Homemade vs. Commercial and what I am doing to close the gap

Wine Making Talk

Help Support Wine Making Talk:

Rice_Guy

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2014
Messages
680
Reaction score
391
Location
midwest
The standard agitation in 40 ft tall milk silos is to bubble compressed air in the bottom. Some references about wine are using nitrogen (even CO2)
What I'm not sure about is how to create some gentle agitation in the must for even temperature distribution. . . . . That would probably work well and make me feel better about only being able to punch down the cap in the early morning and late in the evening. If anyone has other ideas.
The temperature tanks I have dealt with tend to have a 6 inch Thermo well, or at most a 12 inch. This probably goes back to the risk of having some yahoo break it while cleaning or mixing the contents.
You are talking about two functions. Temperature control vs punch down of the cap. When punching down for a 1000 gallon or larger vat I would use the pump. For smaller systems I have wondered about using a round stainless perforated cover to hold the cap down however this might be verging on liking the toys more than the end product.
 

MiBor

IN VINO VERITAS
WMT Supporter
Joined
May 10, 2019
Messages
59
Reaction score
33
Location
Michigan
Thank you all for the input. Once I have the system put together I'll start a new thread and post pictures and observations. My goal is to test the temperature controlled fermenter this spring, by doing a batch of Australian or Chilean Sauvignon Blanc juice with QA23 yeast at 59F and see how much of the floral and citrus notes I can retain. I fermented the same wine at about 68-70F before and I lost a lot of nose and flavor, so this will be a good test.
 

mainshipfred

Junior Member
WMT Supporter
Joined
Feb 25, 2017
Messages
3,685
Reaction score
2,305
Thank you all for the input. Once I have the system put together I'll start a new thread and post pictures and observations. My goal is to test the temperature controlled fermenter this spring, by doing a batch of Australian or Chilean Sauvignon Blanc juice with QA23 yeast at 59F and see how much of the floral and citrus notes I can retain. I fermented the same wine at about 68-70F before and I lost a lot of nose and flavor, so this will be a good test.
I'm not sure if I remember this correctly but in another thread I thought there was discussion about the way the juice is processed doesn't allow the cold ferment to enhance the aromatics of the wine. I can't find the thread or the source and I could be wrong or it could have pertained to kit wines.
 

MiBor

IN VINO VERITAS
WMT Supporter
Joined
May 10, 2019
Messages
59
Reaction score
33
Location
Michigan
there was discussion about the way the juice is processed doesn't allow the cold ferment to enhance the aromatics of the wine
I remember reading something like that but it was about kit wines. I have personal experience with juice buckets of Sauvignon Blanc turning out great when I could keep them cool during fermentation and not so great when I couldn't.
For the sake of it, I've started putting together a list of not expensive and readily available parts that would make a good temperature controlled fermenter for anyone who would like to step up their wine making game. I think I've got it in the ballpark of $250 for the 15 gallon fermenter (not including the chiller) and $300 for the 30 gallon, but I'm not sure that 304 stainless steel is good enough for wine (cooling coil) or if it has to be 316 SS which is more expensive.
 

Ajmassa

Just a guy
Joined
Oct 25, 2016
Messages
3,554
Reaction score
3,044
I remember reading something like that but it was about kit wines. I have personal experience with juice buckets of Sauvignon Blanc turning out great when I could keep them cool during fermentation and not so great when I couldn't.
For the sake of it, I've started putting together a list of not expensive and readily available parts that would make a good temperature controlled fermenter for anyone who would like to step up their wine making game. I think I've got it in the ballpark of $250 for the 15 gallon fermenter (not including the chiller) and $300 for the 30 gallon, but I'm not sure that 304 stainless steel is good enough for wine (cooling coil) or if it has to be 316 SS which is more expensive.

I’ll be going with a much less complicated & much less expensive method.

A handful of Frozen water jugs. Tossing in when appropriate, rotating more in & out as needed, and hoping for the best.

