first time wine makers

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Sep 24, 2009
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me and my wife are making our first batches of muscadine wine. they have been in the ferminters for 32 days. the recipe we have calls for them to be in the ferminter for 30 days, but the fruit has not all settled to the bottom. we were told by an old timer that when it is done all the grape hulls will settle to the bottom. we do not know if we should wait untill all solids have settled to strain or go ahead and syphon off the liquid. any advice would be much appreciated
I haven't been lucky enough to do any actual grapes yet, but I'm sure one of the more experienced moderators will be along with some great advice.
They sure have helped me greatly.
And last but not least, welcome to a great forum.
That isn't the method I use but here goes. After primary fermentation (on the skins for 5-7 days) I siphon off the skins into a sealed container with an air lock after which fermentation will cease after all sugar has been consumed and converted to alcohol. In your case I would siphon the liquid off the skins into a container fitted with an air lock and add one crushed camden tablet per gallon of liquid. This will help preserve your wine (keep it fresh and avoid spoilage). After it has cleared siphon off dregs and add 1/2 tsp of potassium sorbate per gallon then sweeten to taste and bottle.
Keep reading the forum to learn the proper methods of wine making to improve your skills.
I have never seen a recipe that tells you tp leave the fruit in that long ad really dont recommend it as the fruit can easily go bad and spoil your whole batch.
I have never seen a recipe that tells you tp leave the fruit in that long ad really dont recommend it as the fruit can easily go bad and spoil your whole batch.

agreed. it should be racked and airlocked after creating ~10 % alc. by volume to keep out the nasties and remove the pulp or "meat."
Sorry guys I do not agree at all.

I had to look it up because this process did not look all too strange to me although I have never done it myself. As I do not have grapes to work with.

This way of winemaking is called extended post fermentation maceration.
What you try to achieve by this is to extract more color, flavor and tannin out of the skins.
This is used sometimes by professional commercial winemakers with certain grape varieties.

The point is that some components in the skins will dissolve in water and others will only dissolve in alcohol. So dissolving in water can be done by cold maceration, in alcohol by this method called post fermentation maceration.

The point is that it is difficult to know when to stop this process. It can be anything between 1 day and a month (or even more).
The alcohol and sulphite will protect the wine from spoiling.
But you do need to have some expertise in knowing when enough components have been extracted. And that is something a beginner is not likely to know.
Tasting is the obvious method, then again a beginner might be confused when tasting a young wine.

Anyone want to read more about this process take Daniel Pambianchi's book Techniques in Home winemaking page 178 and up.

In this particular case I think sound advise is given.
Rack the wine and transfer to secondary. I have no expertise on muscadine wines, but I do expect the limit on extraction has been reached.

Good info Luc, Ive never read up on post fermentation soak, many times the pre fermentation. I dont think you would really want this on a muscadine though.
thanks for the advice everyone, we have decided to use the campden tablets and rack the wine, but are going to leave the grapes in one batch and see how it turns out. we will let everyone know how it turns out. thanks again,