Grapeskins loose or muslin bag.

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kuziwk

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Hi guys just curious on how you add in your wineskins ans what are the pros and cons of each. I started a celler craft showcase kit and just dumped the wineskins in which sank to the bottom. I was planning on stirring every few days and stopping a day or two before i expect to rack to a secondary to make sure the lees and what not settle. Would the typical auto siphon cause any issues to rack from the primary and off the lees and skins?
 

pillswoj

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I always add the skins loose, I think I get better extraction that way but have never done a solid comparison. Clogging of the racking tube can be an issue.
 

ehammonds

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I always ferment with skins loose. Save your mesh bag, and when it’s time to rack from primary, just pour the primary bucket into another bucket with the bag wrapped around it. It’ll catch the debris nicely.
 

kuziwk

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I always ferment with skins loose. Save your mesh bag, and when it’s time to rack from primary, just pour the primary bucket into another bucket with the bag wrapped around it. It’ll catch the debris nicely.

Would we not get lees and sediment mixed in by pouring it into another bucket?
 

fivebk

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I have a fine mesh bag that will fit over the outside of my fermentation bucket. I never tie the bag shut. So in essence I am fermenting with the skins loose. I can punch the cap down everyday without ever disturbing the bag and when it’s time to remove the skins I just lift the bag out and squeeze. I then allow the wine to finish fermenting before racking thus leaving all gross Lees behind. I do the same thing when fermenting bulk fruit.

BOB
 

bkisel

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I use the cheese cloth that comes with the kit and pretty much follow the directions. For my country/fruit wines I use a nylon mesh bag or two and squeeze the fruited bag once or twice a day while it is in primary.
 

sour_grapes

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Would we not get lees and sediment mixed in by pouring it into another bucket?

Sure, but you could rack again the next day to leave the gross lees behind.

I have made a few kits where I left the skins loose, but I decided racking was too big a pain, and I use the bag now.
 

kuziwk

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Sure, but you could rack again the next day to leave the gross lees behind.

I have made a few kits where I left the skins loose, but I decided racking was too big a pain, and I use the bag now.

Yeah that makese sense. I picked what i thought was the lesser of two evils. I was turned off by the fact that mold could form on the grape pack if not mixed twice a day which is why i dumped them in. The other downside is that i wont be able to squeeze any liquid from the skins at the end potentially losing a bit more wine since i would also be squeezing gross lees. In either case ill try it both ways just this time will be loose skins...who knows i might be able to siphon most of it and only have to deal with a small amount at the bottom which i can funnel into the carboy or allow to settle in the fridge in a sanitized glass pitcher with plastic wrap and add back to the main carboy in a few days.
 

Johnd

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Yeah that makese sense. I picked what i thought was the lesser of two evils. I was turned off by the fact that mold could form on the grape pack if not mixed twice a day which is why i dumped them in. The other downside is that i wont be able to squeeze any liquid from the skins at the end potentially losing a bit more wine since i would also be squeezing gross lees. In either case ill try it both ways just this time will be loose skins...who knows i might be able to siphon most of it and only have to deal with a small amount at the bottom which i can funnel into the carboy or allow to settle in the fridge in a sanitized glass pitcher with plastic wrap and add back to the main carboy in a few days.

You need to punch the cap down several times daily, regardless of whether it’s in a bag or loose in the must. You’ll have achieved very good extraction from your skins when you are ready to rack to glass, and there’s an easy way to finish off what you’ve started. Stretch your muslin bag over a second fermenter and pour your wine into it, bucket to bucket dump, takes like 5 seconds. Pull the muslin bag and squeeze til your heart is happy (we use a little stainless fruit press for this purpose). Let it sit around covered to settle the lees down, and rack.
 

kuziwk

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You need to punch the cap down several times daily, regardless of whether it’s in a bag or loose in the must. You’ll have achieved very good extraction from your skins when you are ready to rack to glass, and there’s an easy way to finish off what you’ve started. Stretch your muslin bag over a second fermenter and pour your wine into it, bucket to bucket dump, takes like 5 seconds. Pull the muslin bag and squeeze til your heart is happy (we use a little stainless fruit press for this purpose). Let it sit around covered to settle the lees down, and rack.

This makes sense. Im now confronted with another problem, the skins have risen to the top loose as fermentation has started, they also mixed with the wood chips/shavings. I've been mixing it twice a day but its a bit tough as a bit of the skins are riding up and sticking to the the sides of the bucket. Will this be an issue with mold or bacteria? I've thought about putting on some sanitized gloves and scooping all the skins/wood chips at this point into the muslin bag than adding that back in. Ive watched some youtube videos and professional wineries put everything loose and it seems that they are not concerned about some stuff sticking to the sides of the vats. Some of them even stick their hands right in there. I also could be overthinking this.

Also the bucket i chose is too small. Its a standard 28L bucket if i were to guess and the instructions had me fill to 23L which means once the skins are in its closer to 25L. With the skins on top its difficult to stir...is it too late to transfer to another bucket or will that mess up fermentation? At the end of the day i can make the small bucket work its just a little more difficult than i expected.

I can leave the skins loose and continue mixing or punching down the cap twice a day, i just hope that its good enough as some bits are on the side of the bucket as mentioned. I might feel better if the bucket was larger i just dont want to stop fermentation.
 
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Ajmassa

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Everything you mention is normal.
And it’s not too late. Moving an active fermentation into a different bucket won’t hinder anything.
I would just dump everything into a larger buncket (7.9 gal usually minimum for kits.). And punch the cap several times a day. Scrape he sides every so often.
And at the end of the ferment, for a skins pack, I’ve done what Johnd described with the stretched out Muslin bag to catch the solids and then handsqueeze there juice.
 

kuziwk

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Everything you mention is normal.
And it’s not too late. Moving an active fermentation into a different bucket won’t hinder anything.
I would just dump everything into a larger buncket (7.9 gal usually minimum for kits.). And punch the cap several times a day. Scrape he sides every so often.
And at the end of the ferment, for a skins pack, I’ve done what Johnd described with the stretched out Muslin bag to catch the solids and then handsqueeze there juice.
Awesome thanks guys, im going to take the bucket day by day as a new one is $30 and my wife basically has had enough lol...i spent around $600 in the past two months on two cheap kits aswell as this premium kit and all the equipment. I basically told her i dont need to purchase anymore equipment when in fact i could use another bucket. It still saves alot of money to get 90 bottled of wine from it. It saves alot more money than making your own beer would. Most wines worth drinking here in canada are at least $12 a bottle as many of our favorite wines we drink are upwards of $25-$40 a bottle. At any rate i also read that the skins floating free give off more flavor rather than in the bag and i would like to make this wine as tannic and astringent as possible.
 
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