If my ~4 day ferment becomes a 6 dayer I’m calling it a win
 

sour_grapes

Victim of the Invasion of the Avatar Snatchers
Joined
Sep 19, 2013
Messages
10,505
Reaction score
8,037
Location
near Milwaukee
I remember reading something like that but it was about kit wines. I have personal experience with juice buckets of Sauvignon Blanc turning out great when I could keep them cool during fermentation and not so great when I couldn't.
For the sake of it, I've started putting together a list of not expensive and readily available parts that would make a good temperature controlled fermenter for anyone who would like to step up their wine making game. I think I've got it in the ballpark of $250 for the 15 gallon fermenter (not including the chiller) and $300 for the 30 gallon, but I'm not sure that 304 stainless steel is good enough for wine (cooling coil) or if it has to be 316 SS which is more expensive.
IMHO, 304 should be good enough. True, 316 is more corrosion resistant, but my understanding is that this superior performance is predominantly against corrosion by chlorides (i.e., salt water applications). I don't see where 304 would fall short in just a solution of organic acids.

Maybe @Rice_Guy would know with more certainty; no shortage of 304 used in the food industry!
 

Rice_Guy

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2014
Messages
680
Reaction score
391
Location
midwest
The cost of fabrication is so much greater than the difference between 304 and 316 stainless. We use 316 as the standard.

In home use it shouldn’t be exposed to long term K metabisulphite, it won’t matter , , rinse ALL stainless even if it is 316, concentrated acid and salt can pit it.
IMHO, 304 should be good enough. True, 316 is more corrosion resistant, but my understanding is that this superior performance is predominantly against corrosion by chlorides (i.e., salt water applications). I don't see where 304 would fall short in just a solution of organic acids. . . .used in the food industry!
 

Rice_Guy

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2014
Messages
680
Reaction score
391
Location
midwest
* chiller: try a dorm fridge or small chest freezer off Craig’s list. One of the techniques used is to build an ice bank to flatten out the load on the refrigeration unit and run a smaller compressor.
* cooling coil: for home use, plastic ought to be good enough. PEX and polyethylene tubing can be heated in a gas/propane flame to where it softens and then bent into round or straight shapes. I make my racking canes and other customized tubes. If I wanted some stainless in the chill line silicone tube is an easy connector (ex 8mm ID snugs well on 3/8 inch OD) If you bend SS tube, the tool for bending electrical conduit is good.
* pump: no way to get away from it. If you ice bank you need to pump an antifreeze solution. The pump should be the biggest expense, Craig’s list sometimes has beer set ups.
* temperature controller: Amazon has inexpensive choices. You need positive shut off (mechanical relay). The solid state relays leak current which is ok for electrical heaters but not motors. A good controller has a probe with at least 3 feet of cord. You don’t want the controller in the controlled environment.
I've started putting together a list of not expensive and readily available parts that would make a good temperature controlled fermenter for anyone who would like to step up their wine making game. I think I've got it in the ballpark of $250 for the 15 gallon fermenter (not including the chiller) and $300 for the 30 gallon, but I'm not sure that 304 stainless steel is good enough for wine (cooling coil) or if it has to be 316 SS which is more expensive.
For 5 or 6 gallon carboys I use the garage fridge with a probe going inside. In active fermentation, the must is about 2 degrees warmer than air temp.
I like “toys” however the frozen milk jug works well if my wife needs the garage fridge. :?
 

jsbeckton

Senior Member
Joined
May 23, 2016
Messages
474
Reaction score
178
Chest freezer and thermowell allow me to control must temp within 1-2 degrees on the cheap. Only limitation is that I can only fit about 25g but that’s not a problem for my needs.

Bonus...the rest of the year it holds kegs!
 

