Help! Not sure if I ruined my wine or not

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Braden

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I started fermenting my Cabernet Eclipse wine last week. Today was day 5 so I checked my SG and I think I was somewhere between .994 to .997 so I figured I didn’t want it to ferment to completely dry since I thought it was dry enough after tasting it for my liking. So I went ahead and did secondary. Did my de gassing and added whatever else I needed to add from the kit. Now someone told me if I didn’t ferment to dry it could start fermenting again. So did I just ruin my wine or what should I do?
 

Johnd

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I started fermenting my Cabernet Eclipse wine last week. Today was day 5 so I checked my SG and I think I was somewhere between .994 to .997 so I figured I didn’t want it to ferment to completely dry since I thought it was dry enough after tasting it for my liking. So I went ahead and did secondary. Did my de gassing and added whatever else I needed to add from the kit. Now someone told me if I didn’t ferment to dry it could start fermenting again. So did I just ruin my wine or what should I do?
No, you’re fine, most anything below .998, there’s little risk of fermentation renewing. Moving to secondary, adding chems and degassing aren’t likely to stop fermenting anyway.
Best best, before degassing and adding chems, is to let the wine finish fermenting (indicated by a SG below .998 that doesn’t change 3 days in a row). After you’ve added your chems (presumably sulfite and sorbate), you’ll be able to add some sweetness to it if you like without fear of refermentation.
 

sour_grapes

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I agree with John, but let me be more explicit: As a home winemaker, you likely won't be able to stop your fermentation to keep some sweetness; instead, it will ferment to completely dry. If you want to add some sweetness, you will need to add potassium sorbate and k-meta, and then backsweeten with sugar or the like.
 

Braden

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So if it doesn’t continue to ferment in the Carboy am I okay to add the kieselsol in and continue with my kit instructions. I’m suppose to wait 24 hours and add that in. Should I wait longer to see if it ferments again? When should I add the sorbate and k meta? And should I put metabisulphite in there as well... and when should I?
 

Chuck E

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So if it doesn’t continue to ferment in the Carboy am I okay to add the kieselsol in and continue with my kit instructions. I’m suppose to wait 24 hours and add that in. Should I wait longer to see if it ferments again? When should I add the sorbate and k meta? And should I put metabisulphite in there as well... and when should I?
Your instructions will make wine quickly. You can add time now, to allow the wine to settle on it's own, if you are not in a hurry.
 

cmason1957

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So if it doesn’t continue to ferment in the Carboy am I okay to add the kieselsol in and continue with my kit instructions. I’m suppose to wait 24 hours and add that in. Should I wait longer to see if it ferments again? When should I add the sorbate and k meta? And should I put metabisulphite in there as well... and when should I?
You should have add the KMeta (Potassium Metabisulphite) really prior to adding the clearing agents, but now is okay as well. Note that KMeta = Potassium Metabisulphite. There isn't really a need to add the Potassium Sorbate, however, in your case, it might make some sense to add it, since it didn't go quite as dry as most do normally, it is free insurance to add it.
 
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Braden

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I picked up some K-Meta and Potassium Sorbate this morning. When I get home I’ll check and see if I can see any activity with another fermentation going on and if it’s not should I add the K meta, Sorbate, and kieselsol and continue with clearing?
 

cmason1957

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I picked up some K-Meta and Potassium Sorbate this morning. When I get home I’ll check and see if I can see any activity with another fermentation going on and if it’s not should I add the K meta, Sorbate, and kieselsol and continue with clearing?
This is a kit, right??? it should have come with all the kmeta and sorbate you need to add in one (or maybe two) of the packets, I don't think you want to add extra sorbate, if you added the packet that came with your kit. To much sorbate can lead to a bubble gum taste in your wine. Assuming you added what came with your kit, I would just add the kieselsol. Then put the airlock back and walk away for three weeks. Go look at it every third day and make sure there is water in the airlock.

I think you are going to find that you haven't really gotten rid of all the excess CO2 in your wine at the end of that three weeks. Taste your wine, if you get a slight fizzy taste on your tongue, that's your clue that you didn't get rid of all of it.
 

Braden

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Right this is a kit but it doesn’t come with any K meta. The only thing it comes with is kieselsol and sulphite sorbate. And the oak and flavorings. I added the sulphite sorbate yesterday as per instructions. My instructions actually say to stabilize at .996 which I was at. Is sulphite sorbate potassium sorbate? And per directions it says add K meta if aging for longer than 3 months which I am doing
 

sour_grapes

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Right this is a kit but it doesn’t come with any K meta. The only thing it comes with is kieselsol and sulphite sorbate. And the oak and flavorings. I added the sulphite sorbate yesterday as per instructions. My instructions actually say to stabilize at .996 which I was at. Is sulphite sorbate potassium sorbate? And per directions it says add K meta if aging for longer than 3 months which I am doing
There are two chemicals usually used. One is potassium metabisulfite, which we commonly refer to as K-meta. The other is called potassium sorbate.

Up to a year or two ago, kit makers would include a packet of each of them, packaged separately. Recently, kitmakers started combining them into one packet. There is no such thing as "sulphite sorbate," but that might be referring to the pouch of combined chemicals.

(In Craig @cmason1957 's post above, he wrote "Not that KMeta = Potassium Metabisulphite," but he meant to write "Note that KMeta = Potassium Metabisulphite.")
 

Braden

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Oh okay so that’s just the 2 combined. So on the directions it says if aging longer than 3 months add 1/4 tsp of k meta per gallon. So when should I add more k meta? And I don’t have to add any more potassium sorbate?
 

sour_grapes

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Not 1/4 tsp per gallon. It probably says 1/4 tsp per six gallons. Follow the latter direction.

Correct, no more potassium sorbate.
 

Braden

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Correct. Just 1/4 tsp. So when should I want to add that in? Considering I didn’t wait until the wine was fully dry. It was .996 when I transferred the wine into the Carboy. I then de gassed and added the Sulphite/Sorbate packet and put under an air lock. What happens if I starts to ferment again? Do I then add more sorbate after it finished what little sugar was left? And if it doesn’t begin to ferment can I continue with my instructions? Should I add kieselsol into it after 24 hours or wait until I know it’s not fermenting again?
 

sour_grapes

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I missed that you were at 0.996. That is pretty much done. You have little to worry about.

Just leave it in the carboy for a few months nap. It does not matter much when you add the kieselsol. I think if it were mine, I would leave it go as is, check the SG in about a week, and see if it changed. If not, add the clarifier; if so, wait until it stops changing.
 

Braden

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Got it! Thanks buddy. Helped a lot! How much space should I leave in the Carboy as it ages you think?
 

sour_grapes

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Got it! Thanks buddy. Helped a lot! How much space should I leave in the Carboy as it ages you think?
As little as possible. Once you are finished with the fining step, top it up with a similar wine into the neck of the carboy.
 

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