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Fruit wines using hot plate.

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David Barber

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Good Morning!

I started making fruit wines. So far, they have been excellent! I started using a hotplate and monitoring the fermentation container to keep it at 95 degrees F. I had read that yeast grow well at this temperature. The fermentation occurs about 1 day faster using this method. Any thoughts on this? I'm not an experienced winemaker. This is my first time. I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts. Thanks! Dave Barber, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 6 November 2019
 

Johnd

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Good Morning!

I started making fruit wines. So far, they have been excellent! I started using a hotplate and monitoring the fermentation container to keep it at 95 degrees F. I had read that yeast grow well at this temperature. The fermentation occurs about 1 day faster using this method. Any thoughts on this? I'm not an experienced winemaker. This is my first time. I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts. Thanks! Dave Barber, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 6 November 2019
Wine yeasts have different ranges that they operate well within, and the type / style of wine that you intend to make can affect your decision as to what temperature range you would like to conduct fermentation. The ideal range for most yeast is well below 95F, though it may not kill the yeast. Consider looking at the information published by the yeast manufacturer on your selected yeast and use that as a guide to the applicable temperature range.
 

Scooter68

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Depending on the type of fruit wine you are making heating the wine must can have some negative results:
1) Reducing the alcohol level due evaporation at higher temps (Small impact but negative nonetheless)
2) Killing the yeast or slowing it's work (As Johnd said - it might not kill the yeast but you do not want to stress or slow the yeast cells doing their work for you.) I don't know what yeast 'sweat' tastes like but I can imagine it would be a good thing. (Joking)
3) Blowing off the delicate aromas and flavors of some fruit - This is the reason folks ferment white wines and delicate flavored fruit wines at the lowest possible temps.

There may be more issues, but; in reality, unless you are facing room temps below 60 degrees, there is no need to heat or warm a fermenting wine must. Occasionally warming it slightly to about 75 degrees can help get a fermentation started, but once started the fermentation itself generates a lot of heat and in those cases, even in a cool room the most you would need would be wrap around the container.
 

BernardSmith

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Good Morning!

I started making fruit wines. So far, they have been excellent! I started using a hotplate and monitoring the fermentation container to keep it at 95 degrees F. I had read that yeast grow well at this temperature. The fermentation occurs about 1 day faster using this method. Any thoughts on this? I'm not an experienced winemaker. This is my first time. I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts. Thanks! Dave Barber, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 6 November 2019
Hiya, David and welcome. Remember wine ain't beer and wine making under most conditions does not involve brewing (heating) anything. In fact when you cook the fruit you change the flavor of the fruit. Now, that might be exactly what you want to do but here's the thing - unless you have a good reason to do something - anything - in wine making the best option, in my opinion, is to do nothing. Wine making is more like gardening than engineering: the yeast will do everything. Your job is to remove obstacles and ensure that the yeast are not stressed. In engineering if you don't do something nothing happens and in my opinion that is more or less how brewers see their role... but with unlike with grains , fruit have a very natural affinity for fruit sugars. Just introduce the yeast to the fruit and step back after you have ensured that the yeast are comfortable. And that comfort means the optimal temperature for the yeast you have and the right amount of yeast in light of the amount of fermentable sugars. There are other optimal conditions but these tend to affect the flavor and mouthfeel of the wine - (the pH and TA of the wine, the amount of glycerols produced by the yeast, the amount of tannins in the wine, the total amount of alcohol in light of the intensity of flavor , acidity and perceived sweetness of the wine..
 

Chuck E

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Wine yeasts have different ranges that they operate well within, and the type / style of wine that you intend to make can affect your decision as to what temperature range you would like to conduct fermentation. The ideal range for most yeast is well below 95F, though it may not kill the yeast. Consider looking at the information published by the yeast manufacturer on your selected yeast and use that as a guide to the applicable temperature range.
I would say that 95F is the upper range for most wine making yeasts. Most of us like the temps to be in the 70's.
 

David Barber

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I appreciate everyone's thoughts. I'm no longer heating the must. I let it ferment at about 68 to 72 degrees. Wow! They have turned out great! I just tasted a wine I started in September 2019 last night. It was good. Another question if that's ok? I want to try a wine with Black grapes (midnight grapes). Any thoughts or precautions? Thanks Everyone!
 

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