1d10t

stewbum
Joined
Nov 18, 2018
Messages
276
Reaction score
110
Location
sitting on a park bench
As a former appliance repair person that tried to get a decent used refrigeration unit off of Craig's list, let me just say I now refer to it as 'Craig's Liars' and have stopped even looking at that as a resource for ANYTHING. Most units had Freon leaks and the sellers knew it and were trying to get people to pay them to haul their junk away.
 

MiBor

IN VINO VERITAS
WMT Supporter
Joined
May 10, 2019
Messages
59
Reaction score
33
Location
Michigan
Chest freezer and thermowell allow me to control must temp within 1-2 degrees on the cheap. Only limitation is that I can only fit about 25g but that’s not a problem for my needs.
@jsbeckton How do you use the chest freezer? Do you have containers that fit well in it? Could you post a picture of your setup? I've read about it, but I haven't seen a chest freezer setup for wine.
 

jsbeckton

Senior Member
Joined
May 23, 2016
Messages
474
Reaction score
178
@jsbeckton How do you use the chest freezer? Do you have containers that fit well in it? Could you post a picture of your setup? I've read about it, but I haven't seen a chest freezer setup for wine.
I have the chest freezer on temperature controller (inkbird makes one) and the temp probe in a thermowell. The thermowell is just a tube of metal through the rubber stopper. I think you can but such a thermowell but I just made my own. I then use this to control the temp of my wine/beer with no concern about the difference between air temp and liquid temp.

It’s really nice and very cheap considering how many chest freezers are on Craigslist.
 

Ajmassa

Just a guy
Joined
Oct 25, 2016
Messages
3,554
Reaction score
3,044
I’m constantly learning and tweaking my techniques. Definitely a lot of trial and error over the years finding my way to make the best product possible.
I put together a list of changes I’ll be making this year. I know this isn’t a one-size-fits-all type of thing - but this is what I’m doing to hopefully improve my wines and/or process. Stemming from a combo of personal experience, this forum, podcasts etc

1. Water airlocks - No More!. I hate them and always did. Exclusively using waterless bungs now.
2. Keeping rackings to a bare minimum post-MLF. I don’t mind some lees. Doesn’t make it ‘dirty’ and I don’t view some lees as something that should influence my decision making.
3. Must pH < 3.6 or Bust! Adjusting must down at crush regardless of TA. Check & repeat next day before yeast. Ultimately cutting so2 needed in the wine and eliminating a needy high pH wine. Plus I despise post fermentation acid adjustments and would like to avoid at all costs. This is probably the most dramatic change out of everything.
4. I can’t cold soak the must without proper equipment so I’ll be trying to slow fermentation with temp control. The yeast is hella strong and ferments quick. Will try out frozen water jugs this year to lengthen time on skins.
5. Vigorous punchdowns as often as possible if able. Minimum 3x daily but preferably much more, but careful not to overdose on tannin
6. 10%-15% of the stems will stay in the ferment for some more tannin help- unless they’re green. The hardest part about this is determining if the fruit would benefit or not just by tasting grapes. So will default to a small amount.
7. Waiting longer till stabilizing. Co-inoculation goes crazy fast. And after MLf is complete the wine is still Co2 protected. So after chroma test shows complete I will let it go another 4-6weeks *minimum. Will ensure the last little bits of MLF & AF finish——— Another contributing factor is because I’m releasing more sugar at pressing since whole berries do not ferment inside the grape easily I’ve learned. Heard a podcast discussing whole berry/cluster ferments. The pressed wine’s SG was MUCH higher than the free run’s after pressing a whole berry ferment. (Whole cluster with the stalk still on the grape even moreso.) And I get a ton of whole berries passing thru. Enough to be a factor? Maybe. Probably not. But no harm is letting it go longer.
8. Fermenting till dry in primary, and even slightly longer. Stopping punchdowns towards later stages & leaving cap in place for protection. Using non-H2S cultured yeast makes doing this much more ideal. I’ll sacrifice splitting batches for yeast complexity for more days on the skins without risking h2s.
9. Only using fresh yeast, enzymes, nutrients, malo etc. When I buy bulk it gets wasted too often. I once used enzymes a year old that had zero effect I believe.
10. Fruit flies. I still have no idea how to properly combat them. Even built an enclosed plastic chamber before with so-so results. But not worth the hassle. Would like to remedy the fruit flies somehow.
11. And I’m going to start filtering before bottling. Just something course to ensure the wine is as clean as possible before bottling
 

