gooseberry wine making

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TerryB56

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Hi I have started my first batch of wine last week, it has been in a fermenting bucket for a week. The instructions did not mention what to do with the hole in the lid. Should I have inserted an airlock, have I ruined the wine by letting air in? The airlock supplied came with a cap on the top, I`m assuming the cap is left off.
I think it`s obvious that I know nothing about fruit wine making. Can anyone advise me. Thanks for any help.
Terry
 

Scooter68

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AHHHH !!! Not an open airlock hole - not that!

Actually not a horrible mistake at all. The concensus about airlock on a wine in the first 'stage' of fermentation is that it's not really needed. You can cover the bucket with the lid loosely (but plug that hole) OR you can cover the bucket with a cloth and tie a cord around the top of the bucket to keep it from moving.

The biggest 'bad thing' that can happen with what you did is that fruit flies may invade and die very happily in your must. Potentially they could carry bacteria that infects your wine but that's just a potential not a given. For safety sake it's always best to assume they are carring bacteria and keep them out. If any have gotten in, there's nothing to be done but fish the dead critters out and move on. (Just don't cremate the dead critters.)

So at this point you should be checking the SG to see where you are at in the process. At around 1.020 - 1.010 is a good time to rack your wine must into a carboy. You should of course remove any fruit or skins bag before the racking and squeeze it or let it drip out all of it's liquid. Some might even use a press to recapture as much liquid as possible but that's all up to you.

As to that airlock - the 3 piece is the common style and Yes you do put that cap on. It should have small holes around the top to let gas out. So you put the inner bubbler in, fill to the line or between the two lines, snap the cap on and insert in the drilled cork, cap or whatever cover your carboy has.
 
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Scooter68

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If you have any pets in the house beware, sometimes their curiosity gets the better of them. One user has a Border Collie that Apparently has a taste for wine. That's the reason for securing the cover. Personally I find the bucket lids more frustration that a help. Hard to get on, they don't seal well so the airlocks which people watch for bubbling, don't even bubble. With cloth you can open it up and stir it daily, check the SG and easily close it back up. With bucket lid, I wouldn't feel confident I can keep fruit flies out - but that's just my personal preference. You will find many different opinions on here.
 

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