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How long for primary fermantation??

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Italy107

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So my grapes have been sitting since October 18. they did not start to rise until October 25th. Now for the past 5 days it has been rising and Ive been pushing it down 3x a day. the smell of alcohol started about 3 days ago. the weather got a bit cold here and I had to add some heat to my garage to get it going so that's why it had a slow start. I took a brix reading yesterday and it read 6. here are my questions:

When I took the reading with my hydrometer it had some sediment in it. I think the sediment is altering my reading. Should I pour the liquid through a screen to ensure its only liquid with no solids and take a new reading?

Am I ready to squeeze the grapes once I am at 0 brix?

2nd rule of thinking, am I ready to squeeze once my must stops rising? The cap is still rising from every time I push it down.
The past few years I did my crush before Columbus so the weather was a bit warmer, this time I got pushed back to a later date so weather was against me. I think I have good fermentation and just trying to time the squeeze correctly.

In case your wondering, my grapes are Alicante, merlot, zinfandel
 

JimInNJ

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Did you add a commercial yeast, or is this a wild ferment?
 

stickman

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As long as the hydrometer is free floating you should be ok, but straining out the debris always helps.

With reds I typically ferment dry in the primary like -2 brix. Others will press earlier, usually to avoid extracting too much tannin, which may be important if you have under ripe grapes or green seeds.
 

Italy107

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im going to take another reading tonight with clean wine and see what my sugar content is
 

sdelli

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Wild ferment is very unreliable and could take awhile to finish. As long as the hydrometer floats you are ok to take a reading. Should get the sg reading below 1.00 in the .995 or lower area to press.
 

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