CDrew

California Garagiste
Joined
Feb 15, 2018
Messages
642
Reaction score
729
I’m constantly learning and tweaking my techniques. Definitely a lot of trial and error over the years finding my way to make the best product possible.
I put together a list of changes I’ll be making this year. I know this isn’t a one-size-fits-all type of thing - but this is what I’m doing to hopefully improve my wines and/or process. Stemming from a combo of personal experience, this forum, podcasts etc

1. Water airlocks - No More!. I hate them and always did. Exclusively using waterless bungs now.
2. Keeping rackings to a bare minimum post-MLF. I don’t mind some lees. Doesn’t make it ‘dirty’ and I don’t view some lees as something that should influence my decision making.
3. Must pH < 3.6 or Bust! Adjusting must down at crush regardless of TA. Check & repeat next day before yeast. Ultimately cutting so2 needed in the wine and eliminating a needy high pH wine. Plus I despise post fermentation acid adjustments and would like to avoid at all costs. This is probably the most dramatic change out of everything.
4. I can’t cold soak the must without proper equipment so I’ll be trying to slow fermentation with temp control. The yeast is hella strong and ferments quick. Will try out frozen water jugs this year to lengthen time on skins.
5. Vigorous punchdowns as often as possible if able. Minimum 3x daily but preferably much more, but careful not to overdose on tannin
6. 10%-15% of the stems will stay in the ferment for some more tannin help- unless they’re green. The hardest part about this is determining if the fruit would benefit or not just by tasting grapes. So will default to a small amount.
7. Waiting longer till stabilizing. Co-inoculation goes crazy fast. And after MLf is complete the wine is still Co2 protected. So after chroma test shows complete I will let it go another 4-6weeks *minimum. Will ensure the last little bits of MLF & AF finish——— Another contributing factor is because I’m releasing more sugar at pressing since whole berries do not ferment inside the grape easily I’ve learned. Heard a podcast discussing whole berry/cluster ferments. The pressed wine’s SG was MUCH higher than the free run’s after pressing a whole berry ferment. (Whole cluster with the stalk still on the grape even moreso.) And I get a ton of whole berries passing thru. Enough to be a factor? Maybe. Probably not. But no harm is letting it go longer.
8. Fermenting till dry in primary, and even slightly longer. Stopping punchdowns towards later stages & leaving cap in place for protection. Using non-H2S cultured yeast makes doing this much more ideal. I’ll sacrifice splitting batches for yeast complexity for more days on the skins without risking h2s.
9. Only using fresh yeast, enzymes, nutrients, malo etc. When I buy bulk it gets wasted too often. I once used enzymes a year old that had zero effect I believe.
10. Fruit flies. I still have no idea how to properly combat them. Even built an enclosed plastic chamber before with so-so results. But not worth the hassle. Would like to remedy the fruit flies somehow.
11. And I’m going to start filtering before bottling. Just something course to ensure the wine is as clean as possible before bottling

@Ajmassa-Good post. I enjoyed your post enough, I thought I'd comment too:

1-Preach it brother!

2-Right. Rack#3 in February, bottle in the fall. Considering full airtight seal while bulk aging with sanitary fittings.

3-That's going to be a bit of a leap for me. I'm going to go to the first: pH 3.6 or TA 6.5. But I'm willing to do a tune up acidification later. Did that this year with good results. Rose went from good to very good with 1g/Liter tartaric. It's sitting at 6.5 TA right now.

