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How do you know when ready to bottle?

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kuziwk

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Lately I’ve been bulk aging longer and skipping clearing agents on red. How do I know when it’s ready to bottle and done throwing sediment? I have a super Tuscan that has been bulk aging for 6 months without clearing Agents, except for bentonite in primary and tannin complex during aging. How do I make sure it won’t throw Lee’s in the bottle when it looks ready?
 

CDrew

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Good question. For me, I bottle at 1 year, regardless. I need to make room for the incoming wine, so last years wine gets bottled. Now if you had more storage capacity, you could wait even longer. I think you could bottle earlier and filter, but I don't have a filter set up.

If you are worried about lees in the bottle, you could just filter and be done with it. That's what most wineries do.
 

Scooter68

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There are no guarantees in this hobby. BUT a full 12 months at a minimum is the closest you can get to a guarantee. Filtering helps too at the very end but sometimes still....SURPRISE.
 

kuziwk

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So 6 months is generally not enough? I do filter with the course filter pads but I don’t think it’s fine enough. Would the medium filter pads for the buon vino do the trick? I guess my biggest concern with the medium pads is they may strip colour and flavour from the wine...I typically only use the #2 pads for white wines and rose.

I’ve also thought about cold crashing the wine for a week or so, has anyone tried this?
 

Scooter68

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While you can, some people do age their wine in the bottle the concern you expressed is one of the best reasons to bulk age a wine.
Cold crashing may help but that's not a cure all. Safest and easiest way is to let it age in bulk. Do a polishing filtering just before bottling and call it done. Again no guarantees but that's is the safest route to clear wine. Color and flavor should not suffer through normal filtering material - Just never use anything with charcoal in it to filter a wine.
 

kuziwk

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Right so the general consensus is that reds should use a #2 filter pad on the buon vino? I’m asking because I had wine throw a bit of sediment in the bottle after bulk aging three months using reduced clearing agents. Basically I used 1/4 of the clearing agents that were called for. Wine is great mind you, and it’s caught in shoulder of the bottle but still not ideal.
 

Scooter68

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I'll defer to the filtering experts on the exact filter you should use. I rarely ever filter and when I do I just use a gravity system (Vinbrite) to polish a wine that is A L M O S T crystal clear.
 

kuziwk

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Yeah, I surprised there was a dusting of sediment on the shoulder of my nebbiolo batch. I don't think there is enough to effect the taste, maybe 1/8th tsp in each bottle. Funny thing is, I'm the only one that noticed it, even when pouring it's mostly stuck to the side of the bottle or small enough that when remixed it's not noticeable.
 

chicken

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I bottle after about a year, sometimes a little later if I just don't get around to it. The wine is pretty clear by then, even though I have never used clearing agents or filtered.
 

mainshipfred

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I only use the #1 course filter on the reds. After 10 -12 months I find it's really all I've ever needed. For whites which I like to bottle a little earlier and wines I want to back sweeten I first go with a #2 immediately followed by a #3.
 

Ajmassa

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I only use the #1 course filter on the reds. After 10 -12 months I find it's really all I've ever needed. For whites which I like to bottle a little earlier and wines I want to back sweeten I first go with a #2 immediately followed by a #3.
Hmmm. So you filter all your reds too?
On a wine 1yr+ that’s clear and ready for the bottle— is there a noticeable difference after filtering ?
 

kuziwk

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Hmmm. So you filter all your reds too?
On a wine 1yr+ that’s clear and ready for the bottle— is there a noticeable difference after filtering ?
That's interesting, I haven't found the course pads to do much of anything really, the wine came out clear because they were clear before from fining agents

Random thought though, for those you bulk aging for up to a year...are you racking every three months up to the one year mark?, are you also adding 1/4 sulphite each time?
 
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mainshipfred

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Hmmm. So you filter all your reds too?
On a wine 1yr+ that’s clear and ready for the bottle— is there a noticeable difference after filtering ?
I could be wrong but I think it gives it a deeper color plus with a deep colored red even after racking there might be some floaty in there tou can't see.
 

kuziwk

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I could be wrong but I think it gives it a deeper color plus with a deep colored red even after racking there might be some floaty in there tou can't see.
Hmm well in my experience the coarse pads don't remove anything that wouldn't otherwise drop out in 3 months...clearing agents or not. They seem to let alot through. Great for bits of skin, seeds ect...but there is not much of that in kit wine anyways.
 

