crystals behind. I made wine from Phoenix grapes this year which had acidity of 1.2% expressed as tartaric acid. That worried me. After cold storage the racked wine had acidity of 0.66%. Bingo!
 

heatherd

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@mike1431 You are right, kmeta will definitely help, so I'd add that to stabilize your wine.

The typical order is:
-Ferment to dry (which you did)
-Add kmeta to stabilize
-Let wine clear, and add more kmeta every three months
-Let the wine degas while clearing
-Add potassium sorbate when you are ready to sweeten
-Sweeten
-Give some time for the flavors to integrate
-Bottle

Best of luck!
 

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