4-Not bothering to cool or slow. Maybe some future year. Fur sure, not doing bottles of ice. Why don't you consider dry ice?

5-Yep-lots of punch downs also help remove excess heat. I have gotten up at 2am to punch down.

6-Stems, huh? Why?

7-I agree. I still had measured Malic (just a trace) when chromo said done.

8-I am going longer primary ferments this year too. Maybe by 1 or 2 days. Not sure it's needed after EX-V, but worth a trial. Also doing deeper ferments to keep more cap submerged.

9-Goes without saying. Lost 10 gallons of Mourrvedre to questionable left over yeast. Not happening again.

10-Not an issue I deal with. I saw maybe 2 this year. They swarm the pomace though but stay out of my garage.

11-I had this thought too. But with the enzyme treatment, the wine gets amazingly clear on it's own. So if the filtration adds O2 exposure, I'm not interested.

12-Off the reservation here, but will do much more thorough testing this year. I have a decent lab set up only lacking sulfite test equipment to be remedied soon. Not measuring with syringes either. I have volumetric pipettes, burettes, beakers, flasks, stir plates, lab standard buffers, the works. I'm thinking the Vinmetrica SC-100 is in my immediate future, since with a good temperature compensated pH meter, I don't think the SC-300 is needed. Please correct if wrong.
 

Ajmassa

Just a guy
Joined
Oct 25, 2016
Messages
3,554
Reaction score
3,044
@Ajmassa-Good post. I enjoyed your post enough, I thought I'd comment too:

1-Preach it brother!

2-Right. Rack#3 in February, bottle in the fall. Considering full airtight seal while bulk aging with sanitary fittings.

3-That's going to be a bit of a leap for me. I'm going to go to the first: pH 3.6 or TA 6.5. But I'm willing to do a tune up acidification later. Did that this year with good results. Rose went from good to very good with 1g/Liter tartaric. It's sitting at 6.5 TA right now.

4-Not bothering to cool or slow. Maybe some future year. Fur sure, not doing bottles of ice. Why don't you consider dry ice?

5-Yep-lots of punch downs also help remove excess heat. I have gotten up at 2am to punch down.

6-Stems, huh? Why?

7-I agree. I still had measured Malic (just a trace) when chromo said done.

8-I am going longer primary ferments this year too. Maybe by 1 or 2 days. Not sure it's needed after EX-V, but worth a trial. Also doing deeper ferments to keep more cap submerged.

9-Goes without saying. Lost 10 gallons of Mourrvedre to questionable left over yeast. Not happening again.

10-Not an issue I deal with. I saw maybe 2 this year. They swarm the pomace though but stay out of my garage.

11-I had this thought too. But with the enzyme treatment, the wine gets amazingly clear on it's own. So if the filtration adds O2 exposure, I'm not interested.

12-Off the reservation here, but will do much more thorough testing this year. I have a decent lab set up only lacking sulfite test equipment to be remedied soon. Not measuring with syringes either. I have volumetric pipettes, burettes, beakers, flasks, stir plates, lab standard buffers, the works. I'm thinking the Vinmetrica SC-100 is in my immediate future, since with a good temperature compensated pH meter, I don't think the SC-300 is needed. Please correct if wrong.
I want to start filtering not for wine clarity but just for cleanliness. On a small batch i made I noticed a slight swirly sheen on the surface after pouring a glass. I figured adding a course filtering at bottling will only help.
My primaries are either in a 55gal or 32gal brutes. So tossing in frozen jugs of water to keeps temps down and maybe get another day or 2 seems like it’s achievable and I’m gonna give it a shot.
As far as the 3.6 adjustment, this was actually my plan going into 2018 season but I chickened out b/c of the TA side effect. Ultimately my small addition barely made a dent, ph crept back up and stayed gifting me with all the joys of a high ph wine lol.
With the Vinmetrica I have the sc-300 but haven’t used it enough to really have an opinion. I can say the ph meter is quality. Calibrates quickly and stabilizes a reading quicker than my Milwaukee ph-55 ever did.
One thing I love about this hobby is that it can be as simple or as involved as you want it to be. And it’s fun to always be working to improve or tweak your operation up.
 