Ajmassa

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That's interesting, I haven't found the course pads to do much of anything really, the wine came out clear because they were clear before from fining agents

Random thought though, for those you bulk aging for up to a year...are you racking every three months up to the one year mark?, are you also adding 1/4 sulphite each time?
When I said “you filter all your reds too?” I meant as well as the whites. Not as well as me. I don’t filter anything ever. And yeah as they get older I definitely rack less often. And will hit with so2 as needed.
I used to use the glass titrets to measure so2. Most don’t like em but I loved them things. They say for white wines on the box because difficult to determine the color change on reds. But it really isn’t. And accurate enough to make decisions. About $20 for 10 tests. I did a thread last year on how to use em.

Cheaply testing so2
https://www.winemakingtalk.com/index.php?threads/Cheaply-testing-so2.66043/
 

kuziwk

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When I said “you filter all your reds too?” I meant as well as the whites. Not as well as me. I don’t filter anything ever. And yeah as they get older I definitely rack less often. And will hit with so2 as needed.
I used to use the glass titrets to measure so2. Most don’t like em but I loved them things. They say for white wines on the box because difficult to determine the color change on reds. But it really isn’t. And accurate enough to make decisions. About $20 for 10 tests. I did a thread last year on how to use em.

Cheaply testing so2
https://www.winemakingtalk.com/index.php?threads/Cheaply-testing-so2.66043/
Ive re-jigged my wine schedule for the kits I have coming in, up until may 2020. It pushes the super Tuscan back to about 10 months (bottle in April). I have some 16l kits (without skins) that are aging as well that I also didn’t use clearing agents for, I’ll be forced to bottle those at the 6 month mark next year. With the #2 filters though and the fact they didn’t come with skins, I shouldn’t have sediment issues. I think at this point I’m pretty much convinced #2 filters won’t affect the wine, especially after vandergrifts article....plus most commercial wineries also filter and I’m sure it’s finer than 1.8 micron in most cases.
 

chicken

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Random thought though, for those you bulk aging for up to a year...are you racking every three months up to the one year mark?, are you also adding 1/4 sulphite each time?
I have not been as consistent with racking and sulfiting as I should be. With racking, sometimes life just gets in the way and more time goes by than I realize. And with sulfiting, when we first got into winemaking I was way more leery of sulfites than I should have been, and wanted to use as little as possible. Been slowly changing my ways, and I think the quality of our wine has improved over the past few years.

I still think there's a lot to be said for just giving the wine time, though. Left alone, it seems to do a reasonably good job of clearing itself over time.

Wine is also remarkably forgiving. One of our best wines turned out to be one that was dreadfully neglected. I'd be embarrassed to tell you how long it sat on the gross lees before being racked, and how long it was ignored (except for keeping airlocks full) after that racking! Other than sheer luck, I guess what saved that poor neglected wine was that when it never got racked or sulfited, it also never got exposed to oxygen.
 

chicken

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I used to use the glass titrets to measure so2. Most don’t like em but I loved them things. They say for white wines on the box because difficult to determine the color change on reds. But it really isn’t. And accurate enough to make decisions. About $20 for 10 tests. I did a thread last year on how to use em.

Cheaply testing so2
https://www.winemakingtalk.com/index.php?threads/Cheaply-testing-so2.66043/
I just bought a package of Titrets, after reading that thread! Even though our laissez faire methods have worked well enough up to now, I'd like to see what I can do to improve our wine. I figured testing for so2 is one of those things I can do to up our game.
 

kuziwk

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I just bought a package of Titrets, after reading that thread! Even though our laissez faire methods have worked well enough up to now, I'd like to see what I can do to improve our wine. I figured testing for so2 is one of those things I can do to up our game.
Never tried them, instead I got my own little Chem Lab setup...some beakers, tubes and Chems. I'm testing with the oxidation aeration method, wastes almost an ounce of wine each test but it's accurate.
 
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