Ajmassa

Just a guy
Joined
Oct 25, 2016
Messages
3,554
Reaction score
3,044
Oh and the decision about stems is just to add a little something extra. They say it can compliment high acid wines and also compliment high brix wines- if done right*. Which is insanely complicated and I’m assuming need years of experience to make confident decisions with them.
The old timers in my fam used 100% of them. And I’d say about 5% sneak thru my C/D already. So will toss in another handful and hope the wine gods are lookin out for me!
There’s tons of literature out there about it. Definitely an interesting topic. Here’s an article that gets into nice detail

https://wineanorak.com/wholebunch.htm
 

NorCal

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
Joined
Apr 17, 2014
Messages
2,990
Reaction score
2,889
Location
Placer County, CA
I’m constantly learning and tweaking my techniques. Definitely a lot of trial and error over the years finding my way to make the best product possible.
I put together a list of changes I’ll be making this year. I know this isn’t a one-size-fits-all type of thing - but this is what I’m doing to hopefully improve my wines and/or process. Stemming from a combo of personal experience, this forum, podcasts etc

1. Water airlocks - No More!. I hate them and always did. Exclusively using waterless bungs now.
2. Keeping rackings to a bare minimum post-MLF. I don’t mind some lees. Doesn’t make it ‘dirty’ and I don’t view some lees as something that should influence my decision making.
3. Must pH < 3.6 or Bust! Adjusting must down at crush regardless of TA. Check & repeat next day before yeast. Ultimately cutting so2 needed in the wine and eliminating a needy high pH wine. Plus I despise post fermentation acid adjustments and would like to avoid at all costs. This is probably the most dramatic change out of everything.
4. I can’t cold soak the must without proper equipment so I’ll be trying to slow fermentation with temp control. The yeast is hella strong and ferments quick. Will try out frozen water jugs this year to lengthen time on skins.
5. Vigorous punchdowns as often as possible if able. Minimum 3x daily but preferably much more, but careful not to overdose on tannin
6. 10%-15% of the stems will stay in the ferment for some more tannin help- unless they’re green. The hardest part about this is determining if the fruit would benefit or not just by tasting grapes. So will default to a small amount.
7. Waiting longer till stabilizing. Co-inoculation goes crazy fast. And after MLf is complete the wine is still Co2 protected. So after chroma test shows complete I will let it go another 4-6weeks *minimum. Will ensure the last little bits of MLF & AF finish——— Another contributing factor is because I’m releasing more sugar at pressing since whole berries do not ferment inside the grape easily I’ve learned. Heard a podcast discussing whole berry/cluster ferments. The pressed wine’s SG was MUCH higher than the free run’s after pressing a whole berry ferment. (Whole cluster with the stalk still on the grape even moreso.) And I get a ton of whole berries passing thru. Enough to be a factor? Maybe. Probably not. But no harm is letting it go longer.
8. Fermenting till dry in primary, and even slightly longer. Stopping punchdowns towards later stages & leaving cap in place for protection. Using non-H2S cultured yeast makes doing this much more ideal. I’ll sacrifice splitting batches for yeast complexity for more days on the skins without risking h2s.
9. Only using fresh yeast, enzymes, nutrients, malo etc. When I buy bulk it gets wasted too often. I once used enzymes a year old that had zero effect I believe.
10. Fruit flies. I still have no idea how to properly combat them. Even built an enclosed plastic chamber before with so-so results. But not worth the hassle. Would like to remedy the fruit flies somehow.
11. And I’m going to start filtering before bottling. Just something course to ensure the wine is as clean as possible before bottling
What a great list, thanks for sharing!
 